Submitted by Homebridge t3_zwzks8 in DIY

I have a garbage disposal that I cannot get to work at all. I've reset the button and checked the power, that's not the issue. When trying to use the Allen wrench to loosen the blade I ended up stripping it. I went and got another one but when I try to move it the entire unit wiggles and moves excessively. Is it bound up? Should I just get a new unit?



You must log in or register to comment.

twohedwlf t1_j1xorrv wrote

Have you checked inside it and removed the spoon?

Just kidding, it does sound like something inside it has jammed it. If not, time for a replacement.


Homebridge OP t1_j1xp5hh wrote

Thanks, I did check inside as my husband very graciously did the big batch of dishes before this, but unfortunately it seems like the motor seized!


AntelopeRecent7578 t1_j1xrchs wrote

Broom handle, spin from sink side


upstairsjulie t1_j1xuvzn wrote

Agree. The key is to use the soft wood to get the blade moving. It’ll only move in one direction. If you can’t get it moving, disposals aren’t too hard to replace yourself.


A_Plumber2020 t1_j1yi2r1 wrote

You can pull the rubber guard out from the drain opening and look down inside with a flashlight. It doesn't take much to wedge the blades, especially if the foreign object is just the right size. Typically you will find things stuck under the blade or between the blade edge and the side wall. I have a long pair of needle nose pliers that are curved at the end that I use all the time for this. Good luck.


IrocDewclaw t1_j1z32fh wrote

You can remove the rubber drain and use the handle of a hammer to back the blades up and release what has it locked.

I've had to do it dozens of times. Old apt handyman.


Muzzy637 t1_j1zs6qh wrote

I can hear the motor going but it doesn’t move. Does that sound like it’s jammed up, in your expert opinion? I don’t know shit about these things.


okvolley t1_j1xp4xw wrote

After unplugging it, try using some needle nose pliers to rotate the blades. Same as using the Allen wrench on the bottom. Or use a light to see what jammed it up and remove it that way.


Homebridge OP t1_j1xpc2a wrote

Ooh, good idea! I couldn't move the blades with my hand, but pliers may work. Thanks!


Pihkal1987 t1_j1xwqnm wrote

The Allen wrench at the bottom is a plumbers hack lol. Does it hum when you’re trying it? It’s pulling power but jammed. Don’t stick your hand and pliers in the blades please lol. Use an Allen wrench to turn the unit manually from the bottom.


cville-z t1_j1yzume wrote

Something else to check: the switch that powers it. If you flip the switch and don’t hear the motor trying to turn, and you’ve already found the power reset on the disposal, it’s worth checking the switch VERY CAREFULLY with a multi-meter. Switches can wear out with use over time (I’ve had this happen 3 or 4 times with disposals and light switches).


Averen t1_j1xvd1x wrote

Being sure the power is off either reach in with some kind of pliers and turn it back a quarter then or see what allen wrench it takes on bottom (if it has it)


Strandom_Ranger t1_j1zaxag wrote

Pulled a dime out of our disposal. The SO has no idea how it got there.


TheYoung_Wolfman t1_j20k618 wrote

Ours got jammed up, could not free it, so we replaced it with a slightly bigger one. Pulled the old one apart to find a bolt wedged in it, really not sure how that got in there, thought maybe it came out of the disposal but nothing felt loose.


Tellurine t1_j1zv60j wrote

I have unmounted and disassembled garbage disposals a few times in order to get them unstuck. It's not hard and doesn't take long. You should be able to open up the grinding chamber to get to whatever may be jamming it. I've had little pebbles and pieces of silverware get tightly jammed between the blades and the casing. Maybe check YouTube for a video if you need encouragement.


ThatsMrDickfaceToYou t1_j1zwvry wrote

Does it hum or does it make no sound?


Homebridge OP t1_j2169jj wrote

No sound at all


ThatsMrDickfaceToYou t1_j216i57 wrote

If the motor were engaging, you should get a hum. You checked both the circuit breaker on the device and the circuit breaker in the breaker box?


ThatsMrDickfaceToYou t1_j216osz wrote

Note that a half-tripped breaker won’t be easy to spot. They often look like they’re on. You have to flip them all the way off and then back on.


Homebridge OP t1_j21vnz5 wrote

Good suggestion, I'll check the breaker too. Thanks!


Mikie_D t1_j21z6oz wrote

Sounds like the bearings gave out and locked up.


manBEARpig03 t1_j1xtocb wrote

There is an Allen wrench hole on the bottom you can turn to unlock it.


Katzeye t1_j1xuyw3 wrote

This is the correct answer.


swr3212 t1_j1yvp2t wrote

She literally said in her post she tried the Allen wrench and stripped the fitting


davidreaton t1_j1zyk9l wrote

There may me a huge nut on the inside where you can attach a 3/4" drive socket, extension and breaker bar. Worked for me.


NOT000 t1_j1zyw9z wrote

call about taking it back if u cant get it working

we got ours from home depot and the warranty was good enough that any time w brought it back they gave a new one

easy to install, dont forget the popout


bigedthebad t1_j202unx wrote

Just get a new one, they are fairly cheap and easy to install. Think about getting one with a higher horsepower


georgecostanzalvr t1_j220s0w wrote

this happened to me a few months back. a screw had come loose from the pendant light above and fallen into the garbage disposal causing it to jam.


mandevwin t1_j1xpuzr wrote

Do you have a shop-vac? Try to vacuum it out from the top. If something like a shard of glass got lodged in it, and you can stick the vacuum in and also try to move it counter clockwise, you can often fix this.


Homebridge OP t1_j1xq0bd wrote

I do, and that's a very helpful suggestion! Thanks!


iWannaGameDev t1_j1xzusm wrote

Like mentioned, replacing a garbage disposal is easy. However, they're probably about $100 at least.

If it is badly jammed, I have fixed mine by throwing it upside down outside on the driveway. Just gentle drops to dislodge any objects in the garbage disposal. But I would put a new one in even if you are able to fix your old one


JNJury978 t1_j1yanas wrote

Sometimes, something can get stuck hard enough that even the “Allen wrench solution” won’t fix. In those cases, I take a butter knife and put inside the disposal try to rake the inside of it, making sure to hit every surface area possible. Then use metal tongs to try and fish out if there’s any small pieces that loosen up. I then use said butter knife and try to spin the blades by pushing on them in either direction to help “unbind” the motor.

If this doesn’t fix it, then yeah, it’s probably permanently seized and you’d need a new one.