Why Is My Sink Disposal Not Working

Why Is My Sink Disposal Not Working?

A sink disposal, also known as a garbage disposal, is a handy appliance that helps to break down food waste so it can easily flow through the plumbing system. However, there are times when your sink disposal may not be working properly, causing inconvenience and frustration. Here are some common reasons why your sink disposal may not be working and what you can do about it.

1. Power Issues: The most common reason for a sink disposal not working is a power issue. Check if the disposal is plugged in properly and if the circuit breaker is not tripped. If the disposal is plugged in and the circuit breaker is fine, then the problem may lie within the disposal unit itself, and you may need to call a professional to fix it.

2. Overheating: If your disposal suddenly stops working, it might be due to overheating. Disposals have a built-in overload protector that shuts off the unit to prevent damage from excessive heat. Wait for about 10-15 minutes for it to cool down, then press the reset button located at the bottom or side of the unit. If the reset button doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional.

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3. Jammed Disposal: Another common issue is a jammed disposal. This can happen if large food particles or foreign objects get stuck in the disposal blades. To fix this, turn off the power to the disposal and use a hex key or an Allen wrench to manually rotate the blades. Once the blades are free, remove any debris and reset the unit.

4. Clogged Drain: If the disposal is running but the water is not draining, there might be a clog in the drain pipe. Turn off the disposal and try using a plunger or a drain snake to clear the clog. Avoid using harsh chemicals as they can damage the disposal.

5. Worn-out Blades: Over time, the blades in your disposal can become dull or worn-out, making it difficult to break down food waste. If you hear a grinding noise or notice reduced performance, it might be time to replace the blades. Consult the manufacturer’s manual or call a professional for assistance.

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6. Faulty Wiring: If you’ve ruled out all other possibilities and your disposal still isn’t working, there might be a problem with the wiring. Faulty wiring can prevent the disposal from receiving power. In this case, it’s best to call a licensed electrician to inspect and repair the wiring.

7. Age and Wear: Like any other appliance, sink disposals have a lifespan. If your disposal is old and constantly giving you trouble, it might be time to replace it. Upgrading to a newer model can ensure better performance and reduce the frequency of breakdowns.


1. Can I put coffee grounds in my sink disposal?
No, coffee grounds can accumulate in the drain pipe and cause clogs. It’s best to dispose of coffee grounds in the trash or use them as compost.

2. Why does my disposal smell bad?
Food particles can get trapped in the disposal and emit an unpleasant odor. Run cold water while grinding citrus peels or ice cubes to freshen up the disposal.

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3. Can I put bones in my disposal?
No, bones are too hard and can damage the disposal blades. Dispose of bones in the trash or use them for making broth.

4. How often should I clean my disposal?
It’s recommended to clean your disposal once a month. You can do this by pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain and running cold water for a few minutes.

5. Can I use bleach to clean my disposal?
Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals as they can damage the disposal. Stick to natural cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda.

6. Can I put potato peels in my disposal?
Potato peels are starchy and can form a paste-like substance that can clog the drain pipe. Dispose of potato peels in the trash.

7. Is it normal for my disposal to be noisy?
Some noise is normal during operation, but if you notice excessive noise or grinding sounds, there might be a problem with the disposal. It’s best to get it inspected by a professional.

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