Simple fix: The disposal

Hello there! Thanks so much for all the love on the finished fireplace, I appreciate it more than you know! We’re so happy with how it turned out and I hope it inspires you someway in your home.

As you know, I like to do things myself if I can. I have mixed emotions when I have to call someone to fix something for me – if it’s something stupid and little I’m annoyed. If it’s a biggie I’m totally cool with it. ;)

This past weekend we had a stupid little something and I was determined to get it fixed myself. Long story short we got lots of little bits of stuff that shouldn’t be down a drain…down our drain. It involved an obnoxious cat. It always involves an obnoxious cat. Not knowing the little bits were down the drain, I turned on the disposal and the “rarrarrarrarrar” of death started up. Actually it’s more of a “grrrrrrr” when it’s not working.

If you know what I mean by “long time listener first time caller” right now than you are my favorite person. If you don’t look up “Mr. Obvious, the critter” for a laugh.

OK, back to the post. The little bits had gone down the disposal and it was stuck. There’s a few things you can do to fix this situation on your own. First things first, turn the disposal off at the breaker box.

If something gets stuck in the actual sink part you can usually get it out of there on your own. I’ve used the handle of a wooden spoon and kind of swirled it around in there and then you can put on rubber gloves and reach in and grab it if you get it loose. Or if it’s tons of little things like glass you can put your wet vac hose down in the sink and try to pull them up that way.

If it’s gone down into the disposal like ours did than you need to move to the next option. The bottom of your disposal will look like this:

how to fix a disposal

There’s two areas that are important. The red button on the right is the reset button. Sometimes you can just push that in after clearing out the drain part and it may work. (The button will be out if it needs to be reset. If it’s already pushed in it doesn’t need reset.)

The area in the middle is how you’ll fix most issues with disposal. You’ll need the key that came with it -- it’s just an allen wrench basically:

disposal key easy disposal fix

If you don’t have the specific one that came with your disposal you can usually find one that works on an allen wrench set:

allen wrench

Although when I fixed ours the set did not work – I had to use the disposal key to do it. The allen wrench wouldn’t grab enough.

You stick the key inside and turn it – you may hear everything inside moving around. This is a good thing. I could hear ours grinding. Every few turns I would try the disposal again – if it doesn’t work on the first try or two keep turning. You’ll want to hit the reset button again if it’s sticking out and then things should be moving again. It took about three attempts to clear ours out but it worked! fixing garbage disposal

It just takes a few minutes and you’ll usually be able to fix yours on your own. Have you ever tried this? It’s a GREAT feeling to save hundreds of bucks! Or at least $75-$150 for a service call so the repairman can do the same thing. 

Now go look up Mr. Obvious. :)

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