Garbage Disposal Repair FAQs

Garbage disposal is a motorized appliance installed underneath your sink that allows you to finely grind food waste into small particles that can be safely disposed of down your drain.



Waste disposal unit

Garbage disposer


Insinkerator (popular brand)

Garbage disposal is really just a simple demonstration of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion.

The moment you turn on your disposal, a small plate at the bottom of the “grinding chamber” starts to rotate at high velocity.


On this plate, you will find two impellers. These are essential components, as they help create the necessary centrifugal force that propels the scraps of food against the internal wall of the chamber. This wall grinds the food down into tiny particles that can flow down the drain.


Contrary to popular belief, most homeowners believe that a garbage disposal works much like a blender. While they indeed have many similarities, this is factually incorrect. There is no chopping, cutting or chewing involved in the process. In fact, a garbage disposal doesn’t even have blades!

This is a question with an impossible answer. Every homeowner will have different needs based on their unique situation.


To find the right size disposal for your home, you should first consider how much power you will need. This can be determined by considering a few factors.

How often will you be using the disposal?

What kind of food do you currently prepare, and how much waste does it create?


1/3 horsepower

1/2 horsepower

3/4 horsepower

1 horsepower

2+ horsepower

Generally, the more people in your home, the more often you’ll be using the disposal, thus the more power (or larger size) you’ll need.


However, you should also consider the types of food waste that you’ll be putting in the disposal, as well as the volume you think you’ll create.


Note: When it comes to garbage disposals, the term “size” refers to power, not the actual dimensions of the unit. Another important consideration, but one that is unlikely to affect your buying decision, but does play a role in the installation.

This is a great question that more homeowners should be asking. A common misconception is that anything and everything can go down a garbage disposal. In reality, there are a number of items that should never be put down a disposal. This includes the scraps of many popular foods.


Never Put These In Disposal:

Cooking oil / grease

Stringy fruits and veggies




Coffee grounds


Note: If you have a large, powerful garbage disposal from a reputable brand, then some of the items listed above would likely be okay to put into the unit. However, to prevent possible problems and ensure your garbage disposal has the longest life, it is recommended that you avoid the items above.

There is likely food waste inside the grinding chamber that is starting to rot. It may be that you didn’t grind your last batch long enough, or perhaps there is food stuck inside the unit or not flushed down the drain properly.


To eliminate these odors, you should run plenty of cold water into the unit and turn it on. Allow it to fully grind and flush all items inside the chamber. Next, you should thoroughly clean your disposal to eliminate all bacteria that may be lingering and contributing to the odor.

These are the two types of disposals you will choose from. Here is a general summary that highlights the differences between the two.



The most common type of disposer found in homes, these are considered to be effortless and simple to use. All you do is turn on the cold water, flip the power switch and add your food scraps. You can continue to let the unit run until all food waste has been grinded and disposed.



Slightly more difficult to use, this type of disposer only allows you to grind food in smaller batches. In order for these to work, you must use a stopper to activate the power. Without the stopper, the device will not work. While they require a bit more work, they are considered to be the safer option.



This is entirely dependent on your situation. Like most appliances, they each come with their own set of pros and cons.

Yes. It is recommended that you run the water while you operate the disposal. This will not only help the device grind your food waste, but also guide the small particles down the drain and prevent potential problems, such as a clog in your pipes or within the disposal.



When you are grinding food waste, you should always use cold water. This will prevent the fats within your food from liquefying, which may create a clog when the temperature cools and these fats once again solidify. By running cold water, you keep these fats in a “solid” state, which makes it easier to grind and eliminate.



When you are cleaning your disposal, you can use hot water. However, this is dependent on how you are cleaning it. If you are using cleaners, such as vinegar, baking soda or citric acid, hot water will be fine, perhaps even helpful. However, if you are grinding food — such as citrus peels — to help clean the disposal, then you should stick with cold water.

Absolutely! There are plenty of handyman, plumbers and other general contractors out there that will do this job like Trusted Home Experts. Just make sure you do your research and hire only a qualified, certified and licensed contractor. If you decide to go this route, make sure you read these tips from the FTC first.


Depending on the retailer that you bought your garbage disposal from, they may offer installation services. Likely, this will include an extra charge, but it’s well-worth the security of knowing that your unit is installed correctly, by a professional.

Yes… and no. This is hard question to answer, really.


The overall decibel level will vary from model to model. Because it’s a motorized appliance, all garbage disposals will create some level of noise during operation. Much of the noise is due to the vibration created while the disposer is being used.


If noise is something you are concerned about, then you should look at buying a garbage disposal that has built-in insulation and anti-vibration features. Some manufacturers will also list the decibel level within the specs of each model.

A common problem that homeowners may experience, this humming sound occurs when the disposal is clogged or jammed by an object inside. The unit is still receiving power when you try to operate it, but unfortunately, it is unable to grind food because it is jammed.


You do NOT need to call a plumber for this. It is a relatively easy fix that should only take a few minutes.



Find the owner’s manual for your disposal. Look for instructions on how to troubleshoot this humming problem. If you can’t find the owner’s manual for specific instructions, then you should carefully try to unjam it.


You can try following these instructions:


Unplug disposal.

Get the allen wrench that came with the unit, or find one that will work.

Crawl under your sink and look for a small hole that fits your allen wrench. It will be hexagon-shaped.

Insert allen wrench and turn. This should unjam the unit.

Plug in and turn it on.

Note: These are general instructions to unclog your garbage disposal. It is strongly recommended that you follow the instructions that the manufacturer provides for that specific model.

The reset button on your disposal is located at the bottom exterior of the unit. It is likely red, but this could vary. Please refer to the owner’s manual to understand how to properly use the reset button on your specific disposal.

You can, but it’s not recommended. When you have a septic system, disposing of food waste down the drain is a bad idea for the following reasons:


You may disturb the balance of bacteria within the tank.

You fill up the tank quicker, thus have to pump it more frequently.

You may inadvertently cause problems with the tank, which may lead to costly repairs.

You can call Trusted Home Experts or a plumber will be your best bet for repairing a garbage disposal.


However, depending on what the problem is, you may be able to repair it yourself. Before you call and hire someone, try to troubleshoot the problems and determine if you can fix it on your own.


For example, a clogged disposal is an easy fix for homeowners to do on their own. But, if the disposal is leaking, then you should turn off the water and call a a plumber.

Wondering what to do with your old disposer after getting a new one? Many appliances that no longer work can still be used for scrap metal. Since garbage disposals are mostly metal, it is better to think salvage rather than the landfill. This process recycles a variety of items including copper, aluminum, steel and more. Call Trusted Home Experts for this.

No. A garbage disposal can be installed with both a single bowl sink or a double bowl sink, this is a personal preference. Check sink and garbage disposal dimensions for details.

Garbage disposals are very low maintenance appliances.  Simply making sure you frequently use your disposal can help to remove any excess food scraps that accumulate in the chamber. However, if you smell any odors coming from your disposal, it’s usually the sign of food build up.


Over time, food waste can also accumulate under the sink baffle.


To clean your disposal, follow these simple steps:


Turn off your disposal

Remove the sink baffle and clean the underside of the baffle with a scouring pad

Place the baffle back in the sinkhole

Turn on your disposer and run a medium stream of cold water

Place ice cubes mixed with lemon/lime wedges down your disposal to freshen it up


Will a garbage disposal cause blockages in the sewers?

Q: What Exactly Is Garbage Disposal?

A garbage disposal is a motorized equipment placed under your sink that grinds food waste into tiny pieces that may be securely disposed of down the drain.


COMMON NAMES INCLUDE: Waste disposal unit, Waste disposal unit, Waste disposal unit, Waste disposal unit, Waste disposal unit, Waste disposal

Garburator (garbage disposal)

Insinkerator (popular brand)

A trash disposal is only an example of Isaac Newton’s principles of motion.

When you switch on your disposal, a little plate at the bottom of the “grinding chamber” begins to revolve at high speed.


There are two impellers on this plate. These are crucial components because they contribute to the centrifugal force that forces the pieces of food towards the inside wall of the chamber. This wall grinds the meal into little bits that may be flushed down the drain.


Contrary to common misconception, most homeowners assume that their trash disposal functions similarly to a blender. While they do share many similarities, this is untrue. The procedure involves no chopping, cutting, or chewing. In fact, a trash disposal lacks blades entirely!

This is an impossible question with an impossible solution. Based on their specific scenario, each homeowner will have distinct demands.


To choose the appropriate size disposal for your house, consider how much electricity you will need. A few criteria may be used to ascertain this.


How many persons do you have in your house?

How often will you use the garbage disposal?

What kind of food are you presently preparing, and how much waste does it generate?


one-third horsepower

a half horsepower

a quarter horsepower

one horse power

2 or more horsepower

In general, the more people in your house, the more often you’ll use the disposal, and therefore the more power (or greater size) you’ll want.


However, you should also examine the sorts of food waste you’ll be disposing of, as well as the amount you anticipate producing.


When it comes to trash disposals, the word “big” relates to power rather than actual unit measurements. Another crucial factor to consider, but one that is unlikely to influence your purchasing choice but does play a part in installation.

This is an excellent question that more homeowners should ask. A widespread myth is that anything can go down the trash disposal. In actuality, there are some objects that should never be disposed of in a garbage disposal. This comprises leftovers from a variety of popular cuisines.


Cooking oil and grease should never be thrown away.

Fruits and vegetables that are stringy

Pasta \sRice \sBeans

Eggshells with coffee grounds

Note: If you have a big, powerful trash disposal from a recognized manufacturer, you can probably put some of the things mentioned above in it. However, to minimize potential difficulties and guarantee your waste disposal lasts as long as possible, it is advised that you avoid the things listed above.

Inside the grinding chamber, there is most likely food waste that is beginning to decay. It’s possible that you didn’t grind your previous batch long enough, or that there’s food caught within the machine that wasn’t fully flushed down the drain.


To get rid of unpleasant scents, fill the unit halfway with cold water and turn it on. Allow it to completely grind and flush anything within the chamber. Following that, carefully clean your disposal to remove any bacteria that may be present and contributing to the stink.

These are the two forms of disposals available to you. Here is a broad description of the differences between the two.


CONTINUOUS FEED: The most prevalent form of disposer used in houses, they are said to be easy to operate. All you have to do is turn on the cold water, turn on the electricity, and add your food scraps. Allow the device to run until all food waste has been ground and disposed of.


BATCH FEED: This sort of disposer is somewhat more difficult to operate since it only enables you to grind food in smaller batches. You must use a stopper to activate the power in order for them to operate. The gadget will not function without the stopper. While they demand a little more effort, they are regarded as the safest alternative.



This is largely depends on your circumstances. They, like other appliances, have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Yes. It is advised that you leave the water running when using the disposal. This will not only assist the device in grinding your food waste, but will also direct the little particles down the drain, avoiding possible difficulties such as a blockage in your pipes or inside the disposal.


COLD WATER: When grinding food waste, use cold water at all times. This will keep the fats in your meal from liquefying, which might cause a blockage when the temperature drops and the fats solidify again. Running cold water keeps these fats “solid,” making them simpler to pulverize and remove.


HOT WATER: When cleaning your garbage disposal, you may use hot water. This, however, is contingent on how you clean it. If you’re cleaning with vinegar, baking soda, or citric acid, hot water is OK, and may even be beneficial. If you are grinding food, such as citrus peels, to assist clean the disposal, you should use cold water.

Absolutely! There are several handymen, plumbers, and general contractors out there who will undertake this service, including Trusted Home Experts. Just be sure you do your homework and choose a skilled, professional, and licensed contractor. If you decide to take this path, be sure to first read the FTC’s advice.


Depending on where you purchased your trash disposal, the vendor may provide installation services. This will almost certainly incur an additional fee, but it is well worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing your unit was properly installed by an expert.

Yes… and no. This is a difficult question to answer.


The total decibel level will differ across models. Because it is a motorized device, all trash disposals will make some noise when operating. The vibration produced by the disposer accounts for a large portion of the noise.


If noise is an issue for you, you should consider purchasing a trash disposal with built-in insulation and anti-vibration features. Some manufacturers will provide the decibel level in the model specifications.

This buzzing sound, which is a typical concern for homeowners, happens when the disposal is blocked or jammed by an item within. When you attempt to run the unit, it still receives electricity, but it is unable to grind food because it is clogged.


You DO NOT NEED TO CALL A PLUMBING COMPANY FOR THIS. It’s a simple repair that should just take a few minutes.


Q: HOW TO UNCLOG: Locate your disposal’s owner’s manual. Look for information on how to troubleshoot the buzzing. If you can’t locate the owner’s handbook for precise directions, you should attempt to unjam it gently.


You might try the following steps:


Unplug the garbage disposal.

Use the allen wrench that came with the unit, or locate one that will do the job.

Crawl under your sink and search for a tiny hole that will accommodate your allen wrench. It will be hexagonal in form.

Insert and spin the allen wrench. This should free up the unit.

Connect it to a power source and turn it on.

Please keep in mind that these are basic guidelines for unclogging your trash disposal. It is highly advised that you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for that particular model.

The reset button on your disposal is positioned at the bottom of the unit’s exterior. It is most likely red, although this might change. Please consult your owner’s handbook to learn how to use the reset button on your particular disposal.

It is possible, but it is not advised. Disposing of food waste down the drain is not a good idea if you have a septic system for the following reasons:


You may upset the bacterial equilibrium in the tank.

You fill the tank faster, so you have to pump it more often.

You might accidently damage the tank, resulting in pricey repairs.

A plumber is your best choice for trash disposal repair.


However, depending on the nature of the issue, you may be able to fix it yourself. Before you bring in a professional, attempt to diagnose the issue and see if you can repair it yourself.


A clogged disposal, for example, is a simple remedy that homeowners may do on their own. However, if the disposal is leaking, you should cut off the water and contact a plumber.

Are you wondering what to do with your old disposer now that you have a new one? Many broken appliances may still be recycled for scrap metal. Because trash disposals are typically made of metal, it is preferable to contemplate salvage rather than landfill. This method recycles a wide range of materials, including copper, aluminum, steel, and others. For this, contact Trusted Home Experts.

No. A trash disposal may be placed with either a single or double bowl sink, depending on personal taste. Check the size of the sink and trash disposal for further information.

Garbage disposals need relatively little upkeep. Simply using your disposal on a regular basis may assist to eliminate any unwanted food scraps that build in the chamber. If you notice scents coming from your disposal, it’s mainly due to food buildup.


Food waste may also build beneath the sink baffle over time.


Follow these easy procedures to clean your disposal:


Turn off your garbage disposal.

Remove the sink baffle and use a scouring pad to clean the bottom of the baffle.

Replace the baffle in the sinkhole.

Turn on your garbage disposal and pour a mild stream of cold water through it.

To refresh your disposal, run ice cubes mixed with lemon/lime wedges through it.

A well-maintained sewer will not be clogged by finely crushed food waste from a disposal. It is 70% water and has a composition quite similar to the human waste that all sewers are built to manage. An thorough investigation recently completed at the University of Sheffield proved that these fears are baseless.

Most people believe that inside a trash disposal is a swarm of whirling blades and knives waiting to sever your hand, but this is not true. While there are some sharp edges to be avoided, the bulk of food is demolished with a revolving hammer that does not have enough power to injure your hand.


We’re not suggesting you stick your hand in a trash disposal anytime soon, but if the disposal isn’t turned on and you’re cautious, you should be able to remove an item out without being hurt.

If your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, the problem is most likely with your waste disposal. When your dishwasher is finished, the filthy water is drained via your trash disposal. If your trash disposal is brand new and the plug is still attached, no water will pass through the disposal and will have nowhere to go except back into the dishwasher.

Finely ground food waste from a disposal will not block a well-maintained sewer. It is 70% water and has a very similar composition to the human waste that all sewers are designed to handle. An extensive study at the University of Sheffield recently confirmed that these concerns are unfounded.

Most people have this idea that inside of a garbage disposal is a plethora of spinning blades and knives ready to chop your hand off, but this idea is incorrect. While there are sharp parts that should be avoided, a majority of the demolishing of food is done with a rotating hammer that doesn’t have enough force to do much damage to your hand.


We’re not advocating for you to put your hand in a garbage disposal anytime soon, but if the disposal is not on and you’re careful, you should be able to pull an object out of the disposal clear of injury.

If your dishwasher is not draining correctly, then you can probably blame your garbage disposal. When your dishwasher is done running, it drains all of the dirty water through your garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal is brand new and the plug is still inserted, then it won’t allow any of this water through the disposal, and it will have nowhere else to go but back into the dishwasher.

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