Before learning more about your garbage disposal, please read the disclaimer listed below**

Having a garbage disposal saves time and money, creates less trash, reduces kitchen odors, and protects the environment. When your garbage disposal starts malfunctioning, all these benefits are quickly lost. Your garbage disposal can quickly become a source of frustration and a mess to clean up if it fails. Explore the four most common disposal catastrophes and how you can address the problem:

Clogs—If you are using your kitchen sink and start to notice that water will not drain, you may have a clog. When you have a clog in your pipes, it can prevent your disposal from draining as it is intended. Clogs can be caused by food, grease, scale, and sediment buildup. Although your disposal is supposed to grind up all materials to a manageable size for draining, debris can slip past and cause an inconvenient clog. When your disposal is clogged, fill your sink about halfway with soapy water and then use a cup plunger gently for 30-60 seconds to alleviate the blockage. If you were successful, your sink will begin to drain normally. If your sink is still clogged, the issue may require removing the p-trap and clearing with a snake.

Leaking—Find the source of the leak by exploring the most common leak spots carefully. First off, turn off the power to the disposal! Locate the disposal mount, and loosen it by turning counterclockwise. Next, tighten the three mounting bolts carefully. If the leak is still present, loosen the mounting bolts and raise the sink flange above the sink slightly. Place plumber’s putty along the threshold located between the sink and flange. Tighten the bolts back down and clean away any excess putty. Secure your disposal unit back to its mount. Try your disposal and see if leaks are still present. If a leak still exists, contact the professionals at FitzGerald & Sons Plumbing.

Strange Sounds—If you hear the motor of your disposal making sounds, but not actually grinding, you could have something lodged in the disposal’s rotating plate. If attempting to clear the blockage, always turn off the power, use the provided wrench that came with your disposal. (Never consider putting your hand down the disposal for any reason). If you cannot locate your included wrench, you can get a new one at a hardware store or from Amazon for under $10. With the wrench, locate a hex-shaped opening at the base of your disposal, gently try to turn the shaft both clockwise and counter-clockwise and if you are successful, the shaft will begin to turn freely. Press the reset button on the bottom of your disposal and flush it out with cool water.

Unresponsive—When your disposal refuses to turn on, the issue could be power related. Double check that the wall plug did not come loose from the outlet. Once you have checked the plug, try resetting the disposal. If the disposal still will not work, check the breaker. If your breaker is fine, then unfortunately you may need a new disposal. The team at FitzGerald and Sons can help install a replacement quickly and professionally.

Having a malfunctioning disposal is instantly inconvenient and quickly becomes damaging. If you are comfortable, attempt these suggestions to remedy your problem. If you feel more at ease with professionals handling your disposal, call for an appointment today!


**Disclaimer: Prior to attempting any at-home maintenance, review the following disclaimer. FitzGerald & Sons Plumbing Co. takes no responsibility for any actions of the homeowner and is not liable for any losses or damages incurred. If damage occurs from attempting home maintenance, FitzGerald & Sons Plumbing Co. is not responsible for fixing the issue, unless hired at our normal service rate to address the issue. Before attempting to resolve any plumbing issues, we recommend carefully consulting any instructions or manuals which may have been included. If the work requires an experienced and licensed professional plumber, our staff is available 24/7 to help.