The short answer to the question of how to unclog a disposal with a plunger is “you’re using the wrong end”. When a garbage disposal is clogged it likely has lost it’s ability to properly spin and unclog itself. Either something tough like a bone or a large amount of thick food waste like potato skins has jammed the disposal. Using a plunger likely will not unjam the disposal. It will end up sloshing water around your sink and not really remove the clog. You may eventually need to use a plunger if you’ve removed everything from within the disposal, ensured the disposal is working properly, and it still won’t drain. Continue reading to learn how to use a plunger when trying to unclog a garbage disposal.
Sure, but there are other things that need to be tried first before resorting to a plunger. Scroll back up and read through the bulleted list. There are several things to try first!
It most likely has some food lodged in the grinding wheel that is throwing it off balance. Another reason could be that some food has caused it to jam and it is refusing to spin.
You can but there are a lot more effective ways to address the problem first and a drain cleaner probably isn’t going to be the answer to the problem.
A jammed garbage disposal is unfortunately a common problem. Either too much food has been shoved down the disposal at once or a particularly tough bit of food has jammed the grinding wheel. Sometimes toggling on and off the disposal can unjam it but likely you’ll need to manually move the grinding wheel back and forth. You can do this by either inserting an Allen key into the bottom center of the disposal and rotating it back and forth or by inserting the handle end of your plunger or a wooden spoon into the disposal and moving the grinding wheel back and forth. You’ll also want to check try pressing the reset button to make sure the internal circuit breaker didn’t trip and disable the disposal. The reset button is usually located on the bottom of the disposal.
The typical lifespan of a garbage disposal is anywhere from 8 to 15 years. The most common way you’ll know it’s time to replace your disposal is when water begins to leak out of the bottom of it. This is because it has rusted through.
When you insert an Allen wrench into the bottom of your disposal you don’t want to just turn it one way if you’re trying to dislodge food so that it will spin freely again. You’ll want to spin in back and forth. Your disposal only spins one way so spinning it back and forth will allow the food to more easily become free.
Contractor grade garbage disposals, which are usually acceptable for most applications, should cost less than one hundred dollars. It should take a competent plumber less than one hour to install a disposal. Your total bill should be the cost of the disposal, one hour of billable work time, and any fee the plumber may charge for disposal of the old unit.
A garbage disposal will only leak under two circumstances. The disposal was not installed correctly, or the disposal has rusted through due to age and needs to be replaced.
The reset button is usually located on the bottom of the disposal but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they are mounted on the side of the disposal and if the disposal installer was paying attention they installed it so that it is easy to see and reach.
It should take less than one hour to install a garbage disposal. If you’re attempting to do the job yourself it probably wouldn’t take much longer as it is a very straight forward job.
One half horsepower is plenty for the average home but if you heavily use your disposal you may want to step up to a three quarter or one full horsepower disposal.
Unclogging a garbage disposal really isn’t a job primarily for a plunger. You may need it in the end but there are many other things to address prior to resorting to a plunger. It will usually just slosh water around. If you’ve tried everything else then you may then need to resort to a plunger. This is likely only when the clog is in the pipes beyond the disposal itself.
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