Efficient Plumbing Services
Become a Garbage Disposal Repair Expert

Garbage disposal jams

hex slot bottom of garbage disposalOccasionally, something that should not drop into the garbage disposal:  a spoon, a coin, a plastic action figure.  The grinder starts up, but the motor will just hum, according to the most referred Littleton plumber, because the grinder blades won’t turn.  Or the unit will shut off completely via the built-in-circuit breaker (which protects the motor from self-destruction).

Fix A Jammed Garbage Disposal

  • Before you begin any work on a garbage disposal, you must first shut off the power.  Do this by turning off the switch, or unplugging the disposal if it plugs in under the sink.  Take no chances with this noisy, grinding appliance with dangerous “jaws”.
  • Once the power is off, use a flashlight to see if you can see what is jamming the disposal.  If it is a big item, use a pair of tongs, tweezers, or if you are brave – and you are positive there is no power to the unit – your hand to get it out.
  • A really small item may go through if you put some ice cubes into the disposal and run cold water through the disposal.  You can turn on the machine (press the reset button after you turn on the electricity) and try it.
  • If you can’t see what’s causing the jam, you will have to spin the grinding machine by hand.

Newer garbage disposal units have a small hexagonal recess at the base of the disposal that can be turned with an Allen (hex) wrench.  If you are lucky, the wrench that came with the appliance will be under the sink or (jackpot!) taped to the disposal.

If the disposal is an older model, with no hex slot at the base, you will need a broom handle to try and free the grinder blades.  Put the handle into the cavity and set the end of the handle against the blade.  Push it clockwise, then counterclockwise until you free the blades.

Remove the source of the jam, restore power, and turn on the disposal.  Always run water through the disposal when you are operating the appliance.  Remember to have a healthy respect for power (the electric kind) when you try to clear a garbage disposal jam.


Schedule An Appointment
Call Efficient Plumbing Today
Our Reviews