Broken garbage disposal?

If your garbage disposal stops working, particularly if it’s been working fine and then one day simply dies, you just might be able to fix it yourself with the press of a little red button. Who knew?

Just like your hair dryer, garbage disposals have a GFCI: a circuit interrupter that shuts the device off if there’s a safety issue. If that safety issue was just a fluke, resetting the button will do the trick. You should be able to find the reset button just underneath the disposal. Just make sure the normal on-off switch is set to ‘off’ and that there aren’t any spoons in the sink, so you won’t have any surprises when the disposal starts running again.

Is this common knowledge? Well, my friend didn’t know, and had gone 3 weeks thinking her garbage disposal was broken before I fixed it tonight. I wouldn’t have known had my brother not told me. And he didn’t know before either: he figured it out when installing a replacement disposal for his mother-in-law, who’d gone without for ages.

So if you didn’t know, well, now you do, and knowing is half the battle. Maybe someday it’ll save you or a friend the cost of a new disposal or visit from a repairman. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Broken garbage disposal?

  1. Another thing you can do if there’s something like celery strings gumming up the disposal is use the claw of a hammer to degunk the entire thing. With the garbage disposal off, of course.

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  2. Thanks again! I had no idea it was so easy. Of course, finding that button would have meant me getting down on the floor…and who knows if I could have been able to get back up again?!?

    I’m so glad you came over last night! Not just for the disposal, but for the good company, brownies, and Rock Band fun!

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    1. And I’m so glad you invited us over! I was feeling fairly lonely (as mostly-single moms are wont to do!) and it was nice to get out and have someone to talk to 😀

      Oh and I am glad I could help with that too – yeah with your back being crazy it would have been hard to fiddle around for that switch anyway. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

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  3. Thanks again! I had no idea it was so easy. Of course, finding that button would have meant me getting down on the floor…and who knows if I could have been able to get back up again?!?

    I’m so glad you came over last night! Not just for the disposal, but for the good company, brownies, and Rock Band fun!

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  4. I am sure most people don’t know about that little “red button.” I mean, I have some many gadgets and I’m always amazed when I find out they can do something I had no idea they could actually do.
    And when it comes to garbage disposals today, they are, believe it or not, really, really high tech.
    And they are designed to be more powerful, quieter, and easier to install.
    So it’s no surprise that the manufacturers would include something like this. And if you know the “secret” it could save you lots of money in potential plumbing bills!
    Thanks for the tip!

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  5. Oh goodness, I am so going to tell my Mum, she thought I had broken hers when we stayed there for a month as it stopped working. But now i remember there were frequent power cuts too, perhaps it just switched off because of this. Will search for that red button now!

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