Clogs happen to every garbage disposal at some point in their lifespan. Perhaps now is your garbage disposal’s time to shine. The switch is on, the motor whirs, and the water runs, but nothing happens. You don’t hear grinding food, and the water is beginning to fill up the sink. So, now what?
Well, luckily, freeing the clog can usually be done with a single tool: an Allen key. But how do you know which size you need? What even is an Allen wrench? Is that the same thing, an Allen key, and a hex wrench? If you’re asking yourself these questions, continue reading to learn more!
What Is An Allen Wrench?
An Allen wrench, also sometimes called an Allen key or a hex key is a type of tool used for tightening or loosening screws and bolts. The tool holds the shape of an L, with one long handle branching at 90 degrees into a shorter end.
The end of the tool is a blunt, hexagon-shaped rod that fits snugly into screw and bolt sockets holding a similar shape. You may have used an Allen wrench if you’ve ever built an end table, chair, office desk, or something similar. Many manufacturers send small versions of the tool with DIY builds to simplify the process of putting the product together.
What Size Allen Wrench Is Used For A Garbage Disposal?
Aside from putting together tables, chairs, and desks, Allen wrenches are also used for various other tasks. They’re often used for unclogging garbage disposals, as they’re the perfect size to fit in the small hexagon hole in the base of the disposal.
If you’ve ever accidentally jammed your garbage disposal and looked to the internet for a solution, you’ll probably find numerous sites telling you to use an Allen key. While you could use a disposal wrench, many people don’t have them lying around.
So, an Allen wrench will usually do the trick. Although the specific size you’ll need depends on the model of garbage disposal, most units require a ¼ inch Allen wrench. This size typically fits the small socket at the bottom of the disposal housing.
Many garbage disposal manufacturers send a garbage disposal wrench with each product for scenarios like this. However, if you can’t find the wrench that came with the unit (or yours didn’t have one), a ¼ inch Allen wrench should do the trick. Of course, since there is some variation, this may not be the correct size for your disposal. But, since so many units are compatible with this Allen key size, it doesn’t hurt to check.
What Size Allen Wrench Do I Need For A Badger Garbage Disposal?
Most of the Badger garbage disposal models require a ¼ inch Allen wrench. There may be some variation from one particular model to the next, so make sure you check with your owner’s manual. For the most part, though, a ¼ inch Allen wrench will do the trick.
How Do You Unjam A Garbage Disposal With An Allen Key?
Every now and again, your garbage disposal may run into clogs, freezing the blades and rendering the system useless. Since your sink usually drains through the garbage disposal, it’s best to address the situation sooner rather than later.
Luckily, loosening clogs isn’t usually an overwhelming ordeal. If you have an Allen key (or hex wrench), you should be able to free the clog. Of course, before you start working on the clog, make sure the disposal switch is in the off position and there isn’t any power to the unit.
Sometimes, a sink plunger lends the perfect amount of suction to free the clog. However, if you don’t have a sink plunger or it doesn’t loosen the blockage, grab an Allen key. If your kitchen sink cabinet is full of random items and parts, you’ll probably want to clear out the area. This creates plenty of space for you to get the task done.
Once the space is clear, lay on your back in the cabinet beneath the sink. Look for the hole in the bottom of the garbage disposal’s housing. It should be a hexagon-shaped socket around the middle of the bottom of the unit.
Insert the wrench into the socket, then turn the wrench forcefully in a counterclockwise motion. Once you feel resistance, rotate the wrench in the opposite direction until it hits resistance again. Work the wrench back and forth to free the impellers until the resistance loosens and you can turn it in a complete circle in both directions.
Then, head back up above the sink and check for large food chunks in the drain. Use kitchen tongs or pliers to pull the visible pieces out. Once the large pieces are out of the way, turn on the water and test the disposal. If it runs normally, congratulations – you did it!
In some scenarios, you may have to resort to alternative methods, like using the reset button to give the garbage disposal a helping hand. Most people can release the clog by themselves, never needing to call in a plumber. So, save yourself some money and give it a go.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who Makes Badger Garbage Disposal Units?
- RELIABLE & EASY INSTALL: Badger Series disposers are a reliable & functional choice when...
- DURABLE COMPONENTS: This garbage disposal features our exclusive 1/2 hp Dura-Drive Induction Motor...
- AMERICA'S #1 DISPOSER BRAND: There are more American-built InSinkErator garbage disposals in US...
- FASTER, CLEANER, SMARTER: From meal prep to cleanup, InSinkErator helps make it fast & easy to keep...
Badger units are part of InSinkErator’s disposal lineup. The company makes several different models in varying sizes to accommodate the needs of different scenarios. You can buy Badger garbage disposals from most major home improvement stores, including Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Lowe’s.