Garbage disposals are a handy addition to the kitchen. No need to meticulously pluck all of the tiny food scraps out of the sink (okay, maybe it’s not that bad). Simply rinse the leftover scraps down the drain and flip the switch. Just like that. Done.
But what happens when the handy-dandy tool goes on strike and requires resetting? Well, it depends on a few things. We’re here to help, so continue reading to learn more!
In This Article
Yep, most garbage disposals have a reset button somewhere or other. Usually, the reset button appears in the form of a small red button on the bottom or lower back portion of the device. The reset button is considered an industry standard by most garbage disposal manufacturers.
However, if you have an older garbage disposal model, it might not have the convenient little button. Garbage disposals typically last about ten years or so before they tap out and require a replacement. If your device is on the older end of the spectrum, there’s a chance it might not have a reset button.
If your garbage disposal doesn’t have a reset button and you have no idea how to accomplish a reset, no worries. We’ll get to that in a few sections.
Why Does A Garbage Disposal Need To Be Reset?
Garbage disposals require resetting from time to time for various reasons. Usually, the disposal’s internal circuit trips automatically due to a clog, overheating, or motor overloads due to something else.
The reason it trips is to prevent the device from burning out. When the circuit breaker trips, the reset button pops out about a quarter of an inch.
The process of resetting a garbage disposal depends on the specific model. Since there are various brands, each with different models, we’ll give a generic overview of resetting the device. Moen, InSinkErator, Waste King, and Whirlaway all make several different models, which complicates offering a catch-all answer.
For this example, we’ll look at resetting a Badger 5 garbage disposal. This is one of InSinkErator’s disposal models and is among the best-selling options in the United States. So, given its popularity, there’s a good chance a few of you have this brand. Either way, this will give a good idea as to resetting the disposal.
Since the garbage disposals usually shut down because of a clog, you’ll need to clear the clog before pressing the reset button. In this case, the reset button is on the bottom of the canister. Here’s what you’ll need to clear the clog and reset the system:
InSinkErator clog-clearing wrenchette
To reset the system, start by shutting off the switch controlling the unit. Unplug the unit. Next, insert the wrenchette into the slot on the bottom of the disposal canister.
Use the wrenchette to twist the rotor back and forth. This helps clear out debris in the gap between the rotor and shredding plate. There’s a flywheel in the device that turns the impellers to grind food waste. If this gets stuck, the impellers can’t rotate, which causes all sorts of issues.
Turning on the water can help things move more freely. Continue moving the rotor back and forth until it moves without catching.
Remove the wrenchette. Plug in the unit, then press the red reset button. Turn on the faucet and flip the switch. Check for normal function. If there’s a stubborn clog, you may have to repeat the process a few times before it clears completely.
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If your garbage disposal predates the era of fancy reset buttons, you can still reset the system. The only difference is it takes a bit more work on your part. Instead of holding the button and having the device mostly fix itself, you get to be the fixer.
Here’s a quick method to reset the system (or unclog the blades):
- Turn off the wall switch controlling the garbage disposal, then unplug the device from the wall.
- Use a garbage disposal wrench and insert it into the center opening at the bottom of the unit. Turn counterclockwise, then clockwise to loosen and free the blades.
- Plug the device back into the outlet, then turn on the cold water in the sink. Allow it to flow into the garbage disposal.
- Turn the garbage disposal on and ensure it reset successfully.
- If it did, congratulations! No red reset button is necessary.
Perhaps you ran through the other steps, but the fix doesn’t seem to work. Despite your best efforts, the reset button on the garbage disposal isn’t working. Well, there are a few reasons for the malfunction as well.
If the reset button won’t stay retracted in the device, wait about ten minutes, then try the reset process again. Make sure there isn’t a residual clog in the disposal and that the blade can turn freely. If the button refuses to stay in or you repeatedly need to reset it, the disposal might need to be serviced or replaced.