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How to Adjust a Garbage Disposal

Most garbage disposals are built to last a long time, but large chunks of food along with debris such as glass can cause your disposal to work inefficiently or to completely jam. Even the person who is very inexperienced at appliance repair can perform simple adjustments to a garbage disposal in order to keep it working properly for a long time.

Kitchen sink

Turn off the electrical power to your garbage disposal at the breaker box.

Shine a flashlight into the mouth of your sink's drain so that you can take a look at the uppermost part of the garbage disposal. If there is any obvious debris, remove it with a pair of tongs.

Locate the small hole in the center of the underside of your garbage disposal. You may need a flashlight since this will be under your sink.

Insert a hexagonal-shaped wrench, also known as a hex wrench or Allen key, into the hole. Most disposals come with a wrench that is included for adjustments. If you don't have the original wrench, you can buy a replacement at a hardware store.

Turn the wrench in a clockwise direction for two to three revolutions in order to turn the flywheel (the part that grinds food). By the second or third revolution, the flywheel should turn with little or no resistance.

Turn on the breaker. While running water into the sink, turn on the garbage disposal's switch to make sure that the adjustment worked.

Things You Will Need

  • Hex wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Tongs

Tip

  • If the adjustment doesn't work, try pressing the red reset button under the disposal. If that doesn't remedy the problem, call a repairman, as there may be a malfunction in the electrical or motor system of the appliance.

About the Author

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.

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