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Why Your Garbage Disposal Is Not Working


When a garbage disposal stops doing its job, it can be a major inconvenience. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we’re here to help with our reliable garbage disposal repair and plumbing repair service options. Whether you're dealing with a strange noise, a complete shutdown, or leaking water, there are several potential culprits. Read below to learn about the five most common reasons why your garbage disposal is refusing to work.

Electrical Issues

One of the most frequent causes of garbage disposal problems is electrical. If your disposal is not turning on at all, it's likely due to an electrical issue. Begin by checking if the unit is plugged in properly. Sometimes, the simple solutions are the most overlooked. You may also want to check your circuit breaker to ensure that the circuit powering the disposal hasn't been tripped.

Reset Required

Another common issue is the need to reset the garbage disposal. This is particularly common after the disposal has been overloaded with food waste or has run for an extended period without adequate water flow. To reset the disposal, start by turning it off and unplugging it. Find the reset button on your unit and press it firmly. Once the button has been pressed, plug the disposal back in and try running it again. If it starts up, you've likely solved the problem. However, if the reset button doesn’t stay in or the disposal doesn’t work, it may indicate a more serious issue requiring professional garbage disposal repair.

Jams and Clogs

When something gets stuck in the disposal, it prevents the blades from spinning, causing the unit to hum without grinding food waste. To address a jam, first, ensure the disposal is turned off and unplugged. Use a flashlight to look inside the disposal and see if there is any visible obstruction. Using a hex key, insert it into the hole at the bottom of the unit to manually turn the blades to dislodge the jam. If you see debris, use tongs or pliers to remove it. Never use your hands to reach inside the disposal.


Leaks are another common problem with garbage disposals and can occur in various places, including the sink flange, the dishwasher connection, and the drain pipe. If the leak is coming from the top of the disposal where it meets the sink, it may be due to a loose or worn-out sink flange. Tightening the mounting bolts or replacing the flange's plumber’s putty can often solve this issue. Leaks from the side or bottom of the disposal typically indicate a problem with the unit's internal seals and may require the disposal to be replaced entirely.

Motor Malfunctions

The motor is the heart of your garbage disposal, and if it fails, the entire unit will stop working. A bad motor can cause the disposal to hum without grinding or not make any noise at all. Motor issues are often more serious and typically indicate that the disposal is nearing the end of its lifespan. If you suspect a motor problem, it's best to consult a professional plumber for a garbage disposal replacement.

Do You Need a Professional Garbage Disposal Replacement or Repair?

If you find yourself repeatedly dealing with disposal issues or if the solutions above don’t resolve your problem, it may be time to call Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We specialize in diagnosing and fixing garbage disposal issues quickly and efficiently. Our team of technicians is equipped with the tools and knowledge to get your kitchen back in working order. Contact us today to schedule your next inspection or plumbing repair service in Lorain, OH.

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