Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting

Before you submit a maintenance request via email or phone, you may want to try troubleshooting the garbage disposal yourself as 99% of all disposal problems are the direct result of grinders at the bottom being caused to jam from a foreign object such as food or a metal object.

If you are not sure why the disposal will not function, it is essential to immediately turn the disposal “off” and try to clear the jam in an effort to prevent more serious problems. As you are likely aware, the dishwasher drains directly into the garbage disposal chamber and if the chamber is full of food for other foreign objects, the dishwasher will not drain properly and could potentially flood the kitchen floor.

If the disposal will not operate, then follow these steps:

1. Check the very bottom of the disposal under the sink. There is a very small red reset button that will automatically pop out and shut the disposal off if the motor becomes jammed. After turning the wall switch for the disposal to the “off” position (very important), simply push this button up toward the bottom of the disposal.

2. Turn the wall switch in the “on” position.

a. If the disposal turns on and starts to grind the chamber contents, turn the water on until the chamber is clear of food. However, if you hear something rattling around inside the chamber, it will need to be removed immediately before operating the unit again as it could cause more damage to the unit. Quite often a metal object — bottle caps, silverware, coins or other small foreign objects — will fall down the sink and cause the unit to jam. This will need to be removed prior to running the disposal again.

b. If the disposal does not turn on but you hear a buzzing sound from the unit, immediately turn the wall switch in the “off”’ position. Use a small wrenchette and insert it into the very bottom of the disposal and turn left and right several times to free the jam. Remove the wrenchette and turn the wall switch to the “on” position again. If it runs, then follow the steps in 2(a).

If after troubleshooting as outlined above, the unit continues to malfunction, then please submit a maintenance request and do not use the disposal until we can properly repair the unit. Please keep in mind that if we do come out and find that the problem involved a tenant responsibility item, the Cost will be charged back to you.