Successfully making home repairs — and especially those involving plumbing or appliances — can be a daunting undertaking. That’s particularly true for San Francisco homeowners and renters who, given the opportunity, will completely screw up a repair job to the point where a professional plumber is required.
Well, here’s a secret that can make you an instant household hero when your roommate or spouse tells you the garbage disposal is clogged or inoperable, and that secret is this: Fixing a garbage disposal crisis is easy. We’re being serious here. Even if you don’t know the difference between a wrench and a ranch, you can fix a garbage disposal in minutes. Thus becoming the hero your mom, kids or dog already thinks you are.
First off, if your disposal seems to be shut off, simply push the little electrical reset button located on the bottom of the unit. If this doesn’t work, check to see if the electrical outlet on the wall behind the sink actually has juice.
To do this, take out the disposal plug, connect it to an extension cord and plug that cord into outlet that you know is working. If there’s power, the outlet to the disposal will need to be attended to. Call an electrician, because that task is way above your pay grade.
Moving on, if you hit the reset button and there’s a humming sound coming from the disposal, chances are there’s something stuck inside. And if there is indeed an obstruction, here’s what you need to do:
- Locate the Allen key that came with the disposal
- Unplug the disposal and insert the Allen key into the slot on the bottom center of the disposal.
- Attempt to rotate the key back and forth until you can continually turn the key around multiple times in both directions.
- If this doesn’t do the trick, try to remove all of the contents by hand until the blades inside can spin — including the metal saucer upon which they sit.
WARNING! Remember to unplug the disposal before putting your hand into the unit or risk serious injury.
- Once the disposal is spinning free, plug it back in and run the water.
- Turn the disposal back on and toggle the switch a few times to ensure the obstruction has been removed or has passed.
- If it sounds like something is bouncing around start over again. This time, however, be sure to find and remove even the smallest particles until the unit runs free of anything still stuck inside it.
If this doesn’t un-jam the disposal, we recommend calling your local San Francisco neighborhood plumber to handle the repair. If you live San Francisco or San Mateo Counties, that would be us: O’Grady Plumbing — (415) 830-9936.
Oh, and here are some tips if your garbage disposal has bad breath:
- Unplug the disposal.
- Use a wire brush and liquid soap to clean under the top within the unit.
- Tip: Use a combination of vinegar, baking soda bleach, and liquid soap along with the use of the wire brush until the kitchen smells like flowers again.
- Next, fill the sink with hot water
- Plug the garbage disposal back into its electrical outlet and run the disposer while it drains.
- Periodically clean the disposal unit to minimalize the odor in your home.
There is a problem should you succeed at the garbage disposal repair, and it comes in the form of future expectations. Were you to succeed at this task, you or your significant other might assume you can make other fixes around the apartment or house.
Be certain to discourage such thoughts. Because when complex problems with pipes and plumbing arise, you really should call us here at O’Grady Plumbing.