There are so many times you know you need a plumber. If sewage were to backup into your home, if water were to spring from the pipes underneath your sink, you’re likely to call a plumber first thing. When you have a slab leak, you’ll have to call a plumber to get to the bottom of it. But some of the smaller issues may be things you hope you can handle on your own.
For the experienced DIY-er, it may be possible to repair a garbage disposal without a plumber’s help. It may also be possible even for someone with little experience. We’ll help you to understand your garbage disposal—why it gets jammed up, what can resolve the problem, and how it may be an easy fix—in today’s guide. For everything else, reach out to our plumbers in Stuart, FL.
The simplest fix for a garbage disposal
When a garbage disposal jams up because it is overloaded, it reacts in a way that’s similar to a circuit breaker. A button at the bottom of the disposal pushes out, and you won’t be able to turn it back on until you push in the button.
This is the best possible scenario. Look underneath the sink for a button at the bottom of your disposal (which may be red). If it’s pressed out, try pushing it in before turning the disposal back on. Another possibility is that there is no power going to the garbage disposal whatsoever, and that you do need to reset a circuit breaker.
What you may not understand about your kitchen disposal
Something many people are surprised to learn is that a kitchen garbage disposal does not actually have sharp blades, as you may expect. Rather, it consists of some flat “teeth” on a cutter wheel that help to grind the food up, but it’s the motor that really does all the work. Mostly, the food is pureed as it goes against the grinding plate, breaking into tiny bits before moving to the bottom and draining out.
When overloaded, or when large chunks of food and foreign objects interfere, you can’t simply keep running the disposal and hope the “blades” break it up.
Allen wrenches, broomsticks and other last resorts
At the bottom of the disposal underneath the sink, near the reset button, you can insert an Allen wrench (or a hex key) and move it back and forth to try to loosen the debris that’s clogging up the system. You could also try a couple of other tricks. Two broomstick handles are often used to attempt to latch on to the cutter wheel and move it back and forth from the top of the drain. You might also try a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the obstruction. But one tool you should never, ever use—your own hands.
If these things won’t do the trick—or if you simply don’t feel confident enough to do them on your own (and that’s okay!)—it’s time to call in the pros. Professionals have special tools that fit into the cutter wheel to loosen the clog, or they can replace your disposal if absolutely necessary.
For a qualified plumber in Stuart, FL reach out to the team at Admiral Plumbing Services, LLC. Nice People, Super Service!