How to Reset A Garbage Disposal

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Garbage disposals are one of those gadgets that you may not fully understand until it no longer works. Then panic sets in as you determine whether to seek assistance from the internet or search for a professional to repair the device because most individuals do not know how garbage disposal operates or how to begin repairing one.

This is also why many people are unaware of the disposal’s built-in safety mechanism, which will turn off the machine automatically if there is a jam or overheating. This blog post will walk you through how to reset a garbage disposal. It is a very simple process and should only take a few minutes.

Required Tools

  • Flashlight
  • Tongs
  • Pliers
  • Allen wrench

How to Reset A Garbage Disposal: Procedure

 Reset A Garbage Disposal
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1. Ensure the Disposal Is Off

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that the garbage disposal is turned off. A switch on the wall near the sink should control the power to the disposal unit. If there is no switch, find the circuit breaker in your home’s breaker box and flip it to the “Off” position.

Once you have verified that the power is off, plug in the disposal unit if it is not already plugged in. If your disposer has a cord, wrap it around so it will stay out of your way while you work.

2. Check for Obstructions

The next step is to check for any obstructions in the disposal unit. Shine a flashlight into the opening of the disposer and look for any objects causing a blockage. If you see anything, use tongs or pliers to remove the item.

Be very careful when reaching into the disposal unit, as there are sharp blades inside that can cause serious injury.

3. Locate the Reset Button

With any visible obstructions removed, the garbage disposal should be able to run without overheating. Look for a red reset button similar to a GFCI outlet on the bottom of the garbage disposal or along the side near the device’s base. If you can’t find it, consult your user manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information.

4. Push the Reset Button

The red reset button comes out when the safety system is activated by a jam or overheating. Simply pushing the reset button will reset the system. However, the disposal may still be too hot if the button pops out after pressing it in. Allow for 10 minutes to pass before attempting again.

5. Test the Disposal

You’ll need to test the disposal after resetting it to ensure it’s operating effectively. Run cold water down the drain for a few seconds before turning on the switch to check if the garbage disposal is clear and functioning properly.

The garbage disposal should start up immediately and sound normal if it is free of obstructions. If you hear a weird humming, instantly turn off the device since it has gotten jammed.

6. Dislodge Jams and Retest

If your garbage disposal is still not working after following the steps above, you likely have a more serious issue. Carefully reach into the disposal with tongs or pliers to remove any remaining foreign objects.

Once everything has been removed, reset the garbage disposal and test it again. You may need to call a professional for assistance if it is still not working.

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InSinkErator Garbage Disposal
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The Bottom Line

We hope this blog post helped walk you through the process of how to reset garbage disposal. Remember to exercise caution when reaching into the disposer unit, as sharp blades are inside. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us; we would be happy to help.


How often should I reset my garbage disposal?

If your garbage disposal is frequently jamming or overloading, you may need to reset it more often. However, in most cases, once a month should suffice.

Can I put ice cubes down the garbage disposal to sharpen the blades?

You can put ice cubes down the garbage disposal to sharpen the blades. Additionally, this will help clean any built-up gunk that may be stuck on the blades.

What should I do if I can’t find the reset button?

If you can’t find the reset button, consult your user manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information. You may also need to call a professional for assistance.

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