Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jammed Garbage Disposal

I had two calls this week about jammed garbage disposals. One customer wanted to try to fix it herself, the other wanted me to do it as soon as possible.

I read an article last week about drains picking the worst time to get clogged. The truth is that the drain rarely contributes to the problem, it’s usually our fault. The story was somewhat humorous and recounted the worst times for the bad behavior; dinner parties, baby showers, holiday celebrations, etc. I don’t think there ever a good time. Click here to see the article.

What you do to get a disposal running again usually depends on why it is jammed. Sometimes it is just a little too much fiber at one time. Other times I have pulled glass, screws, coins and other debris out of them; this material can be a little harder to deal with. I have some long-neck needle nose pliers that help to grab the offending object. I also use a long crow bar to spin the disposal once the material is gone. If you don’t hear a sound when you flip the switch you may need to press the red reset button on the bottom of the disposal. If it is still jammed you will hear a hum. If so, it’s time to spin it again and to look in and see if there is still something inside. Make sure the switch is off before you try any of these things.

For the customer who wanted to try fixing it herself, I recommended that she take a wooden broomstick and try spinning the disposal. She called back awhile later to report that she was able to get it running. I was happy for her, the problem was resolved.

Another problem that can happen with a disposal is when the pipe under the sink gets clogged because either too much stuff was sent through at one time or the wrong kind of stuff was ground up. See the above mentioned article for some tips on that.

One last thing that happens with a disposal is it just wears out. Sometimes the motor dies and other times it rusts through and starts leaking. Once that happens, it’s time to replace it.

I can help you with your disposal problems and it is usually less expensive than you would expect. I’m also glad to talk you through it if you want to try to fix it yourself. My goal is to resolve your problem in the least expensive way.


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