Fixing a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Jan 19th, 2012 | By | Category: Tips & Tricks & Handy Advice

jammed garbage disposal diagramIf your garbage disposal is making a humming noise, but won’t grind, then it is jammed. Sometimes a garbage disposal will jamb because you try to grind too much of a good thing, or the wrong thing altogether –  Celery, plastic flatware, potato peels, corn-husks, pork chop gristle, and even the occasional children’s toy can cause your unit to jam. The following solution will work for everything save for the toy – might want to send for a plumber on that one. ;)

First, UNPLUG the disposal from underneath the sink. If yours is the kind that has the electricity hardwired into the unit itself, SHUT OFF the circuit breaker at your service panel. If you are not comfortable with this step, then you need to call a plumber, but DO NOT put your hands in the disposal if the electricity is still connected.

Next, reach inside the unit and pull out all of the glop and throw it away (I know, eeeew, but use rubber gloves). Now you need to find the hex wrench that came with the unit – it is usually attached to the disposal somehow, or laying on cabinet floor. If not, you can purchase one with a variety of sizes at any hardware store. Look for the screw in the exact center of the unit.  Your hex key will fit in there. Just insert and turn, back and forth, back and forth, and depending on what’s stuck, and how it’s stuck, this will usually work, but you may have to put some muscle into it.

Warning:  NEVER put your hand inside of the unit unless it is unplugged.

Tip: Throw large amounts of potato skins, etc., in the trash can, or, better yet, compost them. While they do make a couple of disposals that can handle that kind of thing, they are expensive, and most people don’t have them.

Leave a Comment