0% financing for 60 months on approved credit

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal?

over 1,500 reviews

There’s a unique kind of frustration that comes with a malfunctioning garbage disposal. You’re rinsing dishes, and suddenly, there’s a peculiar noise—or worse, silence—from beneath the sink. Water isn’t draining, and an unpleasant odor starts to waft up. The convenience and efficiency that your garbage disposal once offered are now replaced with the inconvenience of a clogged sink and the potential hazards that come with it.

Imagine the hassle of preparing for a dinner party or family gathering, and in the midst of your preparations, the garbage disposal decides it’s the perfect time to act up. The sink is filled with water, food particles are floating, and there’s a growing panic about the potential mess and odor that could ruin the ambiance of your home.

But worry not, for there is a beacon of hope. Reimer is your trusted partner in such distressing times, ready to swoop in and address the issue, ensuring that your disposal is up and running in no time. Alternatively, if you’re a DIY enthusiast, this article is tailored to equip you with insights on fixing common garbage disposal issues. Say goodbye to the panic and frustration, and embrace swift, effective solutions that restore the harmony and functionality of your kitchen.

What Causes Garbage Disposals to Stop Working? 

Garbage disposals are a staple in many kitchens, offering convenience and efficiency in handling food waste. However, like any other appliance, they are not immune to issues that can halt their operation. Understanding the common causes that lead to a non-functioning garbage disposal is the first step in troubleshooting and resolving the problem.

Foreign Objects

One of the primary culprits behind a malfunctioning garbage disposal is the presence of foreign objects. Items such as utensils, jewelry, or other non-food objects can accidentally slip into the disposal. When this happens, the blades can become jammed, preventing the motor from operating effectively. The disposal’s built-in safety feature often shuts the motor down to prevent damage in such instances.

Inadequate Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for the optimal performance of a garbage disposal. Neglecting routine cleaning and maintenance can lead to the accumulation of food debris and buildup of grease or fat. This not only results in unpleasant odors but can also clog the system, leading to inefficiency or complete breakdown.

Electrical Issues

Electrical problems are another common issue. A tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse, or issues with the outlet where the disposal is plugged can lead to the appliance not turning on. It’s essential to check the electrical connections and ensure that the disposal is receiving power before considering other potential problems.

Overuse or Overloading

Garbage disposals are designed to handle a specific amount of food waste. Overloading the disposal with too much waste or attempting to grind up items that are too hard or fibrous can strain the motor and lead to overheating or failure.

Wear and Tear

Like any other appliance, garbage disposals have a finite lifespan. The average is around 15 years, but this can be shorter depending on the frequency and nature of use. Over time, the blades can become dull, and the motor can wear out, leading to decreased performance and eventual failure.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are another issue that can plague garbage disposals. Leaks can occur due to loose connections, failed seals, or cracks in the body of the disposal. A leak can lead to under-sink messes and potential water damage, and it often signals the need for repairs or replacement.

Understanding these common issues can empower homeowners to take preventative measures, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of their garbage disposals. When problems arise, pinpointing the root cause is essential to implementing an effective solution swiftly. 

However, some issues can be intricate and challenging to resolve without professional assistance. In such cases, turning to expert services like those provided by Reimer ensures that your garbage disposal issues are diagnosed and addressed with precision, promptly restoring its functionality and the convenience it brings to your kitchen.

DIY Fixes for Garbage Disposals 

Garbage disposals are integral in the modern kitchen, but like any appliance, they can encounter issues. While some problems require professional intervention, others can be resolved with a bit of DIY ingenuity. 

Here, we’ll explore common garbage disposal issues that you can fix yourself and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it. We’ll also touch on more complex problems that are best left to professionals like Reimer.

Jammed Disposal

A jammed disposal is a common issue that can often be resolved without professional help.

Steps to Fix:

  • Turn off the power to ensure safety.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect the disposal. Look for any visible obstructions.
  • Utilize pliers to remove the obstruction. Avoid putting your hand inside.
  • Once cleared, use an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades, ensuring they are free.
  • Restore power and test the disposal.

Unpleasant Odors

Foul smells emanating from the disposal can be addressed with household items.

Steps to Fix:

  • Pour a mixture of ice cubes and kosher salt into the disposal.
  • Run the disposal to grind the mixture, which cleans and sharpens the blades.
  • Feed lemon slices into the running disposal to eliminate odors.


If your disposal is not turning on, it might be due to overheating.

Steps to Fix:

  • Check if the reset button, usually located at the bottom, is popped out.
  • If it is, wait for the unit to cool down.
  • Press the reset button and test the disposal.

When to Call a Professional

While the above issues can typically be resolved with a DIY approach, certain problems necessitate the expertise of a professional. These include:

Electrical Issues: If the disposal is unresponsive and the reset button doesn’t work, there could be an underlying electrical issue.

Leaking: Persistent leaks, especially those not resolved by tightening connections, require professional attention.

Grinding Noise: Unusual sounds can indicate a severe internal issue that needs expert diagnosis and repair.

DIY fixes can be a quick and cost-effective way to address common garbage disposal problems. However, it’s crucial to recognize when a professional touch is needed to avoid exacerbating the issue. Reimer’s team of experts is always on standby, ready to provide swift, efficient, and effective solutions to restore the optimal functionality of your garbage disposal, ensuring it serves you reliably for years to come.

Call Reimer Today for Your Garbage Disposal Repair Needs

Facing issues with your garbage disposal? Reimer is your trusted partner for quick, efficient, and professional solutions. While minor issues can often be addressed with DIY fixes, some problems are best left to the experts. Complex issues involving electrical components and intricate mechanisms require professional attention to ensure safety and efficiency.

Reimer’s team of certified experts is always ready to step in, offering a seamless blend of experience and skill. We diagnose and resolve garbage disposal issues promptly, ensuring your kitchen returns to its optimal functionality in no time. Our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction has set us apart, making us the preferred choice for homeowners.

Don’t let a faulty garbage disposal disrupt your daily routine. Reach out to Reimer for quality, reliability, and speedy service. Your comfort and convenience are our priority, and we’re dedicated to ensuring your home runs smoothly.

For expert garbage disposal repair services, call Reimer at (716) 272-2371. We’re here to bring efficiency and peace of mind back to your home!

What Our Clients Say

Chris and Kevin were excellent! The issue involved plumbing. Accomplished all that was needed at the time. They are returning for additional work as well. The annual contract has great value , and gives homeowner piece of mind when problems arise! I just signed up for mine!

-Kitty Testa

Chris L. Is a wonderful man. Put my mind at ease immediately when he looked at the problems which turned out not to be as bad as we thought. I will definitely use them again. Great service!

-Janice Kaled

Chris Reimer was at my home and did a great job was very nice guy to have work in my home and gave me no run arounds. I would for sure use again thank you very much!!

-Matthew Dillon

Want to learn more about heating and cooling?
We’ve got you covered.
Micro Powerguard Air Filter How Do Air Filters Improve Indoor Air Quality? Have you given much thought to the air you’re breathing indoors? While outdoor air quality gets all the headlines, our indoor environments can get laden...
Main Circuit Breaker Understanding Your Home’s Main Circuit Breaker Most homeowners take electricity for granted—until the lights go out. That metal panel housing rows of switches? It’s actually the brave guard protecting your entire...
GFCI Outlet What’s a GFCI Outlet and What Does It Do? You know those outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas with the little buttons labeled “reset” and “test”? Those handy devices are called GFCI outlets,...

Authorized Dealers