What’s That Grinding Sound?
Is your garbage disposal making strange sounds or ceasing to work properly? More often than not, garbage disposal problems are fairly simple to fix and won’t require the services of a professional. Knowing what the different sounds mean can help you determine the cause and possible solutions for garbage disposal problems. It is also important to know the proper troubleshooting techniques because these can help you fix common problems easily and inexpensively.
First and foremost, never reach your hand into a garbage disposal when plugged in. This can cause significant injury. Though you are more likely to receive bruises than amputate your fingers, this is a completely unnecessary risk. If you don’t feel comfortable performing these troubleshooting techniques yourself, call a garbage disposal repair professional.
Common Causes of Garbage Disposal Problems
There are many simple things that can cause significant problems with your garbage disposal. The most common problem is caused by materials that cannot be ground up and end up becoming lodged between the plenum and the housing of the disposal.
The most notorious culprits of this are utensils, though other hard objects may slip down inside the unit. To determine if your issues are caused by an obstruction, direct the beam of a flashlight down through the drain opening and look around the edges between the plenum and the housing. Also, you can carefully feel inside the disposal for foreign objects, ensure that the disposal is first unplugged or power is otherwise severed.
Another common cause of garbage disposal problems occurs when the knuckles or other internal mechanisms become jammed. This can occur when grime or food particles build up on the blades or when food becomes lodged between them. This will prevent the knuckles from rotating at all. This usually occurs when the disposal isn’t run in a long time allowing debris to sit in the housing and eventually solidifies.
Refrain from putting any peelings down your drain, this is more so to protect your plumbing than your disposal. It is better to put anything stringy or sticky into the trash can than down the drain.
Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Problems
Knowing the different sounds your garbage disposal may make can help you determine what is causing the problem.
No Sound from The Disposal
If the disposal makes no sound, this means that the appliance isn’t turning on. This is most likely caused by an electrical issue. There are multiple steps to take that can help fix this problem. First, check to make sure that the disposal is plugged in. Though this may seem obvious, unplugged appliances are very commonly thought to be broken. If the appliance is plugged in and still isn’t turning on, you should press the reset button at the bottom of the unit. This red button will pop out when the system becomes overloaded, so it could likely be why your disposal has stopped working.
Check the Circuit Breaker
If it still doesn’t turn on after these steps, you should check your circuit breaker. Make sure that the circuit that provides power to your kitchen isn’t tripped. If your garbage disposal still isn’t turning on, there may be a problem with the wiring or the switch.
Check the Electrical Switch
If you have the proper skills, you can disassemble the switch to see if you can determine the cause. In many cases, problems with power are caused by loose wiring which may just need to be tightened. If the cause isn’t obvious, you may want to consider bringing in a professional.
Whenever you are working with electricity, you must check and re-check that you turn off the power to the item being serviced.
Disposal Mechanisms Don’t Grind
If your disposal hums but doesn’t grind, it means it is turning on, but the mechanisms aren’t functioning properly. This is likely caused by a jammed plenum or another mechanism. To fix this, you must first turn off the power to the disposal. Confirm that the circuit breaker is not providing power to the kitchen and turn off the wall switch.
An allen wrench should have come with the garbage disposal, but if you don’t have one, you can pick one up from a hardware store. From underneath, you can insert the offset wrench into the center turning hole. Once the wrench has been inserted, turn the wrench back and forth to dislodge the stuck mechanism, don’t muscle through the obstruction. Go back and forth to dislodge the foreign objects. Alternatively, you can insert a wooden spoon handle down through the top opening if your disposal doesn’t have access to manual rotate the mechanism.
If the Disposal Makes a Loud or Grinding Noise
If the disposal makes a grinding or loud noise, there is most likely an obstruction that is preventing the blades from rotating smoothly. This is usually caused by utensils or other food objects. Turn off the disposal immediately to prevent damage to the disposal.
The obstruction must be removed in order for the disposal to function properly. You can check down the opening using a flashlight. You will likely to be able to see what object is causing the obstruction in the garbage disposal. Remove any foreign debris or object with pliers or tongs. If this doesn’t work, you may be able to remove the clogs from underneath, using the same method described to fix a jammed unit.
The Disposal Makes a Loud or Squealing Sound
Turn it off immediately. There are many things that can cause this sound. The squealing can indicate a problem with the motor. These problems will most likely need to be addressed by a professional, so you should consider contacting an experienced appliance repair service.
When to Bring in a Professional
Before calling in a professional, you should try all of the troubleshooting techniques listed above. It can save you time and money if the problem can be solved by simply removing a fork that is stuck in the disposal. If there are no visible obstructions or jammed mechanisms, you may want to consider bringing in a professional.
Additionally, if there are obstructions or jammed mechanisms that you are unable to dislodge, you should consider obtaining the services of a professional appliance repair service.
An expert will be able to ensure that the problem is taken care of with as little inconvenience on your part as possible. You don’t spend much time thinking about your garbage disposal, but it can cause major problems when it ceases to work.
Garbage disposal repair professionals can get the job done quickly and thoroughly, ensuring that your garbage disposal is in the best condition possible. To learn more about obtaining appliance repair services, contact iFix today.