There are few things as frustrating as a garbage disposal that is malfunctioning. Many things can go wrong with a garbage disposal, given that it is a mechanism that is used nearly every day. It is a good idea to learn what to look for when you start having problems with the garbage disposal, so you can learn what the problem is and how it can best be fixed. 

Common Issues

One of the common issues that homeowners run into is a garbage disposal that drains slowly. A slow-draining garbage disposal can be caused by a clogged line. It is often the result of grease, dish detergent residue, or food being dumped down the disposal. It is generally thought that chemical drain cleaners should not be used to unclog a slow-draining garbage disposal, because there is the risk that the disposal could spew some of the drain cleaner out once it’s turned on, causing significant risk to anyone nearby. It is better, if the drain is persistently slow-draining, to separate the disposal and the pipe and clear the pipe of any clogs that are found. If the pipe is clear, then it is likely that the line itself is clogged. If this is the case, calling a plumber may be necessary.


Another problem that can cause garbage disposals to stop functioning normally is when the individual components start to wear out or overheat. Each garbage disposal has a motor, and when this motor overheats, the garbage disposal does not work. Typically if the motor overheats, there will be no noise when you flip the garbage disposal switch. If this happens, it is important to shut off the electricity to the garbage disposal for safety. Then you can examine the motor. Most likely, all you will need to do is reset the motor by hitting the button labeled “Reset” on the bottom of the garbage disposal.

Loosen the Clog

Sometimes, when you flip the garbage disposal switch, you will hear a low humming noise. This humming noise means the flywheel of the disposal is stuck. When this occurs, it is usually due to placing inappropriate objects in the garbage disposal, or causing it to become too overloaded with debris. In order to remove the clog, it is necessary to terminate the power to the garbage disposal. It is often possible to simply remove any material that is jamming the flywheel by hand, but there may also be debris in the blades of the garbage disposal, which is a bit harder. If the blades of the garbage disposal are jammed with debris, then the best strategy is to try to rotate the blades with a wooden implement, such as a plunger handle, in order to gain access to the area and loosen up the clog.

Disposal Leaks

Another problem can be a garbage disposal that leaks. The first thing to do to fix this problem is to to run the water from the sink and turn the disposal on in order to discover where the leak is coming from. When you discover where the leak is, you will need to shut off the power to the disposal and examine it to find the location of the leak. The problem could be anything from loose bolts on the disposal to a deterioration of the plumber’s putty, which acts as a seal and prevents leaking. Depending on the cause of the leak, you will need to either tighten the bolts or replace the plumber’s putty. Once you do this, it is likely that the leak will be fixed. Test the garbage disposal by turning the power back on and running the faucet and garbage disposal at the same time to make sure the leak is fixed.

Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas, CA

If you’ve investigated all your options and have not been able to resolve your Garbage Disposal problems, Call Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas. Our company has 30 years of plumbing experience. We have the experience necessary to repair or replace your broken garbage disposal. Call:  (831) 757-5465