4 Common Garbage Disposal Problems and Solutions

Garbage disposals have quite a few benefits to them, some of which include being far more environmentally friendly than other methods of disposing of waste food. The unit also helps reduce the number of kitchen odors you might have since most of the waste that goes into it is finely ground up. In addition to its ability to save you time in the kitchen, these benefits can often make garbage disposal units a great item to have. 

However, many of these disposal units are just as prone to wear and tear as the other appliances in your kitchen. Over time, you might find quite a few garbage disposal problems cropping up, some of which are quite troubling to deal with. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to solve the problems, many of which can make them easier to handle and fix.

If you need to call a technician for an issue that is too complex to handle by yourself, our team at Clover Contracting is ready to help whenever you’re ready. We make sure that our work is as professional and efficient as possible to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for, whether it be a garbage disposal repair or furnace installation. 

Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

One of the more common issues that can pop up when owning a garbage disposal is flicking on its switch but the unit doesn’t turn on. Depending on the unit itself and whether the problem only recently happened, the solution can be either simple or far more complex. Regardless, it’s important to know how much power your unit has and what you need to do to reduce the risk of future garbage disposal issues.

Garbage disposal units often come in a variety of different models, as you might have already found. While each brand and model can come with a range of different horsepower levels, they all still require a motor to spin the blades or to spin the scraps around the unit. 

As a result, the motor can start to overheat, causing the unit to shut down to prevent damage. Simply let it cool down for a few minutes before trying again.

However, if that doesn’t seem to work, you may need to replace the unit itself. However, before you replace the garbage disposal unit, make sure to disconnect all of its connections and power sources. In these kinds of cases, many people might find their breaker tripped, the unit isn’t plugged in or the outlet’s reset was pushed. In some rarer cases, your home might even be facing power problems. 

You Keep Hearing Humming From the Unit

One of the most common garbage disposal problems you might find is humming coming out of the unit. More often than not, the humming sound indicates that there is power flowing into the unit, meaning that there’s a chance that you quietly hear it even during normal operation. However, the best way to check if it is a problem is by checking if the blades are moving.

The most common problem is that the blades don’t move, despite the garbage disposal getting power. This, primarily, is due to the motor facing issues. If the motor gets clogged or jammed with bits of food scraps, the blades can stop moving. The best way to fix the problem is by turning the power off and manually unsticking any lingering particles. 

Some models do have a hex-shaped hole at the bottom, but if yours doesn’t or if you don’t own an appropriate wrench, a broom handle works fine.

However, if you do try manually rotating the blades and they still don’t move as intended, you might be facing another kind of problem. Fortunately, this method of fixing the problem isn’t as complicated as the other solution; simply press the reset button. Though a fairly simple garbage disposal problem, it’s also important to check the unit’s reset button for any issues that may mean the entire unit needs replacing.

The Unit Isn’t Draining Correctly

One of the last and final problems with garbage disposal units is the lack of proper draining. The main reason that this can happen is due to a clog in the unit’s pipes or in the garbage disposal itself. Fortunately, this fix is another simple one. 

Clogs are a frequent problem when it comes to plumbing, giving you many ways to clean it out. The simplest solution to this in a list of garbage disposal problems, though, is to simply unplug the disposal and then clean the unit out. The pipe below may be clogged, so using a drain snake could also help greatly.

The Garbage Disposal Leaks From the Bottom

Another potential item in a list of garbage disposal problems and solutions you need to be aware of is a leaking garbage disposal unit. In most cases, this is an issue that should be fixed as soon as it’s caught. As you might already know, the water and liquids from the food scraps can soak into the floor and cabinets, causing damage and creating a moist environment for mildew and mold to grow.

Much like the other problems, a leaky garbage disposal unit is fairly easy to fix, given that the leak isn’t too large. Make sure to check all the potential places where a leak can form, including the garbage disposal unit’s outer casing and any tubing connecting it to the plumbing. Small leaks can easily be fixed with waterproof tape or a special kit. Larger leaks, though, will need a technician.


These are just some of the possible solutions that you can try when your garbage disposal seems to act up. If you’re ever taking the unit out or need access to the pipes below, make sure that the disposal is off and unplugged first. It often makes fixing issues like leaks and clogs far easier and safer. 

But, in the case that these solutions don’t solve the issue you’re dealing with, calling a plumbing company like our team at Clover Contracting is the best choice.

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