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Broken Garbage Disposal - What to Do After It Has Stopped Working

Updated on September 24, 2015

Should you repair or replace a broken garbage disposal?

A garbage disposal is one of those really important things to have in your kitchen. While you don't want to throw everything down the drain, there are some items that current disposer models handle with ease. But what happens after your disposal breaks? Do you spend money to bring out a plumber to try to repair it, try to fix it yourself, or simply invest in a new model.

In this lens, I will share some of the insights that I have gathered while researching this very subject for my home improvement needs. I dealt with a troubling, noisy and unreliable no name brand that I ended up replacing. Hopefully, you can use this as you pursue the direction that is right for your current situation.

Fix or Replace - The First Question that Needs to be Answered

There are a couple of easy steps that you can take to determine whether or not you will need to fix or replace your disposal. First and foremost (as a safety precaution), when you are examining or troubleshooting you system, do not place you hands down into the hopper. See some of the steps below:

Step 1

Try turning the switch to your garbage disposer on. It will likely either make noise but not turn or spin or there may be no noise at all.

Garbage Disposal Switch

Step 2

Turn the switch to the off position.

Step 3

Double check that you have turned the disposer off, then look inside the top down to see if there is anything clogging it up (such as tools or other objects).

Step 4

Gather your tools together

Step 5

Find out if it is a breaker issue. It can happen at either the disposal or the on off switch. If there is no spin at all, then this could be the problem. There is a red button on the bottom of the disposer (make sure on/off switch is turned off) then click the switch to see if that is the root of the problem (see video below for more detail).

Diagnosis Stage - Step by Step Instructions - Garbage Disposal Repair Video

This incredibly useful video tells you whether it's salvageable and shows you how to repair a broken garbage disposal.

Waste King Disposer
Waste King Disposer

Importance of this product and why I don't go cheap

If you need a replacement, here is the criteria I use to select a new one

When I consider buying a new garbage disposal, I look at it like buying a bed. You want to find one that works for your situation and needs and handles the day to day wear and tear. Also, like a bed, these don't need to get replaced very often, so price shouldn't be the deciding factor.

Noise was the #1 factor for my choice in a replacement. Having lived in an apartment where the disposal sounded like a factory grinding up metal parts, I needed to find something that was a bit quieter and less disturbing.

While I typically don't put large items down the drain, you'd be surprised what some of the current models can handle. For instance, the Waste King L-8000 (pictured to the right) can take on more solid based material such as chicken bones. The strong induction motor and grinder can tackle such a project with ease.

Here are some of my other favorites

With any of these, you really can't go wrong. Just look at the description for exact specifications:

© 2013 ClaytonDaily

Did you decide to fix or replace your garbage disposal?

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