Insinkerators, or garbage disposals, have a tendency to break down
periodically. Insinkerator jams are fairly common just due to the fact that
people abuse them. Itís amazing what gets purposely and accidentally shoved
down an insinkerator. When an insinkerator is turned on the motors and
blades inside it work to shred the contents in it. The shredded material can
then more easily pass through the sink drain. Sometimes, however the
insinkerator jams shortly after it is turned on. This is due to the motor
effectively stopping due to the high torque on the cutting blades trying to
cut through the food and other debris in it.
Often a humming sound can be heard at
this point as the cutting blades stop turning. The humming sound is coming from
the high electrical current still trying to turn the motor and blade assembly.
Eventually even the humming sound will stop when there is a jam. Most of the
time when an insinkerator jam occurs a diy homeowner can resolve the
insinkerator jam on their own.
To avoid calling a plumber to fix your garbage disposal most of the time all you
need to do is follow the steps described below.
Fortunately insinkerators are designed to shut off when they become jammed and
the blades are unable to rotate anymore. In addition, current to the motor is
automatically shut off via a circuit breaker to ensure the motor is not burned
out and destroyed. As a matter of fact, youíll typically find a reset button on
the garbage disposal itself that you need to push to restart the insinkerator,
after it has automatically cut off and youíve subsequently removed the jam.
After cleaning out an insinkerator jam, plug the unit back in and press the
reset button once. Note that you should always unplug a garage disposal when
removing a jam. In the process of pushing the reset button listen for a clicking
sound. This will indicate that the garbage disposal unit has been reset. Once
reset, you can then turn on the cold water faucet and throw the switch to the
insinkerator to see if it again operates. As a side note, you should always turn
the cold water faucet on when using an insinkerator as the water helps to aid in
the grinding of the food debris and keeping the garbage disposal blades cool.
If the garage disposal doesnít operate after cleaning it out and resetting
it, and it doesnít even produce a humming sound, then thereís a very good chance
the motor has been permanently damaged. In this situation, you may want to
consider calling a plumber, or replacing the motor, or replacing the entire
insinkerator unit itself.
If the garage disposal partially works, or still just hums, turn it off again
and unplug it. Then, using a flash light, inspect the insides of the garbage
disposal carefully looking for any debris that is still stuck in it. If you see
any debris in it, use a large screw driver to remove it. Never put your hands
down into a garbage disposal, even if the unit is unplugged. While removing the
debris with the screwdriver, also push the end of the screwdriver down into one
of the holes in the base of the insinkerator and try rotating the screw driver
in a circular motion. This effort will cause the blades to move and potentially
release any debris stuck in them. If and when the blades begin to turn freely
you can then remove the screwdriver, plug it back in, and try testing the unit
again. With any luck youíve eliminated the insinkerator jam and your garbage
disposal should be operational again.
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