My garbage disposal won’t run. It seems like it might be jammed. What should I do? Will it need to be replaced?

It may not necessarily need to be replaced. There are a few things that you can try before considering replacing it. First, be sure that the breaker is turned off to it, or, if it plugs into a receptacle, unplug it. If it is on a switch, be sure it is turned off, and, for good measure, we would still recommend that you find the breaker to it and turn that off also, especially if it is hardwired.

Then, try to remove whatever may be down in the chamber of the disposal. There may be some fibrous food material, or it could be something rigid like a spoon or fork that is blocking it.

Next, find the proper sized allen wrench or see if a “key” (in this case, an offset allen wrench that is provided with most garbage disposal units) is nearby. With either of these two items, find an allen wrench-sized socket on the underside of the disposal unit. It should be located in the center, on the bottom of the unit. Fit the key or allen wrench into the socket and gently try to turn it. If there remains a clog and it is not too significant, you should be able to turn the blades of the unit manually in this manner. DO NOT turn on the unit while the key or allen wrench is in the bottom of it.

Find the reset button to the unit. This often is located on the bottom of the disposal unit. Press it in.

Restore power to the unit (either by turning on the breaker, plugging it back in, etc.). Turn on the switch, while running water down the drain. If it still does not work. then it may be time to consider replacing it as the motor or something else may be damaged.