I've lived in my house for about 3 years now, and my garbage disposal
in my kitchen sink has given me no problems. I tried to work it
yesterday via the switch on the wall, and nothing happened. I'm not
sure if I need to get a repair man in to fix or replace it, or do they
just need to be cleaned out from time to time? How do I clean one of
these things out if this is the case?
With a flashlight and mirror, look at the bottom of the unit for a red
"reset" button. There should be an "Allen" fitting in the center of the
bottom of the unit as well. If the unit gets jammed, you insert an Allen
wrench into this hole and turn it until the unit spins freely. Other than
those possibilities, you'd need to check power to the unit and through the
samadams email@example.com asked in message
First, unplug the unit from it's power source and remove any
debris that might be freezing it up. Anything with fiber (celery,
artichokes, etc.) or a rind (lemons, oranges, grapefruit) can
easily lock a unit up. Plug the unit back in. Run some water and
flip the switch.
I'm guessing that there are no instructions available for you to
check the quick reference and parts' diagram (the picture that
lists every part and shows the disposal pulled apart).
If that's the case, look for a red button, possibly recessed and
under the disposal unit). Press that button, run some water, and
flip the switch again.
If nothing happens, or you hear the disposal straining to move,
shut the switch off and look for another hole that will fit an
allen wrench. My Bonecrusher came with such a tool so I've
attached it to the disposal for convenience. If you don't have
that luxury, of an allen wrench already made for this purpose,
borrow a set so you can find out the correct size. Insert the
allen wrench into the hole underneath the disposal and crank it
clockwise until it turns freely. (Whenever my FIL has had to do
this, he'll also crank it counterclockwise but I don't like doing
that.) Run some water and flip the switch.
Hopefully this will get the unit moving again. If there is no
noise during any time you flip the switch, you might have a dead
unit in which case you'll have to replace it.
To clean it, and sharpen the "knives" inside the unit, throw some
ice down the sink with running water. The swirling ice is like
Brillo to the throat area and resharpens the grinders. You can do
that every 3-6 months and that area of the sink will suddenly be
very clean-smelling. A hot vinegar bath will also help remove the
gamy smell (I do this every 6 months; daylight savings time).
Some are hard wired. If so, just don't stick your hand in while the
switch could be on, or turn off the circuit breaker.
You coudl go to any friendly store, and borrow a set of instructions
and go xerox them, or just buy a new one, and xerox the instructions
and return everything, and I think InSinkErator has them online.
But instructions aren't really necessary given the advice here.
Interesting; why would someone do this?
None, including the six apartments I lived in, I've ever seen were
hardwired; every last one was a plug-in to an outlet under the
sink. I asked my FIL about this, too, and he said he never saw
them as the maintainance guy for three complexes. <shrug>
Two handyman shows I used to watch, the handyman advice column I
read, and my FIL all provided similar information so I'll answer
"Yes" in answer to your facetiously posed idea.
To save money? Maybe it's quicker, and needs no parts.
It's not bad. I open the chamber in the bottom, pull out the wires
and removed the wire nuts.
Since I'm going to replace the whole thing anyhow, I would have to do
I'm not sure exactly what the ice does, but I've seen some run better after
such a treatment. My guess is that there is some sort of cleaning action by
hardening gunk in there as there is no blade to sharpen. I knew a guy that
swore the best thing you could do is drop a beer bottle in there once a
1. Push the teeny red overload reset button on the bottom of the disposal
(it's there, look for it).
2. If the disposal just hums for a few seconds:
a. Push the teeny red button again,
b. Use an allen wrench in the hole at the bottom to turn the disposal's
3. If no allen wrench hole, use a broom handle to turn the innards of the
disposal until the jam clears.
4. If the jam is caused by something that the disposal won't handle (say, a
spoon or femur), remove the obstruction.
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