How to repair a garbage disposal

Garbage Disposals - Plumbing Repair in PhiladelphiaOccasionally at iFixdit, LLC -Plumbing and Drains we get a phone call for a garbage disposal repair from a Philadelphia resident; once we determine the problem and repair the garbage disposal quickly: the response is “What? That was all? I could’ve done that myself!” It is true that there are many things that the average homeowner can do to troubleshoot and repair a garbage disposal. This article will cover an understanding of garbage disposal function, troubleshooting and do-it-yourself repair that anyone could do instead of contacting a master certified plumber. There are some repairs that will require the services of iFixdit, LLC -Plumbing and Drains; we will cover a few of those as well.

How does a garbage disposal work?

A garbage disposal is a machine that essentially is an electric motor that will incinerate or liquefy food through the process of friction/agitation. As the electric motor spins, centrifugal force will push the food material against an aggregated ring (called a shredder) on top of an impeller plate. Mounted to the impeller plate are two lugs that assist in moving the larger food material against the shredder ring. Mixed with water, this allows the final product to be minced into small particles that will escape through the holes of the impeller plate out and through the plumbing system of your Philadelphia home. As complicated as that may sound, it happens very quickly; this violent process is contained within the hopper by a rubber flange that keeps the water and particles from flying back up through the sink.

NOTE: Some garbage disposals will not function without the appropriate stopper plug being placed into the opening as a safety precaution.

If you’re garbage disposals stops working in your Philadelphia home there are several lines of diagnosis to follow that we will outline in this article:

Steps to follow if my garbage disposal is not working:

Garbage Disposal Reset - Plumbing Repair in PhiladelphiaCondition 1: No Power

Problem: When I flip the power switch, mounted on the wall a few feet from the sink, nothing happens.

Do-it-yourself diagnosis and repair: First, check the reset switch at the bottom of the garbage disposal unit. Most modern garbage disposals, less than 10 years old, have a safety switch that will trip if the unit becomes overloaded, overheated or experiences an internal short. If you see that it is tripped, reset it and try again.

Second, look to see if the power breaker has tripped. (Many kitchens in Philadelphia do not have a separate breaker for the garbage disposal, so if that breaker is tripped, then other outlets in your kitchen probably will not work as well.)

If either of these conditions are present, hitting the reset button or resetting the breaker should correct the problem; however, if this becomes repetitious then there might be a problem with the electric motor of the garbage disposal. An internal problem might be causing the garbage disposal to overheat prematurely; setting these safety defaults in motion. If this occurs or neither of these resets worked; you should contact iFixdit, LLC -Plumbing and Drains for further diagnosis and repair.

Call I*Fixdit, LLC Today – (267) 979-4517

Condition 2: Garbage disposal motor is not turning

Problem: When I turn on the garbage disposal there is a deadening humming noise but it does not appear to be spinning inside.

Do-it-yourself diagnosis and repair: The most likely cause for this is something jamming the impeller. The next steps should be followed very cautiously!

Turn off the power to the garbage disposal. This is very important as one of the steps is for you to feel inside the hopper, if you feel that someone may accidentally turn on the garbage disposal while your hand is inside you should trip the breaker before you begin.

Garbage Disposal Wrench - Plumbing Service in PhiladelphiaUse the supplied Allen wrench that came with your garbage disposal. Insert the Allen wrench in the bottom-center of the unit and turn it back and forth until you feel the motor it break free and turn freely. If you do not have an Allen wrench you can purchase one from a home improvement store for around $6.00.

If using an Allen wrench does not work, reach your hand into the hopper to see if you feel something that might be jamming the impeller such as a chicken bone or even an unintended item such as a fork. Attempt to remove the item.

If neither of these two processes free up the motor, contact iFixdit, LLC  -Plumbing and Drains for further diagnosis and repair. Many articles and videos online will show you how to use blunt force inside the hopper to break the motor free, we do not recommend this for the average do-it-yourselfer. Because the items inside of your garbage disposal of your Philadelphia home are made from thin plate steel and aluminum, additional damage can easily occur that would force the replacement of your garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal repair - Plumbing Service in PhiladelphiaWhat causes a garbage disposal to fail?

  • Age and use are the most common reasons why a garbage disposal may fail but there are some other common things that we see in the Philadelphia area as well.

  • Placing fibrous materials consistently into your garbage disposal can jam the unit over a period of time. Foods such as celery are essentially a group of fibrous strings that are difficult for any garbage disposal to handle.

  • Lack of cleaning. At least once every three months you should clean and sterilize your garbage disposal. Garbage disposal cleaning pellets can be purchased at a number of retailers including Walmart.

  • Misuse. You would be amazed how many service calls that iFixdit, LLC -Plumbing and Drains sees in the Philadelphia area for garbage disposals that have been damaged due to misuse. A garbage disposal is designed to mince food and small particles; it is not designed to mince bones, fruit and vegetable peels, metal, wood, fiberboard, plastic, etc..

Call I*Fixdit, LLC Today – (267) 979-4517

Trust your Local Experts

In the Philadelphia area, trust iFixdit, LLC -Plumbing and Drains as your local expert for all of your plumbing needs. For years our reputation has been developed due to our high level of customer service combined with extraordinary plumbing experience. We back that up by making sure that our plumbing service company here in Philadelphia has all the proper licenses and insuranc necessary to protect your investment as well as our reputation. When you contact iFixdit, LLC you will get a licensed plumber on every single repair visit, we do not farm out our repairs to trainees; but rather take steps to make sure that your plumbing needs are taken care of by qualified, licensed professionals.

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