There can be quite a few reasons a food waste disposer won’t run. Some can mean that your garbage disposal needs replacement but others can be pretty easily resolved.


If the disposer won’t run, but you can hear a humming noise when you turn it on, this generally means something has jammed the blades. Turn the power off at the switch and make sure the motor is not humming. Remove the one or two rubber strainers found inside the sink disposal opening. They usually just pull out. Some are permanent so if it doesn’t come out easily don’t force it. Take a flashlight and look all the way around the disposer interior for a foreign object that may be jammed in a cutting blade.

Once the problem is identified, you’ll have to “MacGyver” a solution to remove the article. We’ve seen all manner of items jammed in disposers. Coins, utensils, scouring pads, and rocks from aquariums to name a few. You can use long screwdriver to free the article then use a long grabber tool to pick it out of the grinder bin. If you can’t really see the culprit, while the disposer power is off, try rotating the blades by hand using the following method: Almost all disposers have an allen shaft indent at the bottom center (inside the sink cabinet). Most disposers come with an allen wrench which is needed to manually rotate the shaft, but since most companies don’t provide a place to store the wrench it usually gets lost at or shortly after installation. You can buy them at any hardware store in sets for little cost. Insert the proper size wrench into the allen slot under the disposer and rote it back and forth. If you can’t get it to free up you will need a new disposer. If you do get it freed up, find the culprit in the blade area before you turn it back on.

If the disposer does not hum when you turn it on, find the (usually) red thermal breaker reset button located somewhere on the body of the disposer. With the power off, push the reset button. Then turn the power on. If the disposer runs, fine. You are all set. If it just hums, turn it off and go to the first paragraph to find the culprit. If it doesn’t hum or turn, then you need a new disposer.


If the simple fixes don’t work as stated above, it’s time for a new disposer. Also, if you see water dripping that you determine is dripping from the inside or from the electrical connection, the disposer most likely needs a change out. At Yes! Plumbing all of our disposers are custom built to our ridged specifications. Models are available with 6 year, 10 year, and Lifetime material AND labor guarantees.

Give us a call anytime (708) 847-7045 when you need us. Phones are answered by live agents 24/7.

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