How to Reset Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is the one gadget that every American knows is vital in the kitchen. Once you try or use it, you won’t stand a kitchen without it.

Unfortunately, every once in a while, the garbage disposal stops working. You would understand why it does because it’s one of the most mishandled gadgets in the house. It’s not a surprise that the plumbers are still in business because there’s too much to do.

How to Reset Garbage Disposal

Well, instead of calling a plumber for every tiny bit of problem, maybe we should learn to DIY some of the issues. It does save you time and money you know.

Is There A Reset Button on The Garbage Disposal?

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

The very modern garbage disposals are quite powerful and smart. Since the garbage disposal clog and jam a lot of times, the brands are finding easier solution to minimal jams and clogs.

The disposers will shut off the motor automatically if there’s either a clog or jam. In essence, that shields the motor from burning out. It uses the internal breakers to make it automatically shut off. The breakers just shut off by tripping the while disposer.

What follows is that some people worry about it because they don’t know much about it. Here’s the thing though, there’s a way to fix the disposer before you call the plumber.

You have a tiny red button below the garbage disposal that’s called a reset button. Its purpose is to revamp the breakers to start working again. Most of the garbage disposals have them today.

But Is It Always at The Bottom of The Disposer?

Often, the reset button is at the bottom of the garbage disposal. But I have heard some people say that ‘there’s are not at the bottom.

Some brands are making it easier for you to see the garbage disposal reset button; thus you don’t have to bend. It’s sometimes at the front bottom edge of the disposer. You will see it the moment you open the cabinet door if you have any.

Even when it’s at the bottom, it could be hidden, and you, therefore, need to bend to see it. But what if you have that back problem where you literary can’t bend? In that case, you could use a mirror reflection to help you press just the right button.

Remember to use your flashlight since you’re under the sink is mostly dark.

What Happens When You Dont Have A Reset Button?

Sometimes, your unit may not have a reset button and contrary to what you may think, you can still reset your unit. If you don’t have the reset button, you will have the hex keyhole. That hole will fit a standard ¼ inch Allen wrench. The hex key and Allen wrench are the same things.

Often, you will have both the reset button and the hex keyhole. The reset button must reset the disposer, on the other hand, the hex key resets, but it also dislodges the jams in the disposer.

So, you turn it back and forth, clockwise and counter-clockwise and that sets the blades on.

If the Reset Button Wont Start the Disposer?

There are times when not even resetting the disposer will turn it on. When this happens, you will have to use other methods to clear the clog and jam first then come back to reset it again after.

In this case, you can use the snake drain or any other tool that can reach the disposer blades and manually turn them to remove the jam. If you don’t have all the plumber’s device, you can use your wooden kitchen spoon or the wooden handle of your broom.

Tip: always do this thing with your disposer in the plug off mode.

After the dislodging of the clog, try to see if the disposer is now working. And if it’s not, then there may be a deeper problem to deal with.

When Do You Use the Reset Button?

There are two main times when you should use the disposer button as you will see.

The garbage disposal doesnt turn on

Every once in a while, you will have plugged the disposer to the electricity turned it on but it just won’t start running. Often the first thing to do is to check whether the currents are flowing right on the wall switch.

Remove the plug and try the blender or any other appliance in the kitchen to see if they start. If it is working then maybe there’s just a simple clog, and you can use the reset button to revive the disposer.

Tip: always work on the disposer when the power is off. Also, don’t put your hands in the disposer even though you want to remove that foreign object you just dropped in.

Go under the disposer to look for the small red button. Often, you will find it popped out. So, press it back into the disposal then let’s try to rerun the disposal. It should start to run again but if it doesn’t, don’t worry you can troubleshoot the problem.

Most likely you have a jam which you can un jam using the Allen wrench.

Also, it could hum, but it doesnt grind

Once in a while, the garbage will hum, meaning the motor is working, but then it just doesn’t grind. If this is your garbage disposal you shouldn’t worry because we know the problem already. The chances are that its flywheels are stuck. Sometimes it’s because of the obstruction.

It can even go on to automatically switch off as the motor gets heated up. But the good thing is that in resetting the garbage disposal, you could get rid of the clog that’s having the flywheel stuck.

How to Reset the Garbage Disposal

Resetting is the easiest troubleshooting to do since you can do it in a minute. But does it always sort the problem? Sometimes it does.

First: switch off the garbage disposal. This is for your safety.

  • Check the inner parts of the disposer

Check out the inside of the disposer in case you have some visible clogs or any other obstructive objects. If you find one, you can remove it. But don’t ever use your hands use the tongs and pliers to remove it.

  • Find the disposer reset button then press it

Once you have cleared it, go below the disposer to find the small red button. Sometimes it may not be on the disposer bottom. Find it on other parts of the disposer as well.

When you figure out its position, press it in and give it time before you can press it again especially if its not retracted. Try again and if it does reset, begin to run some cold water. Next, switch the disposer on and check if its now running.

Give the disposal a clean with baking soda and vinegar to clear any form of clog left in.

However, if it still won’t turn on then you should try the following method

Resetting the disposer when the reset button is not working or you dont have a reset button

As mentioned in the previous articles, if you run the disposer without enough water or often drop foreign objects it may jam or clog from time to time. Often, the motor will overheat and therefore shut off automatically.

You will also notice that the reset button pops out below the garbage disposal. It’s all supposed to protect the motor form damaging. So sometimes it will end up not working and when this happens you can do the following.

You can use the Allen wrench

use the Allen wrench

Turn the disposer off at the wall switch. You can also unplug the disposer from the outlet that is under the sink.

Get you ¼ inch wrench and insert it in the port at the bottom center and then you can rotate it clockwise and counter clockwise. That will release the jam and clog.

Next, use the wooden handle to reach for the grinding plate in the disposer. Insert it into the disposer through the drainage sink opening. Go on to push the grinding walls for it to start rotating.

Go down below again to rotate the Allen wrench clockwise and anti-clockwise. If you don’t come across any obstruction, chances are that you have released the jam.

Finish off by testing the garbage disposal once more. Let the water run in the sink, plug the disposer and turn it on. Goon to use the reset button. Press it in and see if it starts and if it doesn’t press it in again after about 5 minutes.

It should swiftly start running at this point so you can clean it just to clear the clogs.

Its All Okay Now

As you can see its quite easy to reset the garbage disposal. Even a kid can follow the instruction and have it turn on. However, you shouldn’t let your children handle the disposer.

One thing people forget though is that you need to work the disposer, not having it and not using it. If you don’t use it, chances are that it will jam and need frequent resetting. Often this means that it has corroded which then shortens its lifespan.

When all is said and done, if you still find a problem with the disposer after you have done all this there will be a number of reasons it happens. The disposer may be damaged altogether especially if its old. But before you discard it, call the plumber to advise you.