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I moved in to a new house a few months ago and the other day I noticed my garbage disposal stopped working. The unit is an Insinkerator Badger 1 with 1/3 HP. When I flip the switch I can hear the unit humming, but nothing happens. The reset button is not out (although I did try pressing it anyway just for fun). The unit plugs in to an outlet under the sink, so I did plug something else in just to confirm that the outlet itself works.

I tried using an Allen wrench to turn the motor from under the sink but no amount of my (admittedly weak) strength was able to get it to move. I can stick something down the sink and rotate both of the things freely, so I don't think there's anything stuck down there.

At this point I'm starting to think the unit just decided to die on me, but I'm not sure if there's something left I should try.

  • Do you have any sense of how old the unit is? Typical faults in old motor things: brushes, bearings, seals, switches. If it's fairly old, a new one is probably a good call. If it's pretty new and you have time/inclination, take it apart and look for anything obvious. You might get lucky. – Aloysius Defenestrate Aug 31 at 21:52
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    Try inserting a broom stick into the disposal and try to pry the round plate connected to the motor..... this will give you more leverage that the Allen wrench. – JACK Aug 31 at 22:26
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate My best guess is that it's the original unit that came with the house in 2006, so plenty old. – Eabryt Aug 31 at 23:16
  • @JACK are you saying from inside the sink? I was able to turn the two bottle cap type things with the butt end of a spatula, I'm not sure what else would be able to turn/move. – Eabryt Aug 31 at 23:16
  • the whole bottom spins... – JACK Aug 31 at 23:18
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Try inserting a broom stick into the disposal and try to pry the round plate connected to the motor..... this will give you more leverage that the Allen wrench.

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Depending upon the problem and / or age, attempting to rotate the drum is the very best way to get it working again.

If you let it "hum" long enough, it will trip the overload in the unit and you'd have to reset it. Kudos to you for not going that route.

Use a stout piece of wood, maybe like 3 ft long, like a plunger handle to move it. If that does not work after some exhausting efforts, either call a plumber or just replace it.

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    Gotta say I fully agree if you can’t break it loose trying both clock wise and counterclockwise with an Allen wrench a wood handle may be the only way remember to try both directions.+ – Ed Beal Sep 1 at 1:47

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