My Garbage Disposal is broken! Should I get a plumber?

Reason 1: Something has jammed the Disposal

That loud crunching noise you hear is the evidence that something has fallen in that likely wasn’t meant for the disposal. Typically, once these items are lodged in the disposal, it can present a hazard to turn on the disposal.  

DIY Fix: Try to remove the item first. 

Important note: Be sure to place the disposal switch in the off position before trying to remove an object from the disposal (for added safety, unplug the disposal or locate the disposal switch in your circuit breaker and switch it to the off position.) You can try to dislodge the item using a small tool, such as needle nose pliers. 

When to call a professional: 
If you are unsuccessful in dislodging the item, or if after removing an item it appears that the disposal is still not working, it may be time to call in a plumber.

Reason 2: Your disposal is significantly rusted

If you have an older garbage disposal or one that isn’t used very often, you may have rust in your disposal. Over time, rust and corrosion can cause holes in your disposal that allow water to reach the wiring or the motor, causing electrical shortages. 

DIY Fix: Try to use a natural rust removal solution on your disposal. 

Important note: Do not use bleach or other chemical drain cleaners as these can cause further damage. Consider researching all-natural rust removal solutions that include lemon juice or vinegar. 

When to call a professional: If you believe significant rust is the cause of your disposal issue, it may be best to replace your entire disposal. A service professional will have the tools and knowledge to determine the extent of the rust damage and provide suggestions on what disposal would work best for your home.  

Reason 3: Your motor has broken/failing

Do you hear a humming noise every time you turn on the switch to your disposal? Or, do you turn on the switch only and hear nothing at all? This may indicate that the motor in your disposal has failed. 

There are a variety of reasons for motor failure such as overuse, electrical shortage, or your motor reaching the end of its life cycle. 
DIY Fix: Try resetting your garbage disposal first. This is because a motor that doesn’t turn often times isn’t broken, but just needs to be reset. Locate the reset button on your disposal; it may be black or red.

If this doesn’t work, your motor may be indeed broken. You can look into replacing the motor.  This will require finding the parts for your specific disposal model (more difficult with older models) and having the right tools to replace it. 

Your other option is to replace the entire disposal if buying all the necessary equipment for a motor replacement is not a project for you. 

When to call a professional: For a motor replacement, call the plumbing professionals at Integrated Plumbing Solutions! They are great at making these situations painless and can often do same-day replacements.  

In the end, before you go down the path of DIY, consider whether you have all the tools to properly remove and replace your garbage disposal and components. If you aren’t comfortable with a plumbing repair, it’s best to call for professional assistance. 

If you are considering a plumber in your area, Integrated Plumbing Solutions would be glad to help. We serve all of Metro Atlanta with plumbing services!