garbage-disposal-repairs-pic1Can you make your own garbage disposal repairs? Without the disposal you wind up throwing food waste in the trash. This often results in some foul smells. The odors can have far reaching impact on your ability to enjoy life. How much nicer it is when we can grind it up and have the run down the drain.

A garbage disposal is both a mechanical and an electrical device. Therefore, you can have problems with both aspects. With garbage disposals, power and quality are issues. Poor quality units may not grind things up fine enough and can get clogged up easier.

Don't despair, garbage disposal repairs are within your grasp. You won't even have to sign up for night classes. In fact you will find some the repairs pretty easy to do.

Garbage Disposal Repair - Information

What Can You Save?

Assuming that the garbage disposal is not broken you will be faced with a service call, $50 to $75. If the serviceman tells you that your unit is at death's door and just happens to have a new one in his truck, you could be looking at a couple of hundred dollars.

How Hard Could It Be?

Replacing the disposal with a new unit would be the hardest job. Most other garbage disposal repairs are possible for the average home owner.

These repairs will have a Difficulty Level of: A Bit of Work
These repairs require a Skill Level of: Handyman
For and explanation of the terms in this section, see 'How to Use This Site'.

Check the Simple Things!

The garbage disposal is plugged in. Check the GFCI and the breaker first. Make sure it has power. There is also a reset button on the bottom. It will kick off when the unit jams. Wait a half an hour and try the reset, assuming you have the jam freed up (see below).

What Can Go Wrong?

A thoroughly clogged garbage disposal can mean a sink full of dirty water. Take precautions for dealing with the water. Rags and pails are a must. Never stick your hand in the unit. Make sure the power is off before working on it. You can get hurt from this device. Getting the unit or drain dismantled and not getting it together will render the sink unusable. Not a great way to please the family.

Electrical Problems


Dealing with garbage disposal electrical problems are usually related to a jammed garbage disposal. There is generally a loud electrical noise, like a motor binding when this is the case.

Did the garbage disposal jam? Now it won't do anything? It is likely that the safety feature on the motor tripped the reset. There is a button on the unit, usually on the bottomed that will need to be pushed. You will usually have to wait several minutes to a half an hour before the button will hold.

You need to free up the jam before you try to run the unit again, see the link below for instructions. After freeing up the jam, you can push the reset button. Let the unit cool off first.

WARNING!! Make Sure the Power is OFF!!! BEFORE You Work on Electrical Devices!!!

garbage-disposal-repairs-pic3Garbage disposal electrical problems may also include tripped breakers and GFCI protection.

If you have lost power for no apparent reason you will want to check the GFCI at the plug for the unit or one nearby (plugs that follow a GFCI receptacle are also protected). Has it tripped? Reset it and try the garbage disposal again. Still no power, check the breaker, reset it as needed.

Still won't work? Try plugging something else into the receptacle or checking it with a tester. With the unit cool and power to the receptacle it should run. If not it may need replacing, see the article below on replacing a garbage disposal for more information. Hopefully your garbage disposal repairs were fairly simple and you can move on to more fulfilling pursuits.

Stuck Objects


Removing objects from a disposal may be needed when the disposal can't grind them up. As a rule you're careful. Once in a while something gets in the disposal that it can't handle.

Silverware, coins or other metal objects are quite popular. The noise usually sets off the alarm and you know you got a problem. Other things like plastic bags and bones may not be as loud but are just as annoying.

Unless the handle of a fork is obviously sticking up out of the opening you want to make sure the power is off. Always shut the power off before attempting any garbage disposal repairs.

With the power off try to take the rubber strainer out. Take a look and see if you can identify the object. You may need a flashlight.

With tongs or a pair of pliers get a hold of the object and remove it. Check again and make sure you got it all. Satisfied everything is clear? Put the stainer back in and turn the power on. Try it and see if it runs quietly again. Yes? Great, you have completed your garbage disposal repairs, at least for now.

WARNING!! Never Put Your Fingers Inside the Garbage Disposal!!!

Jammed Garbage Disposal

Fixing a jammed garbage disposal is a common problem. Most of the time it is not too difficult to correct.

When you turn the switch on to get that loud electrical sound and no action from the disposal? Shut the switch off quickly, you don't want to burn up the motor. Something has gotten into the unit that it cannot handle. Now it has jammed.

For complete coverage of this topic, see the article 'Fixing a Jammed Garbage Disposal'. This series of articles discusses the methods that can be used to free up a jammed disposal. It also covers the tools you will need, one of them should have come with your disposal.

Dealing with garbage disposal repairs of this kind are just one click away. Follow the above link to read more information on this subject.


Your garbage disposal repair may have been fairly simple. Perhaps a tripped reset or popped GFCI. Even using an allen wrench to free up a jam is not that hard. I wish I could put a good face on unclogging a drain, but I can't. I hope that if you did deal with a clog that you have found a support group. The worst news would have been replacing your old garbage disposal.

Whatever you faced, we hope that is over now. Your garbage disposal repairs are complete and new horizons have opened up to you. At the very minimum you are free to move onto other repair projects in your home.