My Garbage Disposal is Broken -- Any Advice?

I’m the original owner of my house, which is now about 15 years old. The garbage disposal has been run only about ten or 15 seconds a week during that time, and never for anything hard (I just run it for five seconds or so every few days when the sink starts draining slowly enough to fill up the disposal with water, and it slurps down the water and the sink runs fast again). No bones, really not much of anything, probably rinsing out my oatmeal bowl is the biggest contributor to slow draining. (Sorry ladies, he’s attached).

Anyway, today when I flipped the switch, I heard it humming, but it didn’t seem to move at all. After the water drains out of it, and I look down in it with a flashlight, it looks completely empty. Again, I can’t see anything move when I turn on the switch, but I can hear it hum, so it’s getting power.

I can’t find a manual for it, I’m not sure if I ever had one, and the brand name is not visible on the outside. If it’s important, I can try to crawl under the sink and see if there’s a brand or model number on the back, but I thought I’d try for some generic answers first.

There’s a little tool taped to it, an elongated s-shaped hex wrench.

So, my stupid questions —

– What’s the wrench for? Should I put a bucket under the disposal and take off the bottom, or am I supposed to stick it down the drain and detach something from the inside?

– Could I have gummed it up by not using it enough? I know some people who run ice or coffee grounds or whatever through theirs, but I figured if it wasn’t broke, don’t fix it. But now it’s broke, and I can’t run anything through it till I fix it.

Any recommendations or advice welcome. I’m not Mr. Handyman, but I’m not a total klutz, so if it’s reasonably do-it-yourself, I’m up for it.

Thanks for any responses.

you put the wrench into a recess in the middle of the bottom outside and turn it. it rotates the blades to attempt to get it unstuck. after you can turn it with thr wrench then remove the wrench and turn on with water.

give it occasional exercise.

Thanks for the response.

So you’re saying the thing I turn is directly attached to the blades, and I won’t be screwing it in or out by turning it?

Correct. Ot should be turned backwards. Tryone way then the other. for safety unplug it while the wrench is connected to the disposal.

OK, that’s it—turn in your man card at the front desk on your way out. OK, seriously—right—you stick it in the hole in the bottom of the garbage disposal and turn it to unstick the blades. 99% of the time this works.

Hoo hah, that fixed it! Thanks guys.

98 times to go!
(out of a hundred)

excavating (for a mind)

What’s with all this hair suddenly sprouting on my chest?

Careful with that now…if it falls out you’ll have to ask us how to fix a slow shower drain.
Better keep it up. Drink some bourbon, go change your oil and pour some concrete.

Yeah… you puss. Just shove your hand down there and feel around. When you think it is clear, flip the switch. Curl your knuckles for safety.

I would have asked about a reset switch. Of course, being a renter has the virtue that I can call maintenance and some nice guy who knows what he’s doing comes and fixes the problem :slight_smile: (assuming my husband hasn’t). I’m very non-mechanical.

Just as an FYI, when your dis-pos-all dies for good, do not be afraid to tack the job yourself. One of the simplest kitchen DIY projects of all time. I never did one before, and it took me less than one half hour.

Just be sure to turn the power off before beginning. :smiley:

Stick a broom handle in the disposal and with a manly man grip make it rotate (clockwise) like it normally would. Then turn the power back on… it should be clear.

If none of the above works for you (and it didn’t for me when mine got stuck) you’re gonna have to disconnect the thing entirely from your plumbing, take it outside, turn it upside down, and run water through the output pipe with a garden hose while you manually turn it with an Allen wrench. Least that’s what it took for me to dislodge the bone chip that was causing all the problems.