377 Valley Rd, Clifton, NJ
24 Hour Service - 7 Days a Week
Follow us:
Page Title BG
Troubleshooting: Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

Troubleshooting: Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

If you’re experiencing issues with your garbage disposal, you’re not alone. Garbage disposals not working is a common problem that can be caused by a range of issues, from electrical problems to jammed units. Fortunately, with some troubleshooting, you can diagnose and fix many of these issues on your own.

Key Takeaways:

  • Garbage disposals can experience various issues that prevent them from working properly.
  • Troubleshooting can help diagnose and solve many common problems.
  • Some issues may require professional repair or replacement.
  • Following safety protocols is essential when troubleshooting and repairing a garbage disposal.
  • Maintaining your garbage disposal properly can help prevent future issues.

Troubleshooting: Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

garbage disposal not turning on: If your garbage disposal is not turning on, it can be frustrating. Fear not, this common issue can usually be resolved through troubleshooting and fixing the problem yourself. Here are some steps to troubleshooting garbage disposal follow:

  1. Check for Power: Ensure that your garbage disposal is plugged in and that the circuit breaker is not tripped. If the unit is not receiving power, it will not turn on.
  2. Reset the Unit: Some garbage disposals have a reset button located on the bottom of the unit. Press and hold this button for a few seconds to reset the disposal, and then try turning it on again.
  3. Remove Jammed Objects: A jammed garbage disposal can also cause it to not turn on. Before attempting to clear any clogs, always ensure that the unit is unplugged or turned off at the circuit breaker. Use a flashlight and look inside the disposal for any large, hard objects that may be causing the jam.
  4. Clear the Jam: If the object is visible, use tongs or pliers to remove it from the unit. For smaller clogs, use a specialized wrench that fits into the bottom of the unit to manually turn the blades and clear the jam.
  5. Call a Professional: If the above steps do not work, it may be time to call a professional for repair or replacement. Attempting to fix an electrical issue without the proper knowledge and tools can be dangerous.

You can avoid future garbage disposal problems by practicing good maintenance habits. Always run water before and after using the disposal, avoid putting hard or fibrous material down the drain, and clean the unit regularly with a mixture of ice cubes and vinegar.

Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Problems

Garbage disposals are highly convenient appliances, but they can also be prone to certain problems. Here are some common garbage disposal problems you may encounter:

  • Strange noises coming from the unit
  • Leaks under the sink
  • Unpleasant odors emanating from the disposal

Fortunately, these problems can usually be resolved with some troubleshooting. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Strange noises: If your garbage disposal is making odd noises, it could be due to a jammed unit or a loose blade. To fix this, turn off the disposal and use pliers or tongs to remove any obstructions.
  2. Leaks: Leaks can occur due to a faulty gasket or loose connections. Check the gasket and connections for any damage or looseness and tighten as necessary.
  3. Odors: Odors can be a sign of built-up food particles or bacteria. Run some ice cubes and citrus peels through the disposal to eliminate odors and prevent future build-up.

If these troubleshooting tips don’t solve the problem, it may be time to call in a professional. They can assist with more complex issues such as electrical problems or internal motor damage.

Fixing Your Garbage Disposal

After identifying the problem with your garbage disposal, it’s time to fixing garbage disposal. Follow these step-by-step instructions to repair common issues and ensure a successful repair.

Resetting Your Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal is not working at all, it may just need to be reset.

  1. Ensure the switch is in the “off” position.
  2. Locate the red reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal.
  3. Press the button firmly.
  4. Turn the switch on to test if the garbage disposal is working.

Clearing a Jammed Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal makes a humming noise but does not turn on, it may be due to a jam.

  1. Turn off the unit and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Use a flashlight and tongs to carefully remove any objects or debris causing the jam.
  3. Plug the unit back in and turn it on to test if the garbage disposal is working properly.

Replacing a Faulty Part

If your garbage disposal is still not working after troubleshooting, it may be due to a faulty part that needs to be replaced.

Garbage Disposal Part Replacement Instructions
Garbage Disposal Blades Clean or replace blades according to the manufacturer’s instructions or replace the entire unit.
Garbage Disposal Motor Replace the motor according to the manufacturer’s instructions or replace the entire unit.
Garbage Disposal Switch Replace the switch according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be sure to consult your garbage disposal’s user manual for specific replacement instructions and safety precautions.

With the right tools and know-how, fixing your garbage disposal can save you time and money. Remember to always prioritize safety and contact a professional if you are unsure or uncomfortable with any repair tasks.


In conclusion, troubleshooting your garbage disposal is an essential part of maintaining it. By following the tips and steps outlined in this article, you should now be able to diagnose and fix the most common issues. Remember to always prioritize safety and shut off the power source before attempting any repairs. If you have any doubts or are uncomfortable handling repairs, consider contacting a professional. Taking care of your garbage disposal will ensure its longevity and save you money on costly repairs in the long run. Happy troubleshooting!


Q: Why is my garbage disposal not working?

A: There could be several reasons why your garbage disposal is not working, such as a tripped breaker, a clogged drain, or a malfunctioning motor. To troubleshoot the issue, you can try resetting the disposal, checking the power supply, and clearing any clogs. If these steps don’t resolve the problem, it may be best to call a professional plumber.

Q: How do I fix a garbage disposal that is not turning on?

A: If your garbage disposal is not turning on, first check if it is plugged in and if the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If these are not the issue, the disposal may be jammed. You can try manually turning the blades with an Allen wrench to loosen any obstructions. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call a plumber to assess and repair the problem.

Q: What should I do if my garbage disposal is making strange noises?

A: Strange noises coming from a garbage disposal can indicate a variety of issues, such as loose parts, worn blades, or debris stuck in the unit. To troubleshoot, make sure the disposal is turned off and check for any loose or damaged components. If you spot any issues, it is best to contact a professional to address the problem and avoid further damage.

Q: How do I fix a leaking garbage disposal?

A: A leaking garbage disposal can be caused by loose connections, cracked seals, or damaged pipes. Start by checking the connections for any signs of leaks and tighten them if necessary. If the disposal’s seals are damaged, you may need to replace them. For more complex issues or if you are unsure, it is recommended to call a licensed plumber for assistance.

Q: What can I do about odors coming from my garbage disposal?

A: Odors can occur when food debris builds up in the garbage disposal. To eliminate odors, try running cold water and grinding a few lemon or orange peels in the disposal. You can also pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into the disposal, followed by hot water. If the odors persist, there may be a deeper issue, and it’s best to consult a professional plumber.

Q: Can I fix my garbage disposal myself, or should I call a professional?

A: Simple troubleshooting steps like resetting the disposal, clearing minor jams, or checking the power supply can often be done by homeowners. However, if you are not comfortable or experienced with working on electrical or plumbing systems, it is recommended to call a licensed professional. They have the knowledge and tools to safely diagnose and repair more complex issues with your garbage disposal.

Useful Internal Links:
Useful External Links:

**Top-Rated Plumbing & HVAC Services: Expert Care for Your Home**

Need reliable plumbing and HVAC services under one roof? We offer a comprehensive range of solutions to keep your home's water and climate systems functioning smoothly. Our experienced professionals can handle everything from emergency repairs and routine maintenance to installations and upgrades.

Recent Posts