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Garbage Disposal Reset Button Not Working: Fix

Sometimes your garbage disposal can overload and stop working. This is because all garbage disposals come with an electrical circuit that trips when it gets overloaded. Once this circuit is tripped, it cuts off the current to the disposer causing it to stop.

The function of this overload tripping circuit is to save the garbage disposal from any electrical damages. Once the circuit is tripped, it needs to be reset for the disposal to work again. For this purpose, the circuit comes with an external button. This button is called the reset button of a garbage disposal.

When the circuit is tripped, this reset button pops out. When it is pushed back into position, the electrical circuit becomes active again, and the garbage disposal starts to work.

However, in some cases, when tripped, you won’t be able to reset the garbage disposal with the button. In such cases, the reset button will keep popping out no matter how many times you push it in. This happens because the garbage disposal keeps getting overloaded possibly because something is jamming the disposal.

If pushing the reset button is not working, one should unjam the garbage disposal. Here is how it is done;

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. Unplug the garbage disposal

    The first step is to disconnect the garbage disposal from the main power supply unless you want to get electrocuted during the unjamming process. If your disposal is hardwired, turn off the circuit breaker from the mains.

  2. Locate the jam

    Use a flashlight and look into the disposer through the sinkhole. See if you can find anything that is jamming the disposal. It could be food debris or some foreign objects like spoons or broken glasses. Suppose you find anything you can remove, remove it with the help of a pair of needle-nose pliers. Please do not put your hand into the disposal even though it is disconnected from the mains.

  3. Unjam with a wrench

    If there is nothing jamming the disposal large enough for you to see, rotate its blades with an Allen wrench. Insert a 1/4 inch Allen wrench into the hex hole under the disposal and rotate it to and fro until the blades are free. If there is no hex hole beneath your disposer, use a long broom handle and rotate the blades by inserting it through the sinkhole. Repeat this until the blades start to rotate freely.

  4. Push the reset button

    Once the jam is cleared, push the reset button again. It should stay in place now.

  5. Turn on the garbage disposal

    Once the reset button is pushed back, plug the disposal back in and turn it on. It should start running now.

Here is a detailed guide on how to unjam a garbage disposal.

What if the reset button is not staying in position

If the reset button is not staying pushed in after loosening the blades from any jams, there must be some problems with its wiring. In most cases, trying to repair this can cost as much as buying a new disposer, so the general advice is to replace it with a new one.

What if the disposal is not working yet

If your garbage disposal is not working even after following the above steps, there must be some problems with the motor or the electrical connections. As a last resort, please check if electricity reaches your disposer. You can use a non-contact multimeter to check the voltage.

If there is power going to the garbage disposal, it is possible that its motor is burnt out. I advise asking for professional help if this is the case.

My name is Thomas Anderson, and I have worked briefly as a plumber. Even though I am currently working on a different career path I still help out my friends and family with their plumbing issues. This is a hobby blog where I share my knowledge with the audience through random articles. Through this blog, I hope to address some common questions about garbage disposals.