Author Topic: Next steps on problematic garbage disposal  (Read 2186 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Next steps on problematic garbage disposal
« on: November 04, 2015, 06:30:46 PM »
So as has become a custom, I have returned home from a vacation to find something broken in our house  :(

Our garbage disposal has stopped working.

For reference:

Outlet A: kitchen GFCI outlet
Outlet B: outlet under the sink where disposal is normally plugged in

So here is what I have tried:

Reset garbage disposal via button on bottom.
   Result: No change

Reset GFCI in kitchen
   Result: no change

Reset breaker in kitchen
   Result: no change

Plug in disposal to outlet A via extension cord
  Result: Disposal trips GFCI after 1-2 seconds of being turned on

Plug in different device to outlet B
  Result: device does not respond, but starts working again when plugged into outlet A

I'm a little unsure what to make of my results. I can't tell if the outlet or the disposal (or both) is (are) my problem(s).

An advice for next steps before I call a guy? Or am I at that point now?

« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 07:40:33 PM by Psychstache »


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Next steps on problematic garbage disposal
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2015, 07:13:00 PM »
First of all, I think garbage disposals should have their own reset switch located somewhere on the device itself.

Second, it sounds like you have a problem with the disposal and the house wiring. Maybe there was a power surge and it fried two things?

Third, the electrical problem is irrelevant to my advice about the garbage disposal: disconnect it, throw it out, replace it with a normal drain and start composting instead. Garbage disposals are needless complexity (as you well know), waste water and electricity, and cause the sewers to clog up. They're worthless.

My house came with a broken disposal; removing it was pretty much the first thing I did after moving in.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Next steps on problematic garbage disposal
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 03:29:58 AM »
Thats a good one! lol . 

Problem 1:) You said when you plug the garbage disposal into the GFCI , it trips it.   Right off the bat I imagine the garbage disposal  windings are grounding out somewhat on the frame of the disposal...or your sink...., thats my guess to that?   Either way if you have an electrical meter you can test this with the disposal unplugged and your DMM in resistance (ohms) mode. 

Problem 2: The outlet doesn't work with a normal item plugged in.  If your sure said normal item is good,  then something happened to your house wiring, this concerns me.  The breaker should have caught anything before wire damage took place.   If you had a short, your breaker would be tripping. But I don't think it is from reading your story?  So the other options are this,  your breaker isn't resetting? Or you got an open wire somewhere, or the contacts in your outlet burned out.     Whatever happened, it really shouldn't have with modern house wiring with all the components sized correctly.   Idk how good you are with a meter, but this is definitely something you can trace down if your the kinda person who enjoys a challenge.  Somewhere, something is wrong... I know that sounds over simplified, but really, with an electrical problem it can be traced down with just a few measurements, usually. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Next steps on problematic garbage disposal
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2015, 06:40:47 AM »
Have you used a hex wrench underneath to turn it and be sure nothing is stuck in it like plastic or metal? 90% of the time this fixes it. Does it hum before it trips?