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Garbage disposal in a kitchen sink

How to Reset a Garbage Disposal

August 1, 2023

Garbage disposals are incredible appliances that make our lives in the kitchen much more convenient. However, like any mechanical device, they can encounter issues and require a reset to get back to their optimal performance. If you find yourself in a situation where your garbage disposal is malfunctioning, fear not! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to reset your garbage disposal effectively. As your reliable plumbing experts, Lickety-Split is here to help you keep your kitchen running smoothly.

Before You Begin

Before attempting any reset or troubleshooting process, ensure your safety. Always disconnect the garbage disposal from its power source before handling any components. Locate the power cord beneath the sink and unplug it, or turn off the circuit breaker that controls the disposal. Safety first!

Identifying the Problem

The first step to resolving any issue with your garbage disposal is identifying the problem. Common problems may include a jam, motor overload, or a tripped breaker. Resetting the garbage disposal is usually the go-to solution for minor issues.

Locating the Reset Button

Most garbage disposals have a reset button to help restore normal functionality after an overload or jam. It’s usually located at the bottom or side of the unit. Look for a small red or black button and make sure it is not pressed in. If it is, gently press and release it to reset the disposal.

Removing the Jam

If your garbage disposal is not working and you hear a humming sound when you turn it on, it’s likely jammed inside the drain. Do not attempt to use your hands to remove the jam. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the power: Make sure the disposal is turned off or unplugged before attempting to clear the jam.
  • Use the wrench: Most garbage disposals come with an Allen wrench. Insert the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the disposal unit. Wiggle it back and forth to dislodge the obstruction.
  • Reset the disposal: Once the jam is cleared, press the reset button on the unit.

Resetting the Circuit Breaker

If your garbage disposal stops working and you don’t hear any noise or humming when you turn it on, it may have tripped a circuit breaker. To reset the circuit, follow these steps:

  • Go to your home’s main electrical panel and find the circuit breaker labeled for the disposal. It is typically labeled “kitchen” or “garbage disposal.”
  • If the breaker is in the “off” position, flip it to the “on” position. If it’s already in the “on” position, flip it to the “off” position and then back to “on.”

Testing the Reset

After completing the reset process, it’s time to test the garbage disposal. Reconnect the power by plugging it back in or turning on the circuit breaker. Run water into the sink and turn on the disposal. Listen for any unusual sounds or signs of recurring issues. If everything appears to be functioning normally, congratulations – you’ve successfully reset your garbage disposal!

Conclusion: Resetting Your Garbage Disposal

A well-maintained garbage disposal can be a true kitchen companion, but occasional hiccups are normal. Remember, safety is paramount, so always disconnect the power before attempting any reset or troubleshooting procedures. By following this guide, you can easily reset your garbage disposal and restore it to optimal performance.

If you encounter persistent issues or need expert assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Lickety-Split. Our team of skilled professionals is always ready to help you tackle any plumbing challenge and keep your home running efficiently.


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