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Dealing with a Jammed Garbage Disposal

kitchen-sink-faucetYou’re rinsing off the dishes from dinner, scraping the leftover peas and carrots into the drain, when you notice the sink is filling up. Naturally, you flip the switch off to the side of the sink—only to be disappointed. Have you ever been in this situation? It can be extremely frustrating when the garbage disposal jams and you’re in a bind.

What can you do to get the garbage disposal unit up and running again? We’ve got the dos and don’ts of dealing with a clogged disposal in today’s guide.

What’s Going On?

The first thing you’ll want to know is why your disposal has jammed in the first place. This will help you ensure you get the proper solution. It’s possible that a piece of string or a stingy vegetable has become wrapped up around the disposal, in which case you may need a plumber to resolve the problem. Otherwise, it’s usually a piece of bone or a fruit pit stuck in the mechanism. Or, it may have simply overheated.

The First Thing to Try

Turn off the garbage disposal first and foremost by flipping the switch. Then, grab a flashlight and check under the sink, underneath the garbage disposal unit. There should be a small button here, usually colored red, that may appear to be popped out. If the disposal has only overheated, pressing this button back in may do the trick. Try this, turn on the water, and rerun the garbage disposal to test it.

NEVER Do This

If the reset button won’t solve the problem, never reach into the garbage disposal in an attempt to dislodge the clog. Whatever you do, shut off the disposal and unplug it, but keep your hands out of the disposal just in case. There are better ways to handle the situation!

Try the Broom Handle Technique

Before you give up on your garbage disposal, there are two ways you may be able to unjam the mechanism on your own. One is by using a small allen wrench at the bottom of the disposal unit near the reset button (again, with the power to the disposal turned off). You can try wiggling the blades back and forth with the allen wrench from underneath, and removing loosened items with a set of tongs.

Sometimes, there is no hole underneath the disposal unit for an allen wrench. Plumbers have specialized tools in this case, but you may try using a broom handle or similarly sized object. Use this to toggle the blades until you feel them worked loose. Reset the disposal before turning it back on.

Call in a Plumber

When none of the above will work, it’s important to call in only highly trained plumbers to handle the damage. You don’t want to make the issue any worse, or risk any electrical troubles. Plumbers can quickly identify the problem and get the disposal fixed or replace it with a new garbage disposal if necessary.

Get service for your garbage disposal in Hailey, ID with Evans Plumbing Inc.

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