Garbage disposals are a great way to get rid of small amounts of food waste that might otherwise stink up the kitchen as it rots in the trash. But when they start to malfunction, they can be a headache to repair.
Before calling a plumber, here are a few simple garbage disposal troubleshooting tips that might solve the problem:
Removing a jam or clog
Most garbage disposal units are designed to break down small food debris that might wash off plates. But every now and then, something larger such as a chicken bone or a strip of maple candy-coated bacon might get lodged in there. Often, this is the reason the disposal might be making that effete humming sound.
Regardless of whether or not a jam is the cause, the first step is to flip the reset switch at the bottom of the disposal unit under the sink. Sometimes, this is enough to get the disposal whirring again, according to HomeTips. If this doesn't do the trick, you may have to get more hands-on. Start by turning off the fuse or breaker swithc powering the garbage disposal – this is an essential safety measure. Then shine a flashlight into the drain to see if there is a non-food item such as a ring or a fork in there. Carefully extract the object with pliers or another grasping apparatus. Avoid putting your hand inside the garbage disposal unit. It's simply not worth the risk.
Finally, to attempt to remove a jam, This Old House advises to first locate a keyhole at the bottom of the garbage disposal. Insert a hex wrench and wiggle it back and forth. Once you've done this a few times, turn the power back on, and see if the problem is fixed. Watch the very helpful Roto-Rooter video, which shows you how to un-jam a garbage disposal like a plumber.
When is it time to call a plumber?
Maybe you tried all of these basic troubleshooting steps to no avail. Alternatively, maybe your garbage disposal never stopped working, and your problem was a water backup caused by a clog you can't seem to plunge away. Either way, you may reach a point where you've done everything you can. When this happens, you know it's time to get help from a plumber.
Don't hesitate to call in Canada's finest plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter.