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Troubleshooting Your Garbage Disposal

Kitchen sink

Your garbage disposal is designed to provide protection from unwanted clogs and backups to your plumbing system, but they aren’t necessarily meant to grind and process all types of food or even excessive amounts of food. Depending on use, they also face significant wear and tear over time, which can lead to electrical- or plumbing-related breakdowns in the system. Below are five common issues homeowners face with their garbage disposals, along with possible solutions, causes, or preventive measures.

Jammed Flywheel

If your disposal isn’t grinding but hums when you turn it on, there’s probably something preventing the blades from turning. Never reach into the disposal with your fingers or hand, even if the disposal is turned off. You can turn off the disposal’s switch and circuit and try these steps to unjam the disposal:

  • Use the handle of a wooden broom or spoon to dislodge whatever object is causing the jam.
  • Turn an offset wrench (usually provided with disposal) counterclockwise in the hole at the bottom of the unit until the flywheel turns freely.
  • Use a flashlight and pliers to remove the foreign object.
  • Press the red reset button on the bottom of the unit.

If these solutions don’t fix the issue, call the professionals at All American Home Services at 813-486-4038.

To prevent garbage disposal issues, do not put the following into your disposal:

  • Fruit pits or peels
  • Corn cobs
  • Bones
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grinds
  • Grease, fats, or oils


If your garbage disposal is leaking under the sink or into the dishwasher, something is failing somewhere. It could be a simple problem, like a seal failure or loose fittings, or it could be more involved, like an issue with the sink flange or piping. For any disposal leaks, it’s best to contact a licensed and professional plumber like those at All American Home Services.

Drains Slowly or Not at All

Your garbage disposal and its connected pipes can become clogged and cause backups. If this occurs, do not use chemical drain cleaners. They are ineffective and can cause damage to your disposal or pipes. Instead, trust an experienced plumber to remove the clog. The professionals at All American Home Services can address any drain clog or backup.

To prevent future clogging, do not put rice, potatoes, or grease into the disposal, as they can bloat and expand in your pipes.


If you don’t regularly flush your disposal with water when grinding, food particles will likely collect and give off odors. To keep your disposal clean, you can mix a little bit of baking soda with white vinegar and pour the mixture into the disposal while it’s off. If this doesn’t fix the odor, call a plumber as there might be a larger issue at work.

Won’t Turn On

If there’s only silence when you flip the switch for your garbage disposal, then it’s likely dead. First, check that the power cord is securely plugged in, the circuit breaker hasn’t been flipped, and that the reset button doesn’t need to be pressed. If none of these solve your issue, it could be more significant, and you should contact the trusted technicians at All American Home Services.

American Home Services Garbage Disposal Services

All American Home Services is a family-owned plumbing and HVAC company proudly serving Florida homeowners and businesses. We offer garbage disposal services during which our team will assess and address any issue. We offer exceptional products, workmanship, and customer service, and our highly trained technicians are background checked and drug tested.

For all your garbage disposal service needs as well as HVAC or plumbing services, turn to the trained technicians at American Home Services. Call us at 813-486-4038 or contact us online.



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