If you're busy preparing for a holiday get-together, the last thing you want to deal with is a jammed garbage disposal. Things like plastic eating utensils, baby bottle caps, and even chicken bones can get caught underneath the disposal blades. When that happens, your garbage disposal is going to stop working. If your garbage disposal has decided to be call it quits, you'll need to take action as quickly as possible.
Turn the Power Off
Before you start working on your garbage disposal, make sure you turn the power off first. Look under the sink and locate the power switch on the disposal unit. Flip that to the "off" position. Next, locate the power cord and remove it from the electrical outlet. Place a plastic baggie over the end of the power cord and secure it with a piece of duct tape. This will prevent someone from plugging it back in if you have to step away from the garbage disposal for a moment. Finally, place a piece of duct tape over the on/off switch located on your kitchen wall. It's now safe for you to stick your hand in the garbage disposal, if you need to.
Take a Look Inside
Once you're certain that the power has been turned off to your garbage disposal, you'll need to look inside the unit. Shine a flashlight inside the drain to get a good look. Pay close attention to the areas around and under the disposal blades.
Clear the Jam
If you've located debris under the blades, you'll need to remove it quickly and safely. If you can see the If the object, you can use a pair of pliers. Reach inside the disposal with the pliers, grasp a portion of the object and remove it from the drain. Wait about 5 minutes and then turn the power back on. If the garbage disposal works, you've taken care of the problem. If it doesn't, there might be something wedged under the blades and out of your sight.
Take Evasive Action
If your pliers didn't fix the problem, it means that the blades are jammed. You'll need to take evasive action. Turn the power to the disposal off again and grab your broom handle. Place the broom handle into the garbage disposal. Press the end of the handle up against one of the blades. Using the broom handle, push the blades back and forth until they move freely. Turn the power back on to your garbage disposal and flush with cold water.
Don't let a jammed garbage disposal put a damper on your holiday festivities. Use the tips provided here to get rid of the jam and get your disposal moving freely again. If you can't get the disposal working, call a plumber like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for assistance.