As more people learn that trash and garbage are the biggest causes of air pollution, they’re showing massive interest in appliances that help them maintain a sustainable lifestyle and become eco-friendlier.

According to research, about 7 billion tons of plastic waste is produced every year, and only 10% of the waste is recycled.

Garbage disposal units can help you protect the environment and reduce your environmental impact. But that’s only possible if there’s an effective wastewater system in your locality that converts kitchen/food waste into energy.

Garbage Disposal

garbage disposal concept

Garbage disposal is one of the cleanest ways to dispose of food scraps. It’s not just good for the environment but also helpful in reducing kitchen odors and helps you save time.

Garbage disposal units have paved their way into several households in the US because of their convenience and ease of use. But that doesn’t imply that they’re invincible. Let’s look at some common problems associated with garbage disposal and what you can do about them.

Garbage Disposal Doesn’t Turn On

Is your garbage disposal not switching on when you flip the switch?

If this happens (provided that there’s ho humming sound coming from the motor), there’s a strong possibility that there’s an electrical issue in the system. The garbage disposal unit probably isn’t receiving current, so it fails to turn on.

Here’s how to check if there’s an electrical issue and how to resolve it.

Check if It’s Plugged in

While it may seem too obvious, appliance repair services and customer support workers often report that failing to plug in the garbage disposal is one of the most common problems.

Make Sure the Reset Button Hasn’t Tripped

Once you’ve successfully plugged in the appliance, find the reset button (typically at the bottom of the garbage disposal) and press it. The reset button is usually red and controls a built-in circuit breaker. If the reset button has popped out, it means the built-in circuit has tripped. You can push it back to reset your garbage disposal appliance.

Inspect the Main Service Panel

If there’s no problem with the reset button, check if the built-in circuit is operational by using the main service panel. If the circuit breaker has tripped, reset its lever. It’s best if you can use a voltage tester. Using a voltmeter, you can easily examine the outlet.

But, if your garbage disposal unit is hardwired, you’ll have to acquire access to the system’s wiring to ensure it’s receiving the required power. However, before you jump up to this step, perform manual testing and test the circuit breakers as explained above.

Check the Wiring

If you have checked the circuit breaker and reset button but are still clueless about the actual cause, there’s surely a wiring issue with the switch operating the garbage disposal unit.

If not, there’s probably some fault in the garbage disposal unit itself.

Switch off the circuit breaker from the main service panel. Then, disassemble the switch operating the appliance and check the wiring. If the wires are loosely connected, tighten them.

However, if there’s no issue with the wiring, your switch must be faulty. A reliable appliance repair service near you can replace the switch.

After replacing the switch, turn the power supply on from the main service panel and see if the garbage disposal works.

If the disposal doesn’t turn on, you’ll have to get a new one.

Humming Sound but Not Working

Do you hear a humming sound every time you switch on the garbage disposal? If this happens, likely, the unit isn’t processing the food because of a jam. If the garbage disposal’s motor produces a humming sound, there’s probably a jam in the inner flywheel.

When the inner flywheel jams, the disposal’s reset button pops up, and the circuit breaker trips in no time. If you ignore this situation, the motor may burn, costing you heavily!

Jams typically happen when an object or food goes down the disposal and gets stuck between the shredder ring and the rotors.

Here’s what you can do to fix this problem.

Turn off the Power Supply

Switch off the power supply to the appliance by turning off the breaker that operates the disposal’s built-in circuit. Also, switch the main power supply from the button on the wall controlling and operating the unit off.

Remove Garbage from the Flywheel

food waste

Most disposal units come with an offset wrench. Insert the wrench into the turning hole of the inner flywheel found at the bottom of the garbage disposal. Now remove the stuck object or food in the flywheel or impeller by turning the wrench in the clockwise direction.

If a wrench isn’t available, you can also use hex or any other wooden object (such as a spoon handle) and eliminate the stuck object to free the flywheel. After removing the object, you can turn on the main power supply.

However, before turning on the unit, reset it with the reset button at the top.


Your garbage disposal unit can start leaking from several areas, such as the sink flange, the hose which removes the disposal to the drain, and the hose linking the disposal to the dishwasher.

Ignoring the leaks can lead to molds and mildews and may even damage your cabinets and floors. To identify the leaks, check out the disposal’s plumbing hoses and drainage pipes. If the leaks are small, you may fix them yourself. But if there’s a large leak, you’ll need to seek help from a disposal repair service.

Let S&E Appliance Repairs Help!

joining hands with a reliable appliance repair service in VA

S&E Appliance Repairs is a reputable appliance repair company operating in Washington DC and North Virginia. The company offers same-day appliance repair services to their clients and is offering a 10% discount on all appliance repairs and services.

The company is known for its excellent customer support and on-time services. They pride themselves on being the first choice of their clients for all types of appliance repair. From refrigerators to garbage disposals, dishwashers, freezers, ovens, washers, and driers, their technicians repair all types of appliances and are well-trained to troubleshoot issues and fix them quickly.

Contact them today for more information.

About the Author

The author of this post is an electrical engineer and writes educational content on appliance repair to help people learn how they can diagnose errors in their home appliances and fix them independently. He regularly contributes to the S&E Appliance Repairs website.