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Here's Why Your Garbage Disposal Isn't Working

scrub brush in kitchen sink

From leftover holiday debris to daily cooking and meal prep for the new year, your garbage disposal probably goes through a lot of wear and tear recently. Whether or not you are diligent about what you put down, a breakdown can still occur. When it does, here are some of the common reasons that could be to blame:

If It Won’t Turn On

If you flipped the switch and no humming or motor noise follow, the problem is most likely electrical. The first step is to double-check that it is still plugged in. If so, you’ll then want to hit the reset button (located on the bottom of your unit). If that’s still not doing the trick, you should then check the circuit breaker it lives on to see if it has tripped.

If none of these are the issue, their problem could be the wiring or switch, and an electrician could help confirm this.

If It’s Humming

If, when turning your disposal on, you hear a humming noise, but no grinding is occurring, you’re most likely looking at a jam. Often it’s due to food or foreign objects getting lodged in your shredder rings. If you believe this could be the case, turn the power off and use a flashlight to look down the disposal and identify the cause. With power still off, you can try to dislodge the item with either the offset wrench provided with the disposal, the handle of a wooden spoon, or pliers.

If It’s Draining Slowly

Just like your sink, if your disposal is taking a long time to drain or not draining at all,a clog is present. The best course of action would be to schedule a professional cleaning. Though you could do a quick at-home fix, a professional can ensure the full clog is taken care of so that you don’t see this as a recurring issue down the road.


If your garbage disposal isn’t working as it should, let the experts at Tri-City Heating and Cooling fix your issue. Contact us or schedule a service today.