garbage disposal electric panelHas your garbage disposal been acting up lately? Before you spend money calling us, check out the following tips and tricks to help you fix, or prevent, common issues that we find most commonly plague owners of this very important home appliance.

But, don’t hesitate to call us if you have any problems. Your safety is our priority.

Before we get started, it is important to note that, under no circumstances should you put your hand in the disposal. If you do, please first turn off the electricity to your garbage disposal via your electric circuit box (shown above). If you can’t do this, call us. You need professional service. Safety is key!

What To Do if Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

There are several reasons why your garbage disposal won’t come on but, there’s a good chance it’s not a major malfunction. Just follow these steps:

  • Reset your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals have a reset button. It’s located on the bottom of your appliance and is red. Push in this reset button to get it working again.
  • If this step doesn’t work, check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped and, if so, push the lever back into the on position on your electric circuit box.


If you hear a humming sound, there is some hope. The humming indicates that your unit wants to work, but the blades might be stuck. Some object might be keeping your blade motor from turning. You can try dislodging this object so that the motor assembly is freed and turns freely. Your garbage disposal blades are fine, but you’re blade motor needs to turn freely so your garbage disposal blades can do their job. It might be a small piece of bone or similar very small object.

garbage  disposal jamYou might try unsticking your blade motor. It’s easy and this works. Do you have a plunger in your house or an old broom handle? You need a piece of wood about this size in length and diameter. If you have a plunger with a wooden stick attached, this is perfect. Unscrew the stick from the rubber part of the plunger. Ensure that you have all power to your disposal turned off to ensure your safety. Just flip your circuit breaker switch to the off position. Apply hard pressure against one of you garbage disposal blades. Most garbage disposals have three blades. Push it until it moves.

This will dislodge the object that is preventing the motor from turning. Turn your electricity back on, hit your red reset button again, and you should be good to go. If not, repeat this procedure. Apply more pressure against your blades. You should feel the motor actually move. If this doesn’t work, you’re probably not applying direct pressure on your blades. Grab a flashlight and find your three blades. This will help you find your target and get the job done.


If none of these options get your garbage disposal working again, then the issue might lie with the fault switch of the disposal itself. If this is the case, you won’t hear any humming sound assuming you’ve pressed the red reset button under your garbage disposal. To fix this, follow these steps:

    • Find the garbage disposal’s power switch. It is usually located either under the sink or on the wall next to the unit
    • Go to the circuit breaker and cut off the power to the disposal
    • Replace the switch that powers the disposal
    • Go to the circuit breaker and turn the power back on.

Check to make sure that the disposal works. If not, you should call us. It is also important to note that, if you are unable to turn your disposal on and you cannot detect a humming sound coming from the unit, this means that it is probably beyond repair and will need to be replaced.

Quick Tips on Garbage Disposal Preventive Maintenance

Garbage disposals help make our lives easier, but it’s important that we take care of these appliances to keep them running at their best. The following usage tips will help you do a bit of preventative maintenance so that you can avoid some of the common problems that plague these units:

  • Keep potato peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds out of your disposal. When these materials are pulverized, they create a paste that will accumulate and clog your drain.
  • Grind up ice cubes and lemon peels in your disposal, about once or twice a month to keep it maintained.
  • Pour a half-cup of vinegar and a couple of handfuls of baking soda down the disposal every month. It’s important to note that, when doing this, you must not turn the unit on. Let the mixture sit in the hopper until its finished foaming. Once this has occurred, rinse the mixture down the drain.