Many are opting to repair garbage disposal problems themselves, rather than calling in a plumber. This is one way to save money on common issues that pop up that usually only require a few simple steps to take care of. All that you need is a little knowledge of your disposal and the right set of tools.
Before working on a problem with your machine, you must turn off the power for safety reasons. Once that is done, gather up a few tools that you may need like, a turning tool, a bucket, some metal tongs, a pipe wrench, a screwdriver, and a snake or auger. A broomstick can be used in the place of a turning tool. Just remember that when working on one, keep your hands out of it.
If you have something stuck in your machine, you need to plan how to get it out. First check the inside drain, if you see something, use your metal tongs to get it out. Sometimes you need to go under the machine to the hole at the bottom and manually turn it. Use your turning tool or broom handle by inserting it into the hole and moving the machine back and forth, which should loosen up whatever is stuck.
If a slow drain is a problem, you may have a clog somewhere. The worst thing to do is use a chemical drain cleaner as that may damage your disposal. Therefore, you'll need to check the trap and clean that if necessary, have your bucket ready when you take the trap off to catch water and any obstructions. If the problem is not in the trap, it is likely in the drainpipe and you clean that out with your auger or snake.
There are usually three places to check when leaks occur. Check the screws on the drainage pipe first as they may need to be tightened. If that isn't the problem, check the bolts where the machine is mounted to ensure they are tight. Sometimes you need to add or replace the plumber's putt where the disposal and sink meet.
If yours is not working at all, it may just need the reset. The machine can overload at any time and when it does, it shuts down and needs the reset. To reset, look underneath, find the reset button, and press it. That is usually all that needs to be done, but if it doesn't fix the problem, the wiring or cord may be faulty.
Common issues like a leak, jam, or clog often happen and can be fixed without the need of a plumber. To repair garbage disposal problems, make sure you have the tools, a little knowledge, and use precautions. When something is beyond your expertise, then it is time to call in your local service technician.