Plumbing Emergency – The Plugged Garbage Disposal

This is the last and final articles in our series of four plumbing emergencies (and how to handle them). So far we have discussed what to do if you have a burst pipe, a clogged drain, and how to locate the shut off valve to your water supply
Plugged garbage disposal

All important things to know.

Our last tip concerns a plugged garbage disposal. Many people may not think this rates high enough on things that can go wrong to be classified as an emergency. But, ask anyone who is hosting a party or has a big family and they will tell you – having a plugged garbage disposal is NOT fun and extremely inconvenient.

Some very common causes of a clogged garbage disposal:

  • Putting corncobs, corn silk, artichokes, rice, potatoes, any kind of pits, small chicken or fish bones, grease
  • Stuffing the appropriate items down the drain too quickly
  • Not running enough water down the disposal to completely clear the drain, causing a back up
  • Dropping a utensil, sponge, bottom top, jewelry (accidentally, of course!)

If your disposal does become clogged, try these steps first:

  1. Turn off the electrical power switch, which is usually near the disposal, on a wall close to it, or under the cabinet. If you can’t easily locate it, turn off the breaker or take the fuse out of the main power panel. VERY IMPORTANT that this step is completed first. Don’t even think about moving forward on your own unless the disposal is shut off.

  2. It may be that a large object somehow got jammed in the disposal. Get a flashlight and take a look!

  3. If something is jammed, get a pliers and carefully reach in to dislodge and remove it.

  4. Before turning the power back on and resetting the overload protector button, wait for the motor to cool off – usually about 15-20 minutes.

And there you have it!

Worst case scenario – you can’t fix your plugged garbage disposal and you need to call in a professional plumber. You know how to reach us – don’t hesitate. Always better err or the side of caution when it comes to disposal problems.



 
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