What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working Part 2

25 Oct by Will Kruse

What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working Part 2

Garbage disposal units are common household appliances that are used to dispose of food waste. When they stop working, it can be a major inconvenience. There are a few things that you can do to try to fix the problem.

In the first part of this guide, we went over some common garbage disposal problems and how to treat them. Here, let’s examine some more garbage disposal problems you may be facing and how you can handle them.

1) Garbage Disposal Smokes

If your garbage disposal smokes when you turn it on, it is likely that the motor is overloaded. This can be caused by putting too much waste in the disposal at once, or by trying to run something that is too large.

The garbage disposal is making a lot of smoke and it smells like it’s burning. It might be because the motor is frying and needs to be replaced, or it could be because of a fried circuit that might be fixable.

How to Fix:

If the garbage disposal is smoking because you are putting too much waste in it at once, try breaking up the waste into smaller pieces. If the garbage disposal is smoking because you are trying to run something too large, try running the item in smaller batches.

Here are the steps you can take:

  • Make sure the power is off
  • Remove the cover
  • Make sure the blades are moving freely
  • If the blades are moving freely, reattach the cover and turn on the power
  • If the blades are not moving freely, you will need to replace the disposal

If your garbage disposal still isn’t working, you can try to fix it by resetting it. If this doesn’t work, or if you’re not comfortable working with the wires, call your plumber. They can assess whether the unit can be repaired or if the entire garbage disposal needs to be replaced.

2) Garbage Disposal Doesn’t Drain

If you are experiencing water backed up into the sink when the disposal is turned on, or no water draining at all, then there is likely a clog in the disposal or the sink’s drain piping. Make sure you check for any blockages in your drainage system to confirm.

How to Fix:

With the water still running, fill a pot with about two inches of water and place it on the stove. Turn the heat up to high and wait for the water to come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully pour it into the sink over the plunger. The boiling water will help to dislodge the clog.

If the clog is not cleared after pouring the boiling water over it, continue with the following steps. Remove the plunger from the drain and insert an adjustable wrench into the opening. Twist the wrench back and forth to loosen the clog.


There are a few reasons why your garbage disposal might not be working. It could be a clog, a lack of power, or a problem with the disposal itself. If your disposal problems persist, make sure to see a plumber.

Experts at L.J. Kruse Co. can help you with any garbage disposal issues. We offer plumbing services in Berkeley for any of your pressing issues. Get in touch with us today to learn how.

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