Garbage disposals – those lean, mean shredding machines. While they are one of the most durable and reliable appliances in the kitchen, even they are not without an Achilles heel. Occasionally, when you hit the switch, the disposal may work for a minute and turn off or less often, but still a possibility – it doesn’t work at all.
When this occurs, there is usually a simple answer – the garbage disposal isn’t getting any power. In the case when the disposal runs for a second and then cuts out, the machine actually triggers an internal trip mechanism which instantaneously kills the power to the motor.
Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting – The Reset Button is Tripped
On the bottom of your garbage disposal is a little red button. This is the reset button. When the disposal gets jammed, the motor tries harder and harder to rotate the flywheel. This causes the motor to draw more amperage, which ultimately trips out the reset button.
If your disposal trips out the reset button, you will be able to feel it sticking out on the bottom of the device. In most cases, trying to reset the disposal immediately after a trip will not work. You may have to wait, sometimes up to an hour, before the reset button will hold. Of course, before trying to reset the disposal, you should make sure the main switch for the unit is off and any blockages have been removed.
Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting – The Reset Button Isn’t Tripped
If you turn on your garbage disposal and it doesn’t work and the reset button isn’t tripped, then there may be an issue with the electric delivery down the line. If the disposal was drawing too much amperage, the trip may have completely bypassed the reset button and occurred at the panel. Check your electrical panel to see if you have any tripped breakers.
If the breaker is not tripped, you may have a problem at the switch. Use a voltage tester to check for power at the switch. If you have power entering and leaving the switch, then the problem may be in the receptacle that the garbage disposal is plugged in to. Unplug the disposal’s power cord and test the outlet for voltage. Then check the power cord to make sure it is not damaged in any way. If you read voltage at the outlet, the power cord is in good condition and the reset button is not tripped on the disposal, then you will probably have to replace the garbage disposal.
Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.