Nothing is more frustrating than scraping the plates in the sink only to turn the disposal on and having it not work. Here are three common disposal problems and what you can do about them.

Why Is There No Power?

If you flip the switch and nothing happens, take a look at your circuit breaker or fuse box and see if the circuit your disposal is on has been tripped at all. Once you verify that isn't the problem, grab a flashlight, and head back to the disposal. Look around under the disposal for a little red reset button. If the button is popped out, whoever used the disposal last probably got it jammed up, and the disposal motor overheated, shutting itself off for protection. Push the button, and with water running in the sink, quickly turn the disposal on to test for power. If it does turn on, note if it sounds strange. If the button pops out again right away, it is likely jammed. If you hear nothing at all when you flip the switch, the disposal motor is likely blown, which means it's time for a new disposal.

How Does My Disposal Get Jammed?

A garbage disposal is great because it reduces the amount of garbage produced. But some things shouldn't get disposed. Fibrous veggies are a no-no. Corn husks, potato peels, and celery and rhubarb can easily jam up the disposal. Pasta and rice may seem harmless enough, but they continue to absorb water, expanding in the trap, which can eventually cause a clog. Utensils and little kitchen gadgets that accidentally slip down the drain are another cause of clogs. Don't ever put stress on your disposal by trying to grind up bones, and of course grease should never go down the drain.

Use a pair of tongs to feel around down the drain to see if anything if there is a fork or anything obvious down the drain. Avoid sticking your hand down there for safety's sake. Then look on your disposal for a little pocket or clip holding a small Allen wrench. On the bottom of the disposal will be a little hole in the center. Insert the wrench and turn the masher plates to free the jam. If this doesn't work, you will have to call a plumber for a kitchen repair at this point.

Why Is my Disposal Leaking Gross Garbage Juice?

Your rubber gasket may need replacing or your drain connections may be loose. But if those are all good, it may be coming from the disposal itself, which probably means it's time for a new one. If you need a second opinion, contact a plumber like Aumenta Plumbing & Heating Co.