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How to Reset a Garbage Disposal

June 23, 2024

Using a garbage disposal will not only reduce the amount of food waste that goes in the trash but it’ll also save you time and prevent odors from developing in the kitchen.

Like all appliances, however, they can break down or stop working at any time.

In cases like that, you may need to reset the garbage disposal. Depending on what’s causing the malfunction, that may be enough to get it running again.

Where is the garbage disposal reset button? Do you have to turn off the circuit breaker beforehand? How long should you wait after resetting your garbage disposal? For the answers, be sure to read on!

When to Reset Your Garbage Disposal

how to reset a garbage disposalThere are several situations in which you’ll need to reset your garbage disposal. For starters, you’ll want to press the reset button if the unit isn’t turning on or if it isn’t running properly.

You’ll also want to press the reset button if the garbage disposal is making a humming sound as opposed to a grinding noise. That may indicate that one of the internal components may be stuck and resetting the unit may resolve the issue.

Keep in mind, however, that the reset button is only meant for occasional use. If you have to press it frequently for the disposal unit to work, there may be a severe problem that needs addressing.

Where is the Reset Button Located?

For most garbage disposals, the reset button, which pops out about a quarter of an inch or so, will be on the bottom of the unit, underneath the sink. If it’s not on the bottom side, check the sides as well as underneath the company logo.

Tip: Most units will have a red reset button, however, older units may have a black reset button.

How to Reset Garbage Disposal Properly

Before you press the button, make sure the garbage disposal is powered off. This means flipping the breaker switch to the off position or unplugging the power cord.

Once the unit is turned off, you can go ahead and press the reset button; it’ll be instantaneous – you won’t have to hold it down for it to activate.

As soon as you press the button, it should stay retracted. If it pops back out as soon as you press it, wait 10 minutes before trying again – that will give the motor time to cool down.

If the reset button remains pushed in, you can restart the unit.

Testing the Garbage Disposal After Resetting

testing garbage disposal after resettingAfter pressing the reset button, you want to test the garbage disposal to ensure it’s working properly.

Start by flipping the switch back on on the breaker panel. Turn on the faucet and run cold water down the drain opening for a few seconds before turning on the disposal unit.

If all goes well, the garbage disposal should run smoothly again. If it still doesn’t work and the humming noise persists, there may be a larger issue, one that requires a call to the professionals.

Fixing a Jammed Flywheel or Impeller

Start by flipping off the switch on the electrical panel. Using an Allen wrench (most disposals come with the tool), carefully dislodge the jammed flywheel or impeller. To do this, simply turn the wrench clockwise.

Once you’ve dislodged the jam, you can restore power to the unit.

While running cold water into the drain, quickly flip the wall switch on and off a couple of times. That will spin the flywheel and help get rid of any obstructions.

If necessary, you can also use a long wooden spoon to dislocate the object – simply insert it into the drain opening and move it back and forth. Just make sure the power is turned off.

Preventing Garbage Disposal Clogs and Jams

There are several things you can do to prevent your garbage disposal from becoming jammed. Here are some tips.

Be Careful What You Put Into the Disposal

Certain food items should never go down the garbage disposal. For example, you never want to put fibrous or stringy vegetables like celery, asparagus, artichoke, onions, and corn husks down the drain. They can easily get tangled on the blades and cause a clog.

Similarly, you never want to put starchy foods like pasta, rice, and potatoes into the disposal unit. They will expand as soon as they come into contact with water, causing a blockage.

Other foods that don’t belong in the garbage disposal include coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits and seeds, grease, and bones.

Clean Your Garbage Disposal Regularly

active garbage disposal cleanerMaintenance is key to preventing jams and clogs. For starters, you want to run the garbage disposal unit at least once per day while running cool water – that will prevent the blades from rusting.

We also recommend cleaning the disposal unit once to twice a month with ACTIVE Garbage Disposal Cleaner. Simply place one tablet into the drain with cold running water – the tablet will not only eliminate odors but will also help prevent residues from accumulating.

Alternatively, you can clean the disposal with rock salt and ice cubes. Simply pour one cup of rock salt and two cups of ice cubes into the disposal unit and run cold water, before turning on the unit. The salt and ice will help dislodge any food scraps that are present.

Do Not Pour Drain Cleaners Into the Garbage Disposal

Never pour liquid drain cleaners, such as Drano, down the drain. These products contain caustic chemicals such as sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, both of which are extremely corrosive and can damage the garbage disposal, as well as your pipes.

The Garbage Disposal Reset Button – FAQs

When should I press the garbage disposal reset button?

We recommend pressing the reset button if your garbage disposal isn’t turning on or if it’s making a humming nose. Depending on the underlying issue, it may be enough to resolve the problem.

Why is the reset button popping back out as soon I press it in?

If the button pops back out as soon as you push it in, the garbage disposal may be too hot. In cases like that, you want to wait 10 minutes before trying again – that will give the appliance time to cool down.

Do I need to hold the garbage disposal button?

You do not need to hold down the button. Simply press it until you feel or hear a click – it should be instantaneous.

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Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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