Although garbage disposals are integral to many kitchens and work well (most of the time), they can be somewhat finicky. Without the proper precautions, you might run into issues here and there. That said, some problems are avoidable, while others aren’t.
So, if your Moen garbage disposal isn’t working for an undetermined reason, you’re in the right place. We put together a guide to help you troubleshoot your on-strike garbage disposal, so stick around to learn more!
Why Is My Moen Garbage Disposal Not Working?
When your Moen garbage disposal abruptly stops working or refuses to function correctly, troubleshooting can be tricky (especially if you don’t know what is causing the issue). Luckily, there are a few common reasons why these units go on strike, including the following:
- There’s a blockage in the canister or drain pipe.
- The impellers are frozen or stuck.
- The fiber optic cable is damaged or disconnected.
- The air switch is damaged or disconnected.
- The cherry switch is stuck.
- The wall switch isn’t working.
- The power cord is damaged or disconnected.
How To Fix A Moen Garbage Disposal
The correct steps to repair your Moen garbage disposal vary based on the problem. In most cases, the issue falls to a blockage or power issue, so the following sections outline how to address these issues. Since there are several ways you can power your disposal, there’s a section devoted to each type.
1) Remove The Blockage
Unfortunately, blockages go hand-in-hand with garbage disposals. As mentioned, garbage disposals can be somewhat finicky. You’ll probably encounter issues if you don’t run cool water while operating the appliance or send something down the drain that is unsafe for the disposal.
Most of the time, these actions result in a clog somewhere in the canister or drain pipe. To troubleshoot this issue, you can approach it in a few different ways. We outline these methods in this guide.
2) Manually Move The Impellers
Sometimes, the impellers will get stuck or frozen due to a foreign object in the canister. While this technically classifies as a blockage, it can be easy to miss small objects that could cause issues within the canister, so we’ll address this problem separately.
For example, a bone fragment could be wedged underneath one of the impellers, freezing them in place. Or, a spoon could be wedged inside the canister, causing the blades to become stuck. Either way, here’s what you’ll need:
- Long-handled wooden spoon
- Kitchen tongs or pliers
- Hex wrench (as needed)
First, turn off the power to the garbage disposal. You should never stick anything into the garbage disposal (especially your hands) when there is power to the unit. Once you turn the power to the unit off, look inside the canister with your flashlight.
Look for any potential obstructions, like a bone fragment or piece of silverware. Use a pair of kitchen tongs or pliers to remove the offending article. If you can’t find anything, use the handle of a wooden spoon to spin the blades carefully, moving the turntable clockwise and counterclockwise. Gently push them in each direction, ensuring the blades spin freely.
If the blades don’t move easily, use a hex wrench to turn them manually. Insert the hex key into the small hole in the bottom of the garbage disposal, then gently turn the blades.
3) Check The Fiber Optic Cable
Some Moen garbage disposals feature a fiber optic switch. Fiber optic switches mimic the appearance of a sink hole cover that you use to turn the garbage disposal on and off. If you have this type of garbage disposal, you will find a fiber optic cable running from the above-deck switch to the outlet below.
Examine this cable for damage and ensure it isn’t disconnected. If you find damage, you’ll need to replace the cable. However, these cables are obsolete, so you’ll need to replace them with an air switch. Generally, it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional for this process.
4) Examine The Air Switch
Sometimes, your Moen garbage disposal might activate via an air switch. This activation mechanism features a button that you press to turn on the disposal. There’s a tube that extends from the above-deck air switch button to the outlet underneath the sink.
If you have this type of activation mechanism, check the tube for damage or connectivity. If the tube is disconnected or has a loose connection, reconnect the pieces firmly to fix the issue. However, if the tube has damage, you’ll need to replace the entire tube.
5) Check The Cherry Switch
Many batch-feed Moen garbage disposals feature a cherry switch built into the side wall of the housing. Sometimes, this switch can get stuck or break, causing the unit to stop working entirely. If this is the case, you might need to replace the entire unit.
Contact Moen’s customer service for assistance troubleshooting unit replacement if the cherry switch fails. In some cases, the product may be covered under warranty.
6) Examine The Power Cord
Sometimes, the power cord might be the culprit. Many garbage disposals feature a power cord, so if your Moen garbage disposal has one, check the cord to ensure it’s firmly connected. If the connections look fine, examine the cord for damage.
You may need to replace the entire cord if there’s visible damage.
7) Double-Check The Wall Switch
Many garbage disposals operate via a wall switch near the kitchen sink. To activate the garbage disposal, you flip the switch. However, it can be hard to pinpoint when this switch stops working.
In many cases, the switch stops working due to a tripped breaker. So, if you have other outlets on the same circuit, check those for function. If they don’t work, reset the breaker at your home’s electrical service panel (breaker box). However, if the breaker continually trips, the circuit may be overloaded or have other issues, so you should have an electrician examine it for damage.
If resetting the breaker doesn’t work, try resetting the entire system. Follow the steps listed under the heading below. Or, if neither process works, it might be due to a burnt-out or faulty unit, which will likely require replacement.
How Do I Reset A Moen Garbage Disposal?
To reset a Moen garbage disposal, you simply need to press the red reset button. Locate the red reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal canister (this part is underneath the sink) on the opposite side of the discharge elbow. Press the visible button to reset the system, then check for proper function.
You can use these same steps for scenarios where the internal breaker trips. If resetting the system doesn’t fix the problem, you might need to replace the entire appliance. In the event you need to replace the unit, you can either install the unit yourself or hire a professional to handle the installation.