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Whirlaway Garbage Disposal Not Working

The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Garbage disposal not working are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.

Most Frequent Causes for Garbage disposal not working

For the most accurate results, enter your model number.


Cause 1Start Switch

Some garbage disposer models have a stopper switch (or batchfeed stopper). The batchfeed stopper activates the start switch to start the disposer. If the start switch is defective, the disposer will not turn on. To determine if the start switch is defective, use a multimeter to test the start switch for continuity. If the start switch does not have continuity, replace it.

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Cause 2Wall Switch

If the garbage disposer plugs into a wall outlet, determine if the outlet is getting power. If the unit is not plugged into a wall outlet, use a multimeter to test the wall switch for continuity. In addition, check the home circuit breakers or fuses.

Cause 3Reset Button Tripped

On most garbage disposals there is a reset button on the bottom, If the button is popped out it has tripped. Press the button in to reset it. Confirm the shredding plate turns freely. If the plate is jammed the reset button will trip again. If the shredding plate cannot be freed up the garbage disposal will need to be replaced.

Cause 4Non-Serviceable Motor

The disposer motor is not replaceable—if the disposer motor is defective or worn out, you must replace the entire disposer.

Cause 5Start Switch Is Stuck

If your disposer uses the stopper to turn the unit on and off, and it won't turn, the start switch is either stuck or damaged. You can try removing and reinserting the stopper several times to attempt to get the start switch to work properly. If the unit still won't turn on running, the start switch will need to be replaced. To keep the disposer from running, you will have to either unplug the power cord or shut off the breaker to the garbage disposer.

Cause 6Incoming Power Problem

Garbage disposers can be either plugged into an outlet or hardwired in. They may be actuated by a wall switch. If the unit is plugged into an accessible wall outlet you can plug another small appliance into the outlet to confirm there is power. If you cannot access the incoming power connection easily, confirm the circuit breaker suppling power to the disposer has not tripped or the fuses have not blown.

Cause 7Safety Switch

If the garbage disposer won't turn or run at all the safety switch may be tripped. The switch protects the motor when the grinding plate gets jammed. The switch on the side or bottom of the disposer has a RED button on it that can be pushed to re-set. If the disposer still will not run after button is pushed the grinding table may be jammed. Use the disposer wrench (or a 1/4 inch Allen wrench) inserted into the bottom center of the disposer to wiggle it back and forth to free it. If your model does not have an opening in the bottom for the wrench a wooden broom handle can be inserted into the top of the disposer to turn the plate to free it.

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