What happens when your dinner scraps get jammed, and your garbage disposal just groans or doesn't do anything at all? Avoid the temptation to reach inside the garbage disposal to grab the offending food. The Badger 1 model and all garbage disposals made by InSinkErator have features that make it easier to get the unit working again without risking serious injury.
Why Garbage Disposals Clog
Garbage disposals are convenient for getting rid of leftover food, but they can get jammed when you don't use them properly. Putting the wrong food down the garbage disposal can cause lots of issues, including clogging. Starchy items, like bread, rice, and pasta, can be bad because they clump together and can expand when they get wet.
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Even safe foods can cause clogs if you use the disposal improperly. Putting a large amount of food down the disposal at once can cause a jam. You might also have issues if you don't run enough water down the drain while you're running the garbage disposal. A large item accidentally going into the unit is another potential clogging issue.
Release the Jam
Before you work on the clog, make sure the garbage disposal switch is turned to the off position. Sometimes, you can loosen the clogged food with a sink plunger, which has a flat bottom to create good suction against the sink. This works best when water won't drain from the sink because of the clog. Plunge forcefully several times with water in the sink to loosen the clog. If the water starts to drain, you can turn on the water again and run the garbage disposal to finish pushing the food down the drain.
If the plunger doesn't work, grab the wrench that came with your Badger garbage disposal or use an Allen wrench from your toolbox. Look for the hole in the center of the garbage disposal bottom and insert the wrench into the hole. With force, turn the wrench side to side as far as it will go. As you start to loosen the clog, you should be able to rotate it more in each direction until you can turn it in a complete circle in both directions.
Remove the Food
Even once you get to the point of turning it in a complete circle, there can still be food chunks visible in the garbage disposal. Shine a flashlight into the garbage disposal from the sink down into the drain to look for visible pieces. Don't reach into the garbage disposal with bare hands. Instead, grab some kitchen tongs or pliers to reach for the food chunks. Then, turn on the water and test the garbage disposal.
Another feature on your Badger garbage disposal is a reset button. This built-in safety feature trips when needed as overload protection. This can happen if the Badger garbage disposal gets clogged and can't turn. If your garbage disposal doesn't turn on after you clear the clog and remove the remaining food particles, this could be the issue.
The reset button is a red square button on the bottom of the garbage disposal unit. When it trips, it pops out and extends roughly 1/4 inch. If this button gets tripped during the clog, wait about five minutes to let the disposal cool down. Push the button and test the unit to see if it works. Wait another 10 minutes if the button keeps popping out.