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Top 5 Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Won't Run

Top 5 Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Run

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Have you had the experience of stuffing a lot of garbage down the drain and then flipping the switch to your garbage disposal, only to hear…nothing?

Not a pleasant experience. You have a drain full of garbage, and no way to clear it!

In truth, garbage disposals are pretty reliable appliances. They’re relatively simple, so there aren’t a great many things to go wrong with them. But that doesn’t mean, of course, that they are trouble free.

When they do fail, it’s commonly for one of the following 5 reasons:

#1: Jammed or Worn Shredding Plate

As its name implies, the shredding plate has the job of pulverizing the garbage that you dump into your disposal. Shredding plates endure lots of abuse, so it’s common for them to become worn over time. That may reduce the effectiveness of the disposal, but it usually won’t prevent it from running.

But sometimes the plate can become stuck. That will prevent the disposal from running. And worn plates are more prone to becoming stuck.

Some disposals come with a special wrench that you can insert (usually at the bottom center of the disposal housing) to try to free the jammed plate. You just insert the wrench and wiggle it back and forth a bit. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to call a repairman.

#2: Bad Motor

The motor that powers your disposal may have gone bad. If that has happened, a repairman will have to replace the motor – or more likely, just replace the disposal.

If you can hear a hum when the disposal is turned on, that’s a strong indication that the problem is may be a jammed shredder plate. If you hear nothing, that may be an indication of a failed motor.

#3: Bad Start Switch

The switch that controls the on/off operation of the disposal may have gone bad. This will require replacement of the switch.

#4: Bad Wall Switch

It’s possible that the problem has nothing to do with your disposal. That could be the case if a problem has developed with the wall switch you use to turn on the disposal. A problem with this switch may be preventing power from flowing to the disposal. Replacement of the switch may be necessary.

#5: Bad Safety Switch

The safety switch is designed to protect the motor from overheating when the shredding plate becomes jammed. If your disposal won’t run at all, then it’s possible that this switch has tripped and will need to be reset.

Look for a red button on the disposal housing. Pushing that button should reset the safety switch. If that doesn’t work, then either the safety switch will have to be replaced, or the problem is unrelated to this switch.

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