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Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Problems

When your Quincy garbage disposal starts acting up, it can leave you full of anxiety and worry. However, in reality, most disposal issues don’t require a professional plumber to repair. In fact, just learning a few key areas to check can go a long way towards keeping your home garbage disposal in tip-top shape.

Quincy Garbage Disposal Safety

In horror movies, the blades inside garbage disposals seem to be gleaming, razor-sharp sabers that can leave hands and arms severed with ease. However, contrary to common belief, they are more like dull grinders. However, if you don’t practice basic safety measures, it’s highly likely you can still receive painfully injuries from the device. The main precaution to take, even if you think the disposal has been unplugged or its circuit has been shut off – never put your hands or fingers down into the disposal .

If by any chance you do put your fingers in the opening and the disposal turns on accidentally, you will most likely end up with bruised fingers. This is an easily avoidable risk. Never reach into a garbage disposal. The most common problems with a Quincy garbage disposal are easy to diagnose and almost always easy to fix. Learning them can help you to save money on Quincy plumbing.

Quincy Garbage Disposal Will Not Turn On

If you flip the switch and you don’t hear a humming sound from the motor, this implies there is an electrical problem. It could be the issue is preventing the appliance from getting current. To identify and tackle the problem, it’s best to start with the most likely problem (and simplest solution) and then proceed to the more complicated solutions.

Quincy Garbage Disposal

This may seem obvious, but make sure the disposal is plugged in. Appliance customer service representatives report that failure to plug in the appliance is undoubtedly the most common cause of problems. However, if it is plugged in, try pressing the reset button located at the bottom of the unit. This button is red and it operates a built-in circuit breaker function. If the reset button has “tripped,” it will be popped slightly outward. By simply pushing it back in will reset the unit and it should function properly.

If pressing the reset button doesn’t turn the system back on, then proceed to check the main service panel to identify if the circuit breaker is no longer functioning. If this is the case, reset the circuit breaker’s lever. If, neither the reset button nor the circuit breaker is the cause of the problem, then it’s likely there’s a wiring problem with the switch controlling the disposal, or that the garbage disposal is faulty. Begin by locating the switch that powers the disposal unit. The switch should be located either on the wall or it may be under the sink.

It is important that at the main service panel you turn off the circuit breaker that powers the disposal circuit. Proceed to disassemble the switch controlling the disposal. Examine the wire connections. In some cases, the cause of the problem is a simple loose connection. The solution may be as simple as tightening the wire connections. However, if the wire connections are secure, the switch itself may be faulty. In this case, the solution is to replace the switch. If, after turning the power back on at the service panel and checking the disposal for operation, the disposal still does not turn on and the motor makes no noise, this means the garbage disposal is beyond repair and needs to be replaced.

Disposal Hums But Does Not Grind

If your garbage disposal doesn’t turn on but the motor makes a humming sound when you flip the switch, this may indicate that the inner flywheel is jammed. When the flywheel is jammed it causes the appliance’s reset button to pop or the circuit breaker to trip quite quickly. If this situation continues for a very long, it can burn out the disposer’s motor, unless the reset button or circuit breaker shuts the whole thing off.

The source of this problem is very frequently the result of food or a foreign object being lodged between the impellers and the shredder ring located inside the disposal. To fix this issue, go to the electrical service panel and turn off the power to the garbage disposal by shutting off the breaker controlling the circuit. Don’t forget to turn off the wall switch controlling the disposal as well.

Introduce the offset wrench that came with the disposal unit into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don’t have the wrench that came with the disposal, a large Allen (hex) wrench may also work. Insert the wrench and turn it clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. You’ll feel the flywheel turn freely once it dislodges,

Another option is to use a wooden spoon handle or similar wooden object to reach down into the disposal through the drain opening. Use this tool as a lever to free the stuck flywheel. You’ll feel the flywheel begin to turn freely if you are successful. It’s also helpful to use a flashlight to look down into the disposal. If you spot the object causing the jam simply use pliers to remove the foreign object.

The instant the flywheel is free, turn the power back on at the main service panel but don’t turn on the disposal yet. Return to the disposal, press the red reset button on the bottom, run some tap water into the disposal, and quickly flip the switch on and off for a short burst. Repeat this one more time quickly. This spins the flywheel causing any dislodged debris to be washed down the drain.

Disposal Is Leaking

Garbage disposal leaks can occur from the sink flange where the disposal connects to the bottom of the sink, the hose that leads from the dishwasher to the disposal, or from the hose that discharges waste from the disposal to the drain system.

Leak at the Sink Flange

A sink mounting flange is a likely place for leaking because of the constant use of your garbage disposal, over time, the mounting apparatus that holds the appliance to the sink drain opening can loosen. Fix this problem by shutting off the circuit breaker that controls the disposal at the electrical service panel. Located at the disposer mounting ring under the sink, turn the disposal (counter-clockwise from bottom to loosen and remove the unit from its mounting flange. Next, tighten down the three mounting bolts attaching the flange to the sink.

Quincy Garbage Disposal

If the bolts are tight, the leak is most likely caused by insufficient plumber’s putty. Loosen the bolts and push the sink flange slightly above the surface of the sink. Place new plumbers putty between the sink flange and the sink. Make sure to go completely around the flange. Draw the sink flange tight to the sink surface by re-tighten the mounting bolts from below. Wipe away any excess putty that oozes out. Reinstall the disposal and turn the power back on at the service panel. Check for leaks as you run the water in the sink.

If there is a Leak at the Dishwasher Connection

The rubber hose that funnels wastewater from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal is also a place where leaks can frequently occur. Replace the hose if the hose continues to leak. If there’s a Leak at the Discharge Drainpipe This plastic pipe carries direct wastewater from the disposal to the sink drain trap, and this can be the source of the leak.

Check the bolts holding the discharge pipe to the disposal to ensure they are tight. If this doesn’t solve the leakage, remove the bolts and the pipe and replace the gasket seal between the pipe and the disposal. Reinstall the bolts and tighten them down.

Disposal Drains Slowly

Slow draining can be caused by some kind of clogging. The fix involves disassembling the drain trap and discharge pipe and removing any food waste clogging the pipes. Start by removing the bolts holding the discharge pipe to the disposal. Disconnect and remove the drain trap and the discharge drainpipe. Check for clogs or obstructions and clean them out. If you don’t find anything, the clog most likely lies on the branch drain line going into the wall. Use a sink auger to clear the obstruction. Reassemble and reconnect the drain trap and the discharge tube to the side of the garbage disposal. Turn on the garbage disposal, and check to make sure the water runs freely.

Warning : Never use chemical drain cleaners down a garbage disposal. These chemicals rarely work and often damage the garbage disposal.

There are several good practices to do that will reduce the chances of clogs or slow-draining problems with your garbage disposal.


  • Grind up potato peelings. This will surely clog your drain.
  • Put eggshells or coffee grounds into your disposal. They create very tiny bits of granular waste that will quickly create a clog.


  • Maintain your disposal by regularly grinding up lemon peels and ice cubes.
  • Avoid odors by treating your disposal by mixing baking soda with a half cup of vinegar. Pour the mixture into the disposal with the unit turned off. Afterward, rinse it down the drain with running water.

Trust1 Services is ready to help you with all of your Quincy garbage Disposal needs. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.

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