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Unjamming Your Garbage Disposal: A Simple Guide

Serving Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, and more of AZ with professional plumbing services since 2001

From time to time, your home’s garbage disposal may not work as it should, leading to the dread of having to replace a home appliance. However, most of the time, a non-working garbage disposal is nothing to worry about. Garbage disposals are equipped with safety features to prevent unnecessary damage. Eventually, your disposal will get jammed, but there are a few simple steps you can take to fix it.

Unjamming Your Garbage Disposal: A Simple Guide
Unjamming Your Garbage Disposal: A Simple Guide
Unjamming Your Garbage Disposal: A Simple Guide
Unjamming Your Garbage Disposal: A Simple Guide

The Handy “Key” to Fixing a Jam

Typically, when you purchase a new garbage disposal, it comes with a type of “key” designed to manually turn the motor clockwise or counterclockwise. This little tool can save you from an unnecessary repair bill. The motors in garbage disposals spin in one direction under their own power and can occasionally get jammed. The “key” allows you to turn the disposal in the opposite direction to free any foreign objects.

Safety Features and Maintenance Tips

If the jam is not cleared, the garbage disposal has a safety device installed to prevent the electric motor from burning out. This device is a small breaker that will trip, cutting off power to the unit. This results in the disposal not spinning or making any noise when turned on, which might lead you to think it’s time for a replacement. In reality, it may just need some maintenance.

Over time, the blade plate (the spinning part) can develop rust and flake off during normal use, jamming the blade plate. This can be prevented by thoroughly washing out the garbage disposal after regular use. Food waste sticks to the blade plate, holding moisture and causing premature rusting, which in turn can result in jammed blade plates.

Cleaning and Sharpening the Blades

It is recommended to fill the garbage disposal with ice and turn it on to grind all the ice down. This process helps with cleaning and sharpening the blades. Additionally, manufacturers recommend using only cold water when operating garbage disposals to prevent premature failure.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your garbage disposal and avoid the hassle and expense of unnecessary replacements. Reach out if you need professional help with your garbage disposal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I do if my garbage disposal stops working?  

A: First, try using the “key” that comes with your disposal to manually turn the motor and free any jammed objects. If it doesn’t work, check the small breaker on the disposal unit to see if it has tripped and reset it if necessary.

Q: Why does my garbage disposal get jammed?  

A: Jams can occur when foreign objects get caught in the disposal or when the blade plate develops rust and flakes off, causing the blades to jam. Regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent these issues.

Q: How can I prevent my garbage disposal from rusting and jamming?  

A: After each use, thoroughly wash out the disposal to remove food waste that can hold moisture and cause rust. Additionally, grinding ice in the disposal can help clean and sharpen the blades, preventing rust and jams.

Q: Is it necessary to use cold water when operating my garbage disposal?  

A: Yes, manufacturers recommend using only cold water when running your garbage disposal. Cold water helps prevent premature failure of the unit by keeping it from overheating.

Q: How often should I clean my garbage disposal with ice?  

A: It’s a good practice to fill the disposal with ice and grind it down periodically to clean and sharpen the blades. Doing this regularly can help maintain the efficiency and longevity of your disposal.

About Us

Instant Plumbing and Rooter LLC is a family-owned and operated plumbing business in Phoenix, AZ. We’re a family of reliable professionals that use the latest techniques for dependable plumbing services. Since 2001, we have been taking care of our community’s plumbing needs promptly and professionally.

Through our work, we aim to change the perception of plumbers in our community. Our goal is to make homeowners like you more informed, as well as show others that being a plumber is not just about unclogging toilets.

A plumber brings hygiene, sanitation, and comfort to everyone, and that’s what we’re here to help you with.

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