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Twin Falls



Your Garbage Disposal: Don’t Panic, It’s Probably Not Broken!

July 18th 2023

Garbage disposals are fantastic appliances that help keep our kitchens clean and efficient. They effortlessly grind up food waste, making clean-up a breeze. However, it can be frustrating when your garbage disposal suddenly stops working. Before you rush to call a repair service, take a deep breath and remember that it might just need a simple reset. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process of resetting your garbage disposal and explain why it may not be broken if it doesn’t start immediately.

Understanding How Garbage Disposals Work

Before we delve into the reset process, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how garbage disposals function. These devices are installed under your kitchen sink and consist of a motor connected to a grinding chamber. When you switch on the disposal, the motor rotates the impellers inside the chamber, breaking down food waste into small particles. However, like any electrical appliance, garbage disposals can sometimes encounter issues that prevent them from operating correctly.

The Importance of Resetting

Sometimes, garbage disposals can get overloaded or jammed, causing them to shut down as a safety measure. When this happens, the reset button, also known as the overload protector, will pop out, cutting off power to the unit. Resetting the disposal is a simple way to fix this problem and get it back to working condition.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting Your Garbage Disposal

Please note that before attempting to reset your garbage disposal, always ensure it is turned off and unplugged to avoid any accidents. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you reset your disposal safely:

Step 1: Locate the Reset Button Look under your sink for the reset button, which is usually a small red or black button located on the bottom or side of the garbage disposal unit.

Step 2: Press the Reset Button Using your finger, press the reset button firmly until you hear or feel a click. This action will restore power to the disposal unit and reset the internal circuitry.

Step 3: Check for Jams After resetting the disposal, check for any obstructions or jams. Use tongs or pliers to remove any large pieces of food or debris that may be causing the jam.

Step 4: Restore Power and Test Once you’ve cleared any potential jams, restore power to the garbage disposal by plugging it back in or flipping the circuit breaker. Test the disposal by turning it on to see if it’s running correctly.

Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Might Not Start Immediately

If your garbage disposal doesn’t start immediately after the reset, don’t panic. There are a few reasons why this might happen:

  1. Thermal Overload: Some garbage disposals have a built-in thermal overload feature that automatically shuts off the motor if it becomes too hot. Allow the disposal to cool down for about 15-20 minutes before attempting to reset it again.
  2. Tripped Circuit Breaker: If the disposal caused a surge in your electrical system, the circuit breaker might have tripped. Check your electrical panel and reset the breaker if necessary.
  3. Faulty Wiring: Loose or faulty wiring can also prevent the disposal from starting. In this case, it’s best to call a professional electrician to inspect and fix the issue.
  4. Mechanical Damage: In rare cases, the garbage disposal might have suffered internal damage due to a jam or overload. If you’ve tried resetting it multiple times and it still doesn’t work, it’s time to seek professional assistance.


Resetting a garbage disposal is a simple and valuable skill that every homeowner should know. Before assuming the worst and calling for repairs, follow the steps in this guide to reset your disposal safely. Remember, it’s common for a disposal to temporarily shut down due to overloading or jamming. By performing a reset and troubleshooting the issue, you can save time, money, and potentially avoid unnecessary repairs. However, if your garbage disposal continues to exhibit problems even after resetting, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified professional for further assistance. Happy grinding!

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