HOW TO GET ALONG WITH OUR FRIEND, THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL.

Some handy tips on the care and maintenance of the household garbage disposal. The operation of household garbage disposals can pretty much be taken for granted. You just turn on the cold water, flip the electrical wall switch to “on”, toss in the garbage (In that exact order) and the garbage disappears. Nothing to it, until the day you flip the “on” switch and nothing happens. What went wrong?

What Happened? In most instances, the only thing that can stop a garbage disposal is by putting something in it which is too hard, or too much for it to handle. In this situation two things occur. #1. The disposal becomes so jammed/clogged that it can no longer operate. #2. The electricity to the unit automatically turns off, so as to not to allow further damage to the unit.


So what do we need to do? First thing you’ll need to do is to assure that the disposal is, in fact, turned off. If it is still making a “humming sound”, it is still electrically turned ON. Flip the wall electrical switch to the off position. The humming sound will then stop and it is now safe to remove the item which is causing the jamb.

If a metal disposal hex wrench has been provided by the home owner, (see the picture above) place one end of the wrench into the slot in the center of the bottom of the disposal unit. Use this wrench to turn the disposal blades through several full rotations. This will usually unclog any remaining obstructions. Turn on the cold water, then turn on the disposal electrical wall switch. If the disposal starts operating at full speed, then the problem has been solved.


If this wrench can not be located at the property, you may want to consider purchasing one, as it will probably come in handy again in the future. This Home Depot item sells for around $6.99. Provide VPM with a purchase receipt, and we will reimburse you for the cost.

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Look down into the disposal (A flashlight may be helpful). Do see anything such as a knife, fork, other kitchen utensil, a bone or other “hard” object? Remove the object from the disposal. NEVER EVER REACH INTO THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL.

In most cases the disposal will have already shut off it’s own electrical supply, so as to not allow any damage to the unit. You will find a red “re-set” button on the underside of the disposal unit. Push this red button several times to re-set the unit.


This will have resolved the problem in most cases. Turn on the cold water, then turn on the disposal electrical wall switch. If the disposal starts operating at full speed, then the problem has been solved.

BOTTOM VIEW OF THE DISPOSAL UNIT

RED RE-SET BUTTON

HEX (Allen) WRENCH

If the disposal turns on, but only makes a low “humming” sound, it is still jammed. Immediately turn off the electrical wall switch.


An object of some type is still keeping the disposal blades from turning freely. This can usually be resolved by manually turning the disposal blades a couple of full rotations There are two ways to accomplish this.



If a disposal wrench is not available, another way to unclog the disposal blades is with the assistance of a wooden broom handle, or wooden plunger handle. Insert the wooden handle into the disposal through the sink, down into the disposal to manually turn the disposal blades a couple of full rotations. Be sure that the disposal electrical wall switch is in the off position before starting this procedure. NEVER EVER REACH INTO THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL WITH YOUR HANDS.


Turn on the cold water, then turn on the disposal electrical wall switch. If the disposal starts operating at full speed, then the problem has been solved.


Other items which can cause problems. In the above, we talked about “hard” items and how they can cause a garbage disposal to jamb. However, there are some other items which can cause trouble in another way. These are the “thin” items, such as onion skins, potato skins, corn husks, shrimp shells, etc.


Because these items are so thin, they simply flow right past the disposal blades without being ground up. Because these items have not been processed by the disposal unit, they can quickly become lodged in the plumbing pipe directly below the disposal, thereby blocking the disposal discharge. When this happens, water will immediately begin backing up into the sink and the adjacent sink, if there is a double sink.


A household liquid drain cleaner will sometimes resolve this problem, when used according to the drain cleaner instructions.

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