Sink Disposal Jammed Up

Problem: Sink disposal becomes jammed because of material dropped into it which cannot be ground up.

Background: Most in-sink disposals are faithful servants, but occasion ally some become jammed by foreign objects accidentally dropped into them, or by highly fibrous waste, such as corn husks, lima bean pods, or artichoke leaves. Usually most vegetable and table scraps are no problem, but whole rinds, grape fruit skins, or corn cobs should be cut into smaller pieces before being fed into the disposal. Disposals are not intended to grind items made of glass, metal, leather, cloth, rubber, string, feathers, plastic, or paper.

What to do: Clearing a sink disposal is usually easy; however, be careful to avoid personal injury or causing damage to the unit. To free a jam, turn off water and turn the disposal power switch to “off.” Then remove as much food waste as possible using a pair of long-handled tongs or pliers. Many manufacturers sup ply a small wrench to clear jams. Insert one end of wrench into the hole underneath the unit, and work it back and forth until it moves freely for at least one complete turn. Re move the wrench, wait 5 minutes to let the disposal motor cool, then press the reset button at the bottom of the unit. Turn on the water and the disposal and let them run until all debris has been thoroughly flushed out.
   If your unit does not have a wrench, or if you can’t find yours (wrenches are best kept taped to a pipe near the disposal under the sink), then try using a broom handle or something similar. Remove ex cess material with tongs. Then push the broom handle down inside the disposal so it contacts with the grinding blades. Work the flywheel (the moving mechanism you see when looking down into the disposal) back and forth, remove any additional material, and press the reset button. Turn on the water and the disposal.

Special advice: Do not put your fingers or hands in the disposal at any time. To avoid possible injury which may be caused by the unit expelling hazardous material, do not use it to grind clam or oyster shells, glass, china, plastic, large whole bones, or any metal. Don’t put chemical drain cleaners or lye into the disposal. A spoon, bottle cap, or other foreign object dropped into the unit will probably make loud, unusual noises. To clear, turn off the disposal and the water, remove the object, and continue grinding.

Helpful hint: If the motor does not restart, make sure you have pushed the reset button. If it still doesn’t work, check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. If a unit without a reset button won’t start, the overload protector may be defective and the motor may have to be replaced.




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