What Is The Best Way To Fix A Stuck Garbage Disposal?

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What Is The Best Way To Fix A Stuck Garbage Disposal?

Let’s talk about garbage disposals and what to do if yours is stuck and won’t work. First, practice the plumbing version of the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors: Do no more damage in your efforts to fix the problem. My first example: If you hear a buzzing or humming sound when you switch on the disposal but it won’t turn, then shut it off immediately. Continuing to try and run it in that situation can easily burn out the motor.


The quickest and easiest way to fix a broken garbage disposal is to call in the experts from Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We do understand some Waterford, MI and Oxford, MI want to try and fix the problem on their own. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some tactics that may work:

  • ALWAYS CHECK THE PLUG IN. Yes, I know it sounds simplistic, but some disposals are plugged into an outlet under the sink. If it is hard wired, then check the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn’t tripped.
  • PUSH THE RESET BUTTON. This is usually on the bottom of the garbage disposal. If the reset has tripped, it has cut off electricity to the disposal motor so you won’t hear the buzzing sound. After the reset, turn the disposal on and see if the problem is fixed.
  • HOW TO CLEAR A JAM. If it’s clear something has become jammed in the garbage disposal, there are a couple of things you can try. First, there should be a place to insert a hex wrench (also called an Allen wrench) in the bottom of the disposal. Use the wrench to manually turn the impeller blades to clear the jam. If you don’t have a wrench, you can attack the problem from the topside by using a short broom handle or something similar to rotate the blades. Just be absolutely sure the garbage disposal is shut off before inserting anything, especially your hand or fingers, into the disposal.


Many disposal problems are caused by lack of plumbing maintenance or putting something down the drain that has no business being there. The list of no-no’s includes:

  • Grease, oil, and fats (remember this includes things like cream)
  • Starchy foods including potatoes, pasta, rice
  • Fibrous foods like celery, banana peels, fish skins
  • Non-food items including metal, wood, glass, and cigarette butts

If you want to avoid garbage disposal problems, then follow a very basic rule: When in doubt, throw it out…in the trash that is.


If you are worried about your garbage disposal, don’t ignore the warning signs. Kotz Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing has licensed, expert plumbers and technicians to perform plumbing maintenance that can prevent and/or fix any problems with the disposal in your Waterford, MI or Oxford, MI home. To learn more about the services offered by Kotz be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.