How To Troubleshoot A Garbage Disposal That Won't Turn On

Posted on: 20 January 2015

Do you have a garbage disposal that won't work? Whenever you flip the switch, does the disposal just stay silent? That can certainly be frustrating. However, you don't necessarily need to call a plumber right away. While most plumbers do provide garbage disposal service, it's very possible that the issue may be easy enough for you to fix on your own. With a little investigating, you can determine whether the problem is relatively straightforward. If so, then there's likely no need to call a plumber. Try these troubleshooting steps below to get your disposal working again:

Check the power. This may seem like an obvious first step, but very often the simplest steps are the most effective. Make sure the disposal is plugged in. Also, check out the breaker box and make sure the breaker for the disposal isn't tripped. Just to be sure, try flipping the breaker to the off position and then back to on. Try the disposal again. If the switch to the disposal is on a different breaker than the outlet, make sure you test both of them.

Check the reset button. Your disposal has a reset button on the bottom of it. The reset mechanism helps control the power being used by the disposal. If too much power is running through the disposal and the disposal is in danger of burning out, the mechanism will trip, shutting the disposal off. You can get it working again by pushing the reset button. The button is usually red and it should be popped out for the disposal to work. Push the button in and then let it pop back out before trying the disposal again.

Replace the switch. If the first two steps don't work, the problem may not be in your disposal at all, but rather in your switch that controls the disposal. Fortunately, it's very easy to replace a switch. First, turn off the power to the switch at the breaker box. Then unscrew the switch from the wall and from the power box. Disconnect the black wires and the ground wire. Then connect the black wires to the brass terminals on the back of the new switch and the ground wire to the green terminal. Screw the switch back in and turn on the power. If the disposal starts working, then you've solved the problem.

If none of these steps work, it's possible that you may need a new disposal. Contact a plumber in your area like Stephens Plumbing And Heating Inc to inspect the disposal. They can either fix your existing disposal or recommend a new one for installation.