Americans and Canadians usually take excellent water and sewer service for granted even though the bills for water tend to keep climbing. From cooking in the kitchen, doing laundry, or brushing our teeth, the functions of the plumbing system almost go unnoticed...until something goes wrong. Most plumbing systems are connected to public water supply and sewer systems but older homes and country properties may be serviced by private systems. Private systems are almost always going to be more problematic and hence expensive to operate and maintain than public systems.

Private systems usually have a limited life expectancy and when/if they need to be replaced, a new well can cost $10,000.00 or more, while a high-tech septic system usually starts at $15,000.00 and up. These replacements rarely present themselves as options and are frequently major budget busters.

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If the garbage disposal won't turn on but makes a humming sound when you flip the switch, it won't do that for long. That means you have a stuck flywheel and the reset button on the unit itself or the fuse or circuit breaker in your electrical service panel will trip and turn off very quickly. The flywheel is stuck because something is lodged between it or the impeller(s) and the shredder ring.

  • To start the repair, turn off power to the garbage disposal at the electrical service panel.
  • Reminder: Don't ever put your hand down into the garbage disposal hopper (grinding chamber).
  • Take the offset wrench that came with the disposal unit and insert the wrench into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don't have the wrench you can pick one up from the hardware store that sells your garbage disposal.
  • Once the wrench is inserted, turn it clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you'll feel the flywheel turn freely.
  • Another approach is to try and use a wooden broom-handle or similar wooden object to free the stuck impeller and flywheel from the top of the unit through the drain.
  • Place the broom-handle into the hopper and against an impeller. Use leverage to try and free the stuck flywheel. As before, when it dislodges you'll feel the flywheel turn freely.

(From MPL) A jammed garbage disposer can usually be loosed by rotating it backwards. Many units have a large hex type wrench attached to the body for this purpose. The wrench fits into the bottom center and allows safe leverage to run the unit. If there is no hex access on the bottom, a wooden broom handle stuck down into the throat will sometimes do the trick. Make sure the power is off when/if you attempt to do this. DON'T but you hand down into a disposer in an attempt to clean/clear it

Recent Video | How to unclog a garbage disposal

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