While some people may consider their waste disposals to be a nice luxury, others definitely see them as a necessity.
There’s one thing, though, that both types of people can agree on – when your disposal isn’t working, it’s a real pain.
Any time an appliance isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, it can be extremely frustrating.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot of work or know-how to keep your garbage disposal running well. In fact, these appliances are pretty easy to repair with just a little bit of knowledge.
We’ve put together some tips that can help you to become an instant expert on fixing those frustrating waste disposal issues.
Keep the Water Flowing
One of the easiest fixes, and one that is overlooked frequently, is to keep cold water flowing while you are using your garbage disposal. Not only will this help to keep the current batch of food peeling flowing, it will also serve to loosen up any food items that have accumulated over time.
You may even want to put a bit of dish soap down the drain, turn on the cold water, and let the disposal run for a few minutes. This is a good cleaning/preventative maintenance step that should be done at least once a week. You can avoid a lot of clogs, jams and other performance issues just by being consistent with this one maintenance step.
It helps to have a basic understanding of how disposals work. These small, motorized appliances have a flywheel with impellers attached to it. When you send food waste down the drain, the impellers repeatedly hit the food, grinding it into very small pieces.
This ground up food waste is then sent through the drain pipe and into the sewage or septic system. Some garbage disposals include an intake line for a dishwasher. The entire unit is attached to the sink using a flange, ring, and mounting bolts.
Now that you understand the basics of your garbage disposal, let’s talk about a very common problem, and how to fix it.
Fixing a Disposals Flywheel
One of the most common problems that happens to a garbage disposal is when the flywheel gets stuck. This happens quite a bit, but you don’t have to call a plumber or handyman to fix this issue. It’s a lot easier to resolve than you might think.
Here are the steps to fix a stuck flywheel:
Step 1: Check the bottom side of the disposal for a six-sided (hex) hole.
Step 2: Check the disposal for a pouch with a hex wrench in it. If you don’t find one attached, look in your toolbox, or head to the hardware store to pick one up.
Step 3: Insert the hex wrench and turn in both directions. You may have to do this several times, but it usually does the trick in just a few minutes.
If your garbage disposal does not have a hex hole, you may want to try the old fashioned method – using a broom handle. Now, before you do this, or any repair steps, make sure that the disposal is turned off.
Then take the broom handle and insert it in the drain hole. Angle the handle so that one end rests on the side of an impeller. Gently apply leverage to move the impeller. This should free up the flywheel. Remove the broom handle, and test the disposal. If necessary, repeat these steps several times.
A stuck flywheel, while a very common problem, can lead to very expensive issues down the road. Some people continue to try and run their disposals – thinking that sooner or later something will give.
And it’s true, something will give – the motor. By not taking the right steps and continuing to run the disposal, you stand a very good chance of burning out the motor of your disposal. Definitely not something you want to do…
Keep these basic garbage disposal repair tips in mind. The next time you notice a problem with your garbage disposal, you may have it fixed and be back in business in just a few minutes, by following the simple steps you learned in this article. And be sure to be especially vigilant in keeping your garbage disposal clean.
By following a regular cleaning routine, you’ll go a long way in avoiding any flywheel or impeller problems that happen due to improper care and cleaning.