Lynch Plumbing

Lynch Plumbing

8 Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Is Not Working


When your garbage disposal stops working, you can trust our local plumbers to find the underlying problem and resolve it. Our licensed technicians have the training and advanced equipment to address any reason the system isn’t operating and provide prompt plumbing repair services in the Los Angeles, Ventura County, and San Fernando Valley areas.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working?

A garbage disposal is a convenient kitchen appliance, but it can stop working properly for various reasons. This can be a major inconvenience, disrupting your daily kitchen activities. Here are eight common problems that can occur with garbage disposals.

1. A Blockage Has Jammed the Gears

Rotating gears and an impeller help break up foods that you put into the garbage disposal. Eggshells, fibrous items like banana peels, and stringy vegetables like asparagus and celery can jam the impeller. It’s therefore best to avoid putting these in the disposal. The electric motor generates only so much force. When there’s a jam it can’t overcome, the gears will stop spinning. Turn the unit off, or else the motor can overheat and burn out.

2. You Threw Down More Than It Can Chew

Breaking down food is a garbage disposal’s purpose, but it can be easily overloaded. Only grind a little at once. Avoid washing down rice, noodles, and other foods that expand. If you need to get rid of anything that’s not food, toss it in the garbage rather than down the disposal.

3. Something Has Clogged the Drain

Starchy, fatty, or grainy foods can build up behind the disposal and cause a drain clog. This can prevent the unit from working properly. It may not dispose of any items, while the sink may back up or drain slowly or not at all. Running the disposal could make things worse, so turn it off and call our emergency plumbers to fix the drain.

4. The Garbage Disposal Motor Has Failed

The motor will wear out over time. If the disposal doesn’t respond when you turn on the switch, it may be time for a new motor. Brushed motors wear out even faster. These high-torque components are more frequently being replaced by high-torque brushless motors, which are a little more resistant to wear, by manufacturers of modern garbage disposals.

5. It Still Functions, But It Smells Terrible

Although you think they’ve been ground up and drained away, food scraps are sometimes left in the disposal (therefore, odors often accompany clogs). Try freezing a few slices of lemon and putting them in the disposal; turn it on while running the hot water. The source of the smell may be deeper in the drain or pipe if the smell doesn’t alleviate, in which case you should call a plumber.

6. The Unit Is Leaking

Any leak should be addressed ASAP. It can lead to water damage and mold if not fixed, or at the very least increase your water bill. A plumber can often fix a garbage disposal leak. When fixing the source of the trouble costs more time, effort, and money than installing a new one, your plumber will recommend replacing the unit.

7. The Disposal Won’t Turn On

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on and you don’t hear any humming, it may be an electrical issue. If the disposal is plugged in and you know that the outlet is fine, the disposal’s internal wiring might be faulty, requiring a professional inspection. If it is found to be faulty, you’ll need to have a replacement garbage disposal installed.

8. The Blades Are Dull

Over time, the blades in your garbage disposal can become dull and lose their effectiveness at chopping up food waste. When this happens, the disposal may not work as efficiently, leading to clogs and jams. Regular maintenance and sometimes blade replacement by a professional can keep your disposal functioning properly.

Troubleshooting Tips

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink When your garbage disposal is not working, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take before contacting a plumber. These simple checks can help identify and possibly resolve common issues, potentially saving you a call.
  1. Check the Power If it won’t turn on at all, make sure the unit is plugged in and the power switch is turned on. If it still doesn’t work, try pressing the reset button usually located at the bottom of the disposal.
  2. Check the Circuit Breaker If it still won’t turn on after pressing reset on the disposal, it could be a tripped circuit breaker. Check your home’s electrical panel to ensure the breaker for the garbage disposal hasn’t been tripped. Reset it if necessary and see if the disposal works.
  3. Inspect for Visible Blockages Look inside the disposal with a flashlight. If you see any visible obstructions, carefully remove them with pliers or tongs. Never use your hands to remove blockages.
  4. Clear the Jam If there is a jam that can’t be pulled out, use a hex key to manually turn the motor from underneath the unit. Often, this movement can help to dislodge the jam.
  5. Use a Plunger If the sink is clogged, use a plunger to try and clear the blockage. Make sure to cover the sink’s overflow hole with a wet cloth to ensure effective plunging.
  6. Vinegar and Baking Soda Pour half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar into the disposal. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then flush with hot water to help break down any clogs.
If these troubleshooting tips don’t resolve the issue, or if there’s another problem, it’s time to call Lynch Plumbing for professional help. Our experienced Los Angeles area technicians are ready to assist you with any garbage disposal problems you may have, allowing you to get back to using your kitchen as usual.

Get Emergency Plumbing Service in Los Angeles, Ventura County, and the San Fernando Valley

Lynch Plumbing is a leading plumbing company in the Los Angeles area. Available 24/7 throughout Los Angeles, Ventura County, and the San Fernando Valley, we can quickly address the reason why your garbage disposal isn’t working. We’ll get it running again and perform drain cleaning if necessary, especially if food scraps, grease, and fats have made their way into the drain line. We are committed to providing prompt and reliable service to get your home plumbing back in order. If you need garbage disposal repair or other residential plumbing services, call (818) 773-9514 today.

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