why is my waste disposal unit not working

Why Is My Waste Disposal Unit Not Working: Easy DIY Fixes

Last Updated on February 6, 2023

When it comes to home appliances, there is nothing more frustrating than having your waste disposal unit not working. Whether you’re trying to get rid of leftovers or just clean up the kitchen sink, a malfunctioning garbage disposer can make life difficult and messy. So what are some common causes behind these pesky malfunctions? And how do you fix them without calling in an expensive professional? In this blog post, we’ll explore the question: why is my waste disposal unit not working? We’ll also provide tips on troubleshooting and DIY fixes so that you can save time (and money!) when dealing with any future issues.

Table of Contents:

Common Causes of Waste Disposal Unit Malfunction

Waste disposal units are an essential part of any home, helping to keep the kitchen clean and hygienic. Unfortunately, these appliances can sometimes malfunction due to a variety of reasons. Here are some common causes of waste disposal unit malfunctions:

Clogged Pipes: Clogged pipes are one of the most common causes of waste disposal unit malfunctions. Grease, food scraps, and other debris can build up in the pipes over time, blocking them and preventing water from flowing through properly. If you notice that your sink is draining slowly or not at all, it’s likely due to clogged pipes caused by a buildup of debris in your waste disposal unit.

Jammed Blades: Another common cause of waste disposal unit malfunctions is jammed blades. The blades inside the appliance can become stuck if they come into contact with hard objects such as bones or shells which have been put down the drain accidentally. This will prevent them from spinning correctly and could lead to further damage if left unchecked for too long.

clogged pipes under the sink

Worn-out motors are another potential cause for waste disposal unit malfunctions; this usually occurs when the motor has been used frequently over a long period of time without being serviced or replaced regularly enough. A worn-out motor may struggle to spin effectively or even stop working altogether, which could result in blockages occurring more often than usual within your drainage system and causing further problems down the line if not addressed quickly.

It’s important to understand the common causes of waste disposal unit malfunction in order to troubleshoot and fix any problems. Let’s look at some tips for doing so.

Troubleshooting Tips

If your waste disposal unit is malfunctioning, it can be a hassle to figure out what’s wrong. Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot the issue:

Check for Blockages: The first thing you should do when your waste disposal isn’t working properly is check for blockages. If there’s something stuck in the blades or drain pipe, it could prevent the unit from functioning correctly. To remove any blockage, use a pair of pliers or tongs to carefully pull out whatever is blocking the system.

Reset Circuit Breaker: If you’ve checked for blockages and nothing appears to be wrong, try resetting the circuit breaker that powers your garbage disposal. This will help clear any built-up electricity that may have caused an overload and shut down your unit. To reset the circuit breaker, simply turn off all power at the main switch before turning it back on again after about 10 seconds.

Inspect Blades and Motor: After resetting the circuit breaker, inspect both blades and the motor of your garbage disposal for signs of damage or wear-and-tear that could be causing problems with its operation. Make sure all parts are securely fastened and free from rust or corrosion as this can also lead to malfunctions over time if left unchecked.

Listen For Unusual Noises: Listen closely for any unusual noises coming from inside your garbage disposal while running water through it – such as grinding sounds or rattling noises – which could indicate a problem with one of its components like bearings becoming worn down due to age or heavy usage patterns over time. In these cases, replacing certain parts may be necessary in order to get everything back up and running smoothly again without further issues occurring later on down the line.

Finally, test run your waste disposal without food waste by pouring hot water into it while running cold water simultaneously through another faucet nearby. This helps ensure that no clogs are present within its pipes which would otherwise cause major problems if left unresolved.

If you have tried the troubleshooting tips and your waste disposal unit is still not working, it may be time to try a DIY fix. Read on for more information about how to repair your unit yourself.

Key Takeaway: To troubleshoot a malfunctioning waste disposal unit, check for blockages, reset the circuit breaker, inspect blades and motor for damage or wear-and-tear, listen for unusual noises and test run without food waste.

DIY Fixes

The first step is to check the drain pipe for any blockages. Over time, food particles and other debris can build up and cause clogs that prevent water from draining properly. To clear out the drain pipe, use an old toothbrush or bottle brush to scrub away any buildup inside of it. You may also need to use a plunger or chemical cleaner if the clog is particularly stubborn.

Another common issue with waste disposal units is a motor failure. If your unit isn’t turning on at all, then it’s likely that either the motor has burned out or something else has gone wrong with its wiring system. Replacing the motor yourself can be tricky so it’s best left to professionals who have experience dealing with this type of repair job. However, if you’re feeling confident in your skills as a handyman then go ahead and give it a shot. Just make sure you turn off the power supply before attempting anything more than basic maintenance work on your appliance.

In these cases, it is wise to call in an expert since they will know exactly what needs replacing and how best to do so without causing further damage down the line or worse yet, voiding any existing warranties.

Key Takeaway: If your waste disposal unit isn’t working, try clearing out the drain pipe and check the motor before calling in a professional. (Unordered List) 1. Clear out the drain pipe 2. Check the motor 3. Call an expert if necessary

When to Call a Professional

a plumber fixing the kitchen sink pipes

When it comes to fixing a malfunctioning waste disposal unit, there are certain times when it is best to call in a professional plumber. If the problem involves any kind of electrical issue, then this should be left to an expert. This could include problems with wiring or power supply, as well as any issues related to the motor or control panel.

Another time when you may need help from a professional is if your waste disposal unit needs replacing entirely. Replacing a broken down unit can be tricky and requires knowledge of plumbing systems and how they work together. It’s important that all connections are secure and that no leaks occur during installation – something which only an experienced plumber will know how to do properly.

If you’re having trouble getting your waste disposal unit working again after trying some basic troubleshooting tips yourself, then it might be worth calling in an expert for advice on what else you can try before replacing the whole thing altogether. A qualified plumber will also be able to identify whether the problem lies within the appliance itself or somewhere else in your plumbing system – such as blocked pipes further down the line – so they can advise accordingly on how best to proceed with repairs or replacements where necessary.

Finally, if you’ve tried everything possible but still cannot get your waste disposal unit functioning correctly again then it’s probably time for a new one. An experienced plumber will have access to quality products at competitive prices so they’ll likely save you money compared with buying directly from retailers who may not offer such good deals on their own stock items. They’ll also make sure that everything is installed safely and securely so there won’t be any nasty surprises further down the line.

Key Takeaway: When a waste disposal unit is not working, it may be best to call in an experienced plumber. They can identify the source of the problem and offer advice on repairs or replacements, as well as install a new unit safely and securely at competitive prices.

FAQs in Relation to Why is My Waste Disposal Unit Not Working

How do you fix a garbage disposal that just stopped working?

If your garbage disposal has stopped working, there are a few steps you can take to try and fix it. First, check the power source to make sure it is plugged in correctly and that the switch is turned on. If this doesn’t work, then use an Allen wrench or hex key to turn the flywheel located at the bottom of the unit. This should reset any jammed parts inside. If this still doesn’t work, you may need to replace some internal components such as blades or bearings. Finally, if all else fails, contact a professional plumber for help with repairs or replacement of your garbage disposal unit.

How do you reset a disposal unit?

Resetting a disposal unit is an easy process. First, locate the reset button on the bottom of the unit and press it firmly for about 15 seconds. This will cause the motor to shut off and reset itself. If this does not work, unplug the unit from its power source and wait at least one minute before plugging it back in. Once plugged back in, press down on the reset button again for another 15 seconds until you hear a click or hum indicating that it has been successfully reset. With these simple steps, your disposal should be ready to use again.

Why is my disposal humming and not working?

If your garbage disposal is humming but not working, it likely means that something is stuck in the blades. This could be a small piece of food or other debris that has become lodged and is preventing the blades from spinning properly. To fix this issue, you should first turn off the power to the unit and then use an allen wrench to manually rotate the blades. If nothing comes out, you may need to remove any clogs with pliers or tongs before turning on the power again. Finally, run cold water for several seconds after using your disposal to flush out any remaining debris and ensure proper operation.


If you’ve followed the steps above and you’re still asking yourself, “why is my waste disposal unit not working?”, it may be time to call a professional. Don’t let a malfunctioning waste disposal unit ruin your day – there are plenty of options for getting it fixed quickly and easily. Remember, if you ever find yourself asking “why isn’t my waste disposal unit working?” then take some time to troubleshoot the issue before calling in an expert.

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