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A dysfunctional garbage disposal can be a real headache, disrupting your meal prep and causing a lot of stress. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we understand how frustrating this can be and are here to help. Whether you need a reliable plumber or a comprehensive plumbing repair service, identifying the problem is the first step to resolving it. Read more to find out about the most common reasons why your garbage disposal has stopped working and what you can do about it.

Common Culprits Behind a Malfunctioning Garbage Disposal

Several factors could contribute to your disposal's malfunction, including clogs, electrical issues, or mechanical failures. Here’s a closer look at some of the most frequent reasons:

  • Blockages and Jams: Over time, food and debris can build up, causing blockages that prevent the disposal from functioning properly. Hard items like bones, fruit pits, or fibrous vegetables can jam the blades, leading to a complete shutdown. When this happens, the disposal may either stop working altogether or make a loud grinding noise as it struggles to break down the obstructions.
  • Overloading: Another frequent issue is overloading. When too much food waste is pushed into the disposal at once, it can cause overheating, which forces the device to shut down as a safety precaution. To resolve this, try allowing the disposal to cool down before resetting it.
  • Wear and Tear: If your unit is old, it might be time to consider a replacement. Frequent use, combined with the wear and tear of grinding food particles, can lead to decreased efficiency and eventual failure. Regular maintenance and timely replacements can help ensure your disposal functions effectively.

Electrical Problems

Sometimes, the issue lies not in the disposal itself but in the electrical components that power it. Here are some electrical problems to watch out for:

  • Power Supply Issues: Ensure your disposal is plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. A simple reset might be all it takes to get your disposal back in working order. If the unit is plugged in but still refuses to work, try pressing the reset button located at the bottom of the disposal. This can often resolve minor electrical issues.
  • Faulty Wiring: Loose or damaged wiring can prevent your disposal from receiving power. This is a more complicated issue that typically requires help from a professional plumber or electrician. Attempting to fix wiring issues without proper knowledge can be dangerous, so it’s best to call a professional to handle it safely.
  • Reset Button: Most disposals will have a reset button at the bottom of the unit. Pressing this button can often resolve minor electrical issues and restore functionality. If the reset button doesn’t solve the problem, it may need professional attention.

Humming Noise

A humming sound coming from your garbage disposal can be particularly concerning. This noise often indicates that the motor is running, but the blades aren’t spinning. Here’s what might be causing the hum:

  • Jammed Blades: As mentioned earlier, hard items can jam the blades, causing the motor to hum without turning. If you suspect a jam, disconnect power to the disposal and use a hex key to turn the blades manually and dislodge the obstruction. Be cautious and make sure the power is completely off before attempting this.
  • Motor Problems: If the blades aren’t jammed, but you still hear a hum, the motor itself might be the issue. A faulty motor may need to be replaced. It might be more cost-effective to replace the entire unit rather than just the motor, especially if the disposal is older.
  • Overheating: Continuous use without breaks can cause the motor to overheat and hum. Allowing the unit to cool down before resetting it can help prevent this problem. Overheating can also be a sign of a more severe issue within the motor or electrical components, requiring professional assessment.

Prolonging the Life of Your Garbage Disposal

Here are some maintenance tips to keep your unit running smoothly:

  • Avoid Hard and Fibrous Items: Refrain from putting hard items like bones or fibrous vegetables down the disposal. These can cause jams and damage the blades.
  • Run Water While Using: Always run cold water while using the disposal. This helps wash food particles down the drain and prevents clogs. Make sure to let the water run for a few seconds after turning off the disposal to ensure all debris is flushed through the pipes.
  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your disposal regularly by grinding up ice cubes and lemon peels. This helps remove buildup and keeps the unit smelling fresh.
  • Use It Frequently: Regular use prevents rust and corrosion, ensuring that all parts stay in good working condition. If the disposal sits unused for long periods, components can seize up or deteriorate. Running the disposal occasionally, even without food waste, can help maintain its functionality.

Do You Need to Invest in a Garbage Disposal Repair Service?

Are you dealign with garbage disposal problems? Reach out to Mr. Rooter Plumbing. Our team of dependable plumbers is ready to handle your plumbing repair service. With years of experience and a commitment to customer satisfaction, we’re here to get your kitchen back to normal. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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