Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

Have you ever turned on your garbage disposal only to find it stubbornly refusing to work? If so, you might ask, “Why is my garbage disposal not working?”

It’s a common household frustration, but understanding the reasons behind it can be a bit of a mystery. In this guide, Dunlap Foundation Repair lists common reasons why your garbage disposal might not be working and how to address these issues. If you’re looking for an experienced plumber in Peoria, AZ, we’re here to help.

Common Causes of Garbage Disposal Problems

One of the first steps in water garbage disposal troubleshooting is identifying the root cause of the problem.

There are several reasons why your disposal might not be functioning properly. It could be due to electrical issues, such as a tripped circuit breaker or a malfunctioning reset button. Sometimes, the issue is mechanical, like a jammed flywheel. Kitchen sink disposal problems can also arise from clogs due to fibrous vegetables or large bones.

Let’s dig into the most common reasons garbage disposals break.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

Your garbage disposal connects to a circuit, which can trip due to overload. This can happen if multiple appliances are running simultaneously. Resetting the circuit breaker can often resolve this issue.

Malfunctioning Reset Button

The reset button on your disposal is a safety feature that shuts off the motor in case of an overload. If this button is not functioning correctly, it can prevent the disposal from turning on.

Jammed Flywheel

The flywheel is the part of the disposal that grinds the food. Objects like silverware, hard seeds, or bones can jam the flywheel, preventing it from moving and stopping the disposal from working.

Clogs from Inappropriate Items

Disposing of certain items down the kitchen sink can lead to clogs that impede the disposal’s functionality. These include:

  • Fibrous Vegetables: Items like celery or corn husks can wrap around the disposal’s blades, leading to clogs.
  • Large Bones: While a garbage disposal can grind up small chicken or fish bones, larger bones from beef or pork can jam the disposal.
  • Cooking Grease and Oil: These can solidify inside the disposal or pipes, causing significant blockages.
  • Coffee Grounds: Although they seem harmless, coffee grounds can accumulate and form a dense, sludgy blockage.
  • Eggshells: Contrary to popular belief, eggshells can stick to the sides of the disposal, creating a layer of waste that’s hard to remove.

Fixing a Jammed Disposal

If your disposal is jammed, don’t panic. First, ensure it’s turned off and unplugged. Then, use a wrench to manually turn the blades from underneath the unit. This can often dislodge whatever is causing the jam. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to call a professional.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

To better understand why your disposal might be malfunctioning, it’s helpful to know how garbage disposals function. A garbage disposal is essentially a motorized device that grinds food waste into small pieces. This allows the waste to pass through your plumbing system without causing clogs.

After asking, “Why is my garbage disposal not working?” you probably want to know how to avoid this problem in the first place.

Regular maintenance is key to preventing common disposal issues. To keep your disposal in top shape, run cold water during and after use, and avoid disposing of hard or fibrous foods. Cleaning your disposal regularly with safe cleaners can also help prevent sink clog solutions. Remember, proper care extends the life of your disposal and reduces the need for repairs.

When To Seek Professional Help for a Broken Garbage Disposal

Sometimes, DIY fixes just won’t cut it. If you’ve tried troubleshooting and your disposal still isn’t working, it might be time to call in the experts. An experienced plumber can diagnose and fix the issue, whether it’s a severe clog or a mechanical failure. Remember, attempting complex repairs on your own can lead to further damage or even injury.

Let Dunlap Foundation Repair Help

“Why is my garbage disposal not working? It could be due to a range of issues, from simple jams to more complex mechanical failures. At Dunlap Foundation Repair, we understand the inconvenience and frustration that comes with a malfunctioning disposal.

That’s why we offer expert services to diagnose and resolve your disposal problems. Need a plumbing inspection? We’ve got you covered. Our team is equipped to handle all your plumbing needs.


Call us at (602) 922-1834 for assistance with why your garbage disposal is not working.


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