Don’t Replace Your Garbage Disposal Until You’ve Pushed This One Button

We’ve had multiple people call in this week with garbage disposal issues. Some that haven’t been working in a while, some that had just recently stopped, others where it sounded as if the disposal was working but water was backing up into the sink.


Chances are, you can fix it with the steps below, lets look at the issue your having. Always make sure the electrical switch for your disposal (the one on the wall) is in the off position, or that the disposal is unplugged when attempting these quick fixes.


Issue 1: The disposal isn’t making noise and not turning on.

In many cases, fixing this can be as easy as hitting the ‘reset button’ on the underside of the disposal. It’s a 2 second fix. Just reach underneath, and click that button and flip the switch to see if that solved the problem. (See photo below) which leads us to the second issue.


Issue 2: The disposal made a humming noise and then turned itself off, and won’t turn back on.

If this is the case, start with issue 1. If it turns off again, keep reading here. If you’ve hit the ‘reset’ button’ which acts as the garbage disposals circuit breaker, and the disposal came alive but only made a humming noise before shutting off again, it means something is jamming up the blades. To fix this, turn the power off to the disposal via the electric switch on your wall. Then (be brave here) reach into the disposal and feel around for something clogging up the blades. This could be a bottle cap, something made of fabric, it could be a chicken bone and in rare cases (be careful) a piece of glass. Try and free up the blades and then hit the reset button, and turn the disposal back on.

If the disposal still makes a humming noise, grab an Alan wrench (shown in the mans hand in the photo up above) and manually crank the blades by turning the alan wrench back and forth until it frees up. When you can fully rotate the alan wrench clockwise or counterclockwise, you know you’ve freed up the blades. After this, reach into the disposal (with the power off) and make sure it is free of debris. Then hit the reset button and turn the disposal on. This should have fixed it. If not, It may be time to replace that disposal.


Issue 3: My sink is backing up and the disposal either works, or doesn’t work.

This happens all the time. If the disposal works, the problem here is a clogged line. Adventurous types often throw everything down the disposal and in many many cases you clog the trap, or the line into the wall. The piping here in most cases will have to be disassembled and cleared out. If water is backing up and the disposal isn’t working, you’ll need to replace the disposal and unclog the trap and line into the wall.


Handiworks are pros at disposal issues, if nothing here worked, feel free to book us to unclog your line an replace your disposal. If you don’t have a new disposal on hand, this service will take about 3 hours. If you have a disposal on hand, it takes about 2 hours.


Hope this helped, if you found it helpful, please share with friends 🙂


Thanks for reading!