How to Reset Garbage Disposal

One of those items that you might not completely appreciate until it breaks down is a garbage disposal. Because most individuals don’t understand how a trash disposal functions or how to start fixing one, panic then sets in as you try to decide whether to consult the internet or immediately search for a professional to repair the device.

This is another reason why many people are unaware that the disposal includes an integrated safety mechanism that would shut it down instantly in the case of overheating or jam.

How Can I Reset My Garbage Disposal Easily?

There’s a simple little method you should be aware of that will enable you to reset your garbage disposal if it stops working. The trick involves a small red reset button that can be found at the bottom of the appliance.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to reset a garbage disposal by showing you where to look for the button, explaining how to operate it, and discussing the kinds of situations in which it could be helpful.

You Might Need These Tools

  • Flashlight
  • Tongs
  • Pliers
  • Allen wrench

1. Make Sure the Disposal Is Turned Off

turn off garbage disposal

When using a garbage disposal, your safety must come first. It’s necessary to have the disposal switched off in order to prevent electric discharge from the motor or wires while you operate, in addition to absolutely not inserting your hand into the disposal. 

After turning off the switch for the garbage disposal, flip the switch on your circuit panel designated for the garbage disposal or the entire kitchen. This added precaution guarantees your safety while you work; however, you might need to use a portable work lamp or flashlight or if the breaker switch also operates the room’s lighting.

2. Inspect for Obstructions

steps to reset garbage disposal

Utilizing your flashlight, peer down into the garbage disposal. A spoon, a piece of jewelry, or even huge bones are examples of obstructions that frequently cause a disposal to overheat. If there are any obvious obstacles, attempt to remove them by using a pair of tongs or a long pair of pliers.

Even when the disposal’s power is off, it is still not advisable to stick your hand inside of it. You never know when someone in the house may flip the switch back on without considering whether to inquire as to why it was initially off. In these situations, it’s advisable to err on the side of caution.

You might want to see our guide on How to Get Something From a Garbage Disposal.

3. Locate the Reset Button

garbage disposal reset button

Any obvious obstructions should be cleared away so that the waste disposal may operate normally without overheating.

waste king reset button

You can find a red reset button that looks like the reset button on a GFCI outlet at the bottom of the trash disposal or on the side of the appliance next to the base.

American standard garbage disposal reset button

If you’re having trouble finding this button, look in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website for more precise instructions.

4. Press the Reset Button

When a jam or overheating triggers the safety system, the red reset button will usually pop out. Simply pressing the reset button will reset the system. However, if you push the button and it pulls out, it means the disposal is still excessively hot. Before attempting again, give the garbage disposal around 10 minutes to cool off.

5. Test the Disposal

The garbage disposal has to be tested to ensure that it is operating properly after resetting. Before flipping on the switch, turn the unit’s power back on and pour cold water down the drain for a few seconds.

The garbage disposal should start up right away and sound normal if it is clean and operating properly. However, if the garbage disposal emits a loud hum, shut it off right away because it’s clogged. At this point, you’ll need an Allen wrench to reset it.

How to Reset Garbage Disposal With Allen Wrench

Most manufacturers commonly include a product-specific wrench in the garbage disposal box. If you lose yours or it wasn’t included, you can buy a set of Allen wrench from Amazon Basics Store or your neighborhood home center. 

allen wrench
Allen wrench (aka hex key)

You will need this tool if the reset button did not solve the problems or if disposals do not have a reset button. All you need to do to reset the disposal using an Allen wrench is to insert it and turn it till it is totally unclogged. Before working on the disposal, turn the power off once again.

Step 1: Locate the hex socket in the center of the waste disposal unit’s underside. It is located inside a tiny, round aperture in the motor housing.

how to reset a garbage disposal

Put the hex wrench into this socket, then rock it back and forth to clear the jam or make sure the impellers are unblocked. The impeller hub is directly attached to this socket, and turning the wrench generally frees whatever is obstructing the disposal.

Step 2: Stop turning the Allen wrench when you feel the obstruction has been eliminated and the motor shaft is spinning freely. You can apply some force to remove the obstruction from the motor shaft, but you should support the garbage disposer while doing so.

Step 3: After the jam has been entirely cleared, take the Allen wrench out of the socket and connect the garbage disposal back into an outlet or switch on its circuit breaker to turn it back on.

Step 4: You’re almost done with your work. You only need to perform a test run again to see if the garbage disposal is operating normally and if the problem has been fully resolved. There you go!

If the disposal does not work properly after the above steps, you should contact a professional or purchase a new disposal. You might want to compare the features of Waste King vs Insinkerator.

Frequently Asked Questions for Resetting Garbage Disposal

What Should I Do If the Allen Wrench Does Not Turn?

Having trouble turning the Allen wrench when repairing the garbage disposal is not unusual. All you need is a strong force to turn it.

In most cases, it doesn’t turn easily and feels as if it won’t turn at all when you’ve inserted the Allen wrench. This is because it could be difficult to remove the obstruction. Even though you would think that trying to force the Allen wrench to rotate will break it, that won’t happen.

The Allen wrench is made to withstand a lot of strain and dislodge even the hardest jams and obstructions. So, if it doesn’t turn, don’t be afraid to use all of your strength to turn it. Just make sure you are spinning the Allen wrench firmly while providing a sturdy support for the garbage disposal unit.

Can I Use Garbage Disposal Wrench Instead of the Allen Wrench?

There are generally three sorts of wrenches that are suitable for garbage disposal. Accordingly, you can substitute the product-specific tool for the garbage disposal wrench or use the Allen wrench instead.

The garbage disposal wrench was created specifically to fix and unclog various types of garbage disposals. This wrench differs significantly from the product-specific wrench and the Allen wrench in terms of both construction and usage. 

The product-specific wrenches are often made differently for particular brands or types of garbage disposal. So, you might not be able to use it in place of a garbage disposal wrench if there isn’t a product-specific wrench for the model of disposal you’re using.

Using an Allen wrench with a diameter of 1/4 inch is the ideal choice for replacing the garbage disposal wrench. In most cases, a quarter-inch Allen wrench fits exactly into the hex hole of the garbage disposal. It would thus be the best choice for all sorts.

Bottom Line

When the overload protector—typically a tiny red button located on the bottom of your disposal—protrudes, it’s time to reset the device. The most common causes of this are jamming or overheating of the disposal.

Pressing the button is the easy way to fix the problem. But it doesn’t work if the obstruction is large. You’ll have to use an Allen wrench instead.

An Allen wrench will solve the problem satisfactorily as long as the size and

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