How To: Unjam A Garbage Disposal
You can unjam a garbage disposal yourself, without a master plumbing certification. Jammed garbage disposals can be quite a nuisance especially when they clog up your kitchen sink. The good news is that it is often a simple task to unjam the disposal.
As you can see from the image, a disposal will jam, or stop turning, when a foreign object such as a bone becomes caught up in the impeller blades.
You know your disposal is jammed if it makes a humming sound when the switch is turned on and it is not turning inside. If there is no sound when the switch is turned on, the unit probably became too hot and turned itself off.
Pressing the reset button on the bottom side of the disposal will restore power to the unit and it can be turned on again to see if it is still jammed.
Note: never put your hand inside a garbage disposal and *always* turn the power off at the electrical panel while performing any repair work.
You can, however, insert a broom handle or similar object, and try to move the blades back and forth. Better yet, you can use a 1/4″ or 5/16″ Allen wrench. Simply insert the wrench from below and work it back and forth until it frees up. If it doesn’t free up, the disposal is bad and will need to be replaced.
For a short garbage disposal video provided by Ace Hardware, click here.
Remember: grease, oil, fat, fruit pits, seeds, bones, pasta, egg shells and stringy vegetables like celery can really do a number on your garbage disposal. Many of these types of items can be composted. Give composting a try! To get started, visit the Oregon Metro page to learn more.
For questions or to schedule a plumber to come out, please call…503-620-9111 for the West Side, including Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro, or call 503-253-0030 for East Side locations, including Gresham, Troutdale, West Linn and Clackamas.