New Garbage Disposal Owner’s Tip: How To Clear A Garbage Disposal Clogged With Food

Certain summertime foods like corn and watermelon are notorious for clogging up a garbage disposal. Pieces from the corn cobs and watermelon rinds can get stuck between the blade and the wall of the disposal unit and cause it to stop working. Sometimes, the symptom of the clog can mimic an electrical problem and you'll have to do some checking before you can determine if the disposal is clogged. If you are a new garbage disposal owner who has never dealt with a clog caused by summertime fruits and vegetables, here is what you should do.

Check Power

When you turn your garbage disposal on and you don't hear any sounds, this means that the electricity going to the motor has been cut off. The garbage disposal motor will overheat when the unit gets clogged and this could cause a house fire. To prevent this from happening, the garbage disposal has an internal electrical cut-off switch that activates when it overheats to avoid it starting on fire.

There is a reset buttom on every garbage disposal. The buttom is either located on the bottom of the disposal unit or on the side of it. The buttom is typically colored red and looks like a little stick shaped figure. You press the button down to reset the garbage disposal and restore the electrical flow to the motor. Turn on the switch to the garbage disposal at the sink. If the power doesn't turn on, you should check your circuit breakers. Sometimes, an overheating garbage disposal can also cause the circuit breaker to turn off and you'll need to turn it back on to restore power to the disposal.

Turn the power on to the garbage disposal. If it's clogged, you will hear a humming sound. Turn the power off immediately to avoid overheating the garbage disposal again. 

Removing the Clog

A new garbage disposal unit will normally come with a little "S" shaped tool. The tool fits into a slot in the bottom of the garbage disposal. Place the tool into the slot and twist it back and forth. This movement will cause the blades inside the garbage disposal to move – which should dislodge the food that is stuck inside it. You should run cold water into the sink with the garbage disposal unit to help you flush away the bits of food that break away as you twist the blades.

If you can't find the little "S" tool, don't worry. The end of the tool is shaped like an Allen wrench. All you have to do is find an Allen wrench that will fit into the slot and turn the blades with that instead of the "S" tool. Contact a plumber, like, for more help.