Jammed Garbage Disposal – Garbage Disposal Not Working

Garbage Disposal Not Working? It is probably Jammed!

Picture of a jammed garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal not working? It might be jammed. Luckily, most jammed garbage disposals are easily freed.

If your garbage disposal is suddenly not working, then it probably just has a jam in the disposal. If this is the case then you are in luck, because a jam is usually very quick and easy to fix. If you know that there is no way that there could be a jam and want to just try resetting the disposal then proceed to step five, but I do not recommend that unless you are certain.

There are seven steps that we are going to go through in order to free that jammed garbage disposal:

  • Step one is going to be making sure that the power if off and unplugged to your jammed garbage disposal.
  • Step two is going to be clearing any loose debris inside the garbage disposal.
  • In step three we are going to use our garbage disposal wrench to unjam the disposal.
  • The forth step is going to be checking the disposal again for loose material.
  • In step five we are going to be resetting the garbage disposal.
  • In the sixth step we will be plugging the garbage disposal back in or flipping the breaker back to the on position.
  • Step seven will be to test the garbage disposal to make sure that it is once again working properly.

Enough talk about how easy it is to clear that jammed garbage disposal, let’s get to work!

One of the tools that you might need for this job is a garbage disposal wrench.

Image of a garbage disposal wrench

Special wrench used to fix a jammed garbage disposal.

This is what a garbage disposal wrench looks like.They usually come with a garbage disposal, but if you didn’t purchase the disposal or someone else installed it for you, then you might not know where this tool is located.

If this is the case the you can always purchase one from Ace Hardware.

You can also just use a normal Allen wrench to clear a jammed garbage disposal which you can find in most tool sets or at Ace Hardware, either online or at the local store.

Garbage Disposal Not Working – Step 1: Make sure the power is off:


Garbage disposal power plug in wall.

Unplug your jammed garbage disposal.

In this picture you can see that the power for this jammed garbage disposal is simply plugged into the wall.Some others will be wired directly into the wall. If this is the case then you need to turn off the breaker.

Make sure that you have the breaker off and that there is no power getting to the disposal before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Time to clear any loose debris that might be in the jammed disposal:


Top view of garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal top view.

By now you should have made sure that the power is off to the garbage disposal.The breaker should be off and the jammed garbage disposal should be unplugged.

I can not stress this part enough. You never want to stick your hand down into a garbage disposal that has power – think about it for a minute – because it chops up bones and all.

You can use a pair of needle nose pliers to reach down into the jammed garbage disposal, or if you are sure that the power is off you can reach down into the disposal and grab whatever loose debris is in the disposal.

Once you have removed all the loose debris you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Pull out the previously mentioned garbage disposal wrench. We are going to dislodge whatever is caught in the disposal:


Garbage disposal wrench goes here.

This is where you will insert the garbage disposal wrench.

This picture was taken from directly below the garbage disposal looking up.

In this picture I have circled the hole that the garbage disposal wrench goes in to clear the jammed garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal not working? Simply place the wrench in this location and then turn the wrench. You can try to turn it in both directions.

It might be hard to get it to move, and if it is too difficult then the disposal might be shot, but most of the time there is just something jammed in there and it can be broken loose. After you have broken it loose we can proceed to the next step.

Step 4: In this step we will again be checking the disposal for debris from the top:


Picture looking down into the garbage disposal.

Looking into the garbage disposal.

Once again look down in the disposal and follow the easy steps to remove any debris. A pair of needle nose pliers can be used to remove whatever you broke loose. After you find and remove what was causing the garbage disposal jam you can proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Now it is time to reset the once jammed garbage disposal:

Garbage disposal not working red reset button.

Reset button on a garbage disposal. Usually red.

On the bottom of the garbage disposal you will see a little red button. Just about all disposals have this button. It is there for when there is a power surge or jam in the disposal. In simple, it’s the reset button. It acts sort of like a small breaker. It is made to pop before the disposal motor burns up or causes a fire.

If you simply locate this button and push it in you should feel it click. That click it the reset point. There is not much to pushing the button.

Once you have pushed the button you can proceed to the next step.

Step 6: Now it is time to plug the disposal back into the wall, or to flip the breaker back on:

Garbage disposal power plug in wall.

Plug your no longer jammed disposal back in.

Remember to make sure that there are no tools or hands left inside the garbage disposal before proceeding to this step.Then simply plug it back in or flip the breaker back on.

Step 7: Time to turn the garbage disposal back on:

Garbage disposal not working? It is now. Congratulations.

Congratulations on freeing up your jammed garbage disposal.

Turn the water on and test your disposal. If you hear a clanging noise then you might just have something left inside the disposal and will need to cut the power again and clear the debris.if you don’t hear anything then I want to Congratulate you! You have just saved yourself the expense of a plumber!

Please leave questions and comments below. I love hearing from readers.

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