6 Tips for Fixing Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals offer renters and homeowners the convenience of getting rid of trash, quickly and easily. Simply scrape food off dirty dishes or put other waste down your sink and you don't have to worry about it, unless the disposal stops working. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to hire a professional to replace the unit. However, you might be able to fix it yourself if you follow these 6 tips for fixing garbage disposals:

1. Don't Put Your Hand down the Drain

Fixing your garbage disposal is not worth losing your hand. There's a motor and a blade in your disposal that can cause serious injury if you're not careful. Make sure everything is unplugged before you put your hand down into the disposal. You will need to plug in the disposal from time to time to perform various tests.

2. Tighten Connections and Seal

Run water through your garbage disposal and check for leaks. Tighten any connections where leaks are coming through. This will help fix some of your problems, if leaking is the issue. You can also take the unit apart and replace the seal. If it still leaks, you should replace the drain gasket. Your final resort could be to take the unit in for servicing.

3. Check the Breakers

The garbage disposal is an electrical device, and in some cases, it can trip your circuit breakers. Check to see whether the panels got turned off. If so, turn it back on and reset your garbage disposal to see if it works now. If it doesn't work, and there's no humming sound coming out of the disposal, you may have a problem with the garbage disposal's switch or the entire unit.

4. Free the Flywheel

This is the handy piece of your garbage disposal that spins the impeller to cut up your waste. It may be stuck, and you'll need to get it unstuck using a hex wrench. Look for a hex hole under the unit, insert the wrench and rotate it in a circle one way, and then the next. This will act to loosen the flywheel.

5. Sharpen Impellers

You'll have to remove the garbage disposal to sharpen the impellers if you suspect that your trash is not getting shredded. Remove the flywheel and take the impellers out to sharpen them. You could also leave them in place to sharpen the impellers, based on the design of your unit.

6. Remove Clogs

Remove the bolts on the drain pipes, and check for any clogging. Take out anything that's stopping the passage of your waste and replace the pipes. This will help your disposal run better.

If none of these tips work, then it might be time to buy a new garbage disposal. The cost of getting it fixed may not be worth the expense by the time you get a bill, compared to buying one that's brand new. When you do solve the problem, make sure you don't put anything down the disposal that doesn't belong, and run enough water through it.