garbage disposal suddenly not working

raee_gwAugust 19, 2010

Yesterday it was fine--today when I flipped the switch--SILENCE! Reset button did nothing. Checked the circuit breaker--it is fine (as is everything else on that circuit.

Is it the unit itself (approx. 6 years old) or could something have happened to the power source, like the switch itself needs replaced? Looking for suggestions before I go buy a new one. Thanks!

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Assume you're talking in no tell-tale buzz or anything.

Before doing anything else I would do two things:

1) Use the little allen-wrench crank and make sure the innards are free to spin.

2) Get an extension cord and plug it into an outlet that you've verified is working. Test the cord's outlet so you're certain it's passing juice OK. Then plug the disposal into this known-good power source.

That will isolate your problem to the unit itself or to the outlet its plugged into. Whole procedure shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes and you'll have learned most of what you need to know.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 3:31PM
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Thanks, asolo,
Yep, you are right, dead silence.

I used the crank--no jam. Unfortunately the unit is hard wired, so I can't try the extension cord (great idea though). I see the wiring goes into a box which also seems to have the dishwasher wired into. The dishwasher works. I think tomorrow I will stop and get a new wall switch; hopefully that is the culprit.

but will disposers just suddenly die like that without warning?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:06PM
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Absolutely, yes....if they don't get power!

What you described sounds as if no power.

Typical connection situation is cord from the disposal plugged into outlet under the sink. I mistakenly assumed that's what you had.

Back to original some means, get actual power to the unit. It is unusual for such units to just quit. Strongly suspect power interruption.

Power connection to the unit is a pretty simple thing. Maybe just disconnect it from existing source and temporarily wire in a regular cord and plug to check it out. If you take the right cover off, its just a bunch of wire-nuts in there. You'll figure it out in no time.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Maybe a wire connection came loose due to vibration. Might want to drop the unit, lay it on it's side, and open the plate on the bottom to check the connections inside.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:49PM
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It was the wall switch!
Longest part of the job was figuring out exactly which circuit breaker--2 outlets, 2 switches, and 3 appliances along that wall = 4 differenct circuit breakers. Plus another one for the rest of the kitchen.

Thanks for your help--you saved me a buncha money.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:24PM
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Good on ya! Thanks for coming back with the outcome.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:10PM
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Use a switch better than a $0.49 one for an induction motor load like a GD.

The contacts are not very good in the bargain basement switches.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:08PM
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