Skip to content

Garbage Disposal Not Working? Check Out How You Can Fix It

If your garbage disposal is not working, don’t panic. It’s probably just a minor issue that you can easily fix yourself. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to take to get your garbage disposal up and running again. Garbage disposals are a great convenience, but they can also be quite frustrating when they stop working properly. Don’t let that happen to you! Follow these simple instructions and your garbage disposal will be up and running in no time.

Garbage Disposal Not Turning On? Follow This Guide

Having problems with the power supply could be the reason why your garbage disposal stops working or does not turn on. It is possible that your garbage disposal has been overloaded. This causes the reset switch to trip to prevent any damage.

Make Sure The Unit is Plugged In & Check If The Garbage Disposal Is On

Find the reset button under the garbage disposal. If it has popped out, it means that the garbage disposal is experiencing an overload and has tripped the circuit breaker. If the reset button does not work, hold it in place for about 10 minutes before trying again. To check if the reset button is still in place, turn on the garbage disposal’s power supply to see if it starts up again.

Check if the Circuit Breaker Is Working at Your Electrical Panel

You should inspect the garbage disposal’s wall switch. Remove the switch plate, check for loose connections and tighten them if needed.

Make sure you check the connection point of the wires to the unit. These wires may have become loose from vibrations caused by the garbage disposal and should be tightened.

Your plumber can help you if your garbage disposal stops working after these steps. Your plumber can inspect the unit and the electrical connections to find the problem that is stopping the unit from working. They will also help you choose a replacement unit and install your garbage disposal if the problem cannot be fixed.

Unit Makes a Humming Sound But Not Working

If the garbage disposal makes a sound when you turn on the power switch and the unit isn’t functioning, it is likely that the flywheel inside the disposal has become jammed. Stop the garbage disposal immediately if you notice this. If the garbage disposal continues to run despite a jam, it may cause permanent damage and even burn the motor.

Causes of a Humming Garbage Disposal

Humming sounds will help you make an informed decision about what to do next. What are the other causes?

Stuck Foreign Object – This refers to objects that aren’t supposed to go in the garbage disposal. Foreign objects cause the impeller blades of the unit to jam and produce a hum. You should turn off all power and check the disposer for any obstructions. To restore the disposer’s functionality, use a tong.

Tripped GFI/Disposer – It is possible that the GFI, GFCI, or garbage disposer has tripped. A humming sound may be caused by the lack of electricity to turn the motor. To test if normal disposer operation has been restored, press the reset button. You will find the reset button at the bottom of the unit.

How Can You Fix This? Follow These Steps

1. To prevent any accidents, you should turn off the power supply to your garbage disposal at your electrical panel before trying to fix it. Check that the power to the garbage disposal is off and turn off the wall switch.

2. Use the wrench included with your garbage disposal and stick it in the turning hole at bottom of the lower grinding chamber.

3. To dislodge objects stuck to the garbage disposal’s impeller or flywheel, turn the wrench clockwise. You will be able to turn the wrench freely if the jam has been removed.

You may also:

1. Stick a long stick (such as the handle of a wooden spoon, or any other wooden kitchen utensil) down through the drain opening. To dislodge the stuck flywheel, use the stick to maneuver the drain opening. The flywheel will then easily turn if this is successful.

2. Use a flashlight to light into the garbage disposal. Look for the object that caused the flywheel jam. It could be a bone, utensil, or other material that accidentally got into the drain.

3. Grab the item with a pair of pliers and then pull it out using your fingers.

4. Once you have removed the blockage, switch the electricity onto the home’s electric panel. Press the reset button located at the bottom of your garbage disposal. For a few moments, run cold water down the drain while simultaneously flipping the switch on and off intermittently. You should empty any material that remains in the chamber into the trash disposal and down the drain.

Your plumber can repair your garbage disposal if it still doesn’t work after you have tried this procedure. If necessary, he or she can remove any difficult items. Your plumber can also inspect your unit for other reasons, such as corrosion or rust.

Garbage Disposal Smokes

The unit could start to smoke if it makes the above noises and has a jammed flywheel. Your garbage disposal may need to be replaced because it could have smoked from the motor frying. It could also be a result of a fried electrical circuit. This can be fixed.


1. Turn off the garbage disposal power, then follow these troubleshooting steps.

2. Take off the lower cover from the garbage disposal.

3. Check the wiring that connects to the garbage disposal. Are there any burnt wires?

4. Remove any wires that have been damaged or burned.

5. Connect the wires correctly.

6. Replace the lower cover.

7. Test the unit and restore power.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, or you don’t feel comfortable with working with wires after your garbage disposal stops working properly, contact your plumber. The plumber can assess the condition of the garbage disposal and determine if it is possible to repair or replace the motor.

Garbage Disposal Not Draining

Clogs are likely to cause your garbage disposal to stop clearing waste from the drain. If the unit doesn’t turn on and water isn’t flowing into the drain, it could be a problem with the garbage disposal.

These steps will help you determine the cause of your garbage disposal not working.


1. Get rid of any waste that remains in the sink. Take it out and put it in the trashcan.

2. Use a cup plunger to drain the sink. Medium pressure is used to seal the drain opening. You may be able to clear the blockage completely. If not, you can continue the next steps.

3. Check the drain for any obstructions. To remove any obstructions, you can use pliers and tongs. Run water to rinse the material. Turn the garbage disposal on again to check if it is draining smoothly. Continue if the drain does not flow smoothly.

4. Place a bucket underneath the sink and remove the bolts holding the discharge pipe to it.

5. Disconnect the garbage disposal trap and pull out both the disposal trap as well as the drain line. Clear out any obstructions. If there are no obstructions in this line, it could be the plumbing of the sink.

6. To clear the blockage, use a sink auger to reach the drain line.

7. Reassemble the drain trap or discharge tube if you’re able to clear the blockage.

8. To test the drain, run water and turn on the garbage disposal’s power switch.

If you are unable to clear the clog or restore drainage from your garbage disposal, it is time to call a plumber. It is possible that there is an obstruction in the drain line further down than you are able to drain your garbage disposal properly.

Good Garbage Disposal Habits to Practice

Good garbage disposal habits will help you avoid future clogs and keep your garbage disposal working.

1. When operating the garbage disposal, make sure you use lots of cold water.

2. To flush out food waste completely, water and the garbage disposal should be kept running for several seconds.

3. To prevent any unwanted items from getting into the garbage disposal, use a strainer. It should be placed over the disposal drain until the disposal is ready for use.

4. Before you put the matter in the garbage disposal, cut it into smaller pieces.

General Garbage Disposal Tips

These general care tips will ensure that you don’t have to deal with the issue again.

You can occasionally put small pieces of food, such as chicken bones, through the disposal. These items will be pulverized by the disposal. The hard material will then scour the chamber sides and clean out the buildup. This will help keep your garbage disposal clean.

When you run the garbage disposal, pour cold water down the drain. Disposals perform best when they are combined with cold water. Coldwater can also help to convert grease and fat into a solid form, making it easier to flush the system.

You should clean your garbage disposal once a month by filling it up with ice cubes. Turn on the disposal by running cold water. This will remove grease and other gunk from the disposal’s walls.

Do not overfill the garbage disposal. The disposal will jam if you try to stuff too many food items through it at once. Instead, use the disposal to fill in any gaps.

Make sure you dispose of food properly. Do not leave food to sit at your disposal. Corrosion can occur if food is left at its disposal.

Non-food items should be kept out of the garbage disposal. Intentionally dropping jewelry or silverware into a garbage disposal can cause major damage.

Other Questions About Faulty Garbage Disposals

What Causes Garbage Disposal to Stop Working?

Garbage disposals can stop due to many reasons including the following: power issues, jammed flywheels, leaky components, leaky sink flange, leaky dishwasher connection, cracked garbage disposal, leaky discharge drainpipe, and clogs.

What Does It Mean When Your Garbage Disposal Just Hums?

An object in the drain likely jammed the blades of the garbage disposal causing it to hum. Jamming prevents the blades from rotating. While an object is blocking the spinning blades of the garbage disposal, its use can potentially burn out the motor.

How Do I Fix a Garbage Disposal That Just Hums?

You can try to check if the garbage disposal is jammed and try to clear the blockage. After you’ve unclogged it or manually rotated the grinding plate, and your garbage disposal is still humming you will need to reset it. Simply push the reset button to do this. The garbage disposal will be reset.

Need a Garbage Disposal Repair Service?

If your garbage disposal stops working, make sure you follow our troubleshooting tips. When you’re unable to resolve the problem, professional plumbing repair is recommended. Our licensed plumbers will inspect it, determine the cause, and repair or install a new unit.

The next time your garbage disposal gets clogged up, and you can’t find a solution, call our professional plumbers.