top of page

Resetting a Tripped Garbage Disposal: DIY Troubleshooting and Solutions

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Resetting a Tripped Garbage Disposal: DIY Troubleshooting and Solution- CPE industries

Turning Kitchen Mishaps into Opportunities for DIY Success

Welcome back, dear readers, to another exciting blog by CPE Industries. Today, we delve into the world of kitchen mishaps and triumphs as we explore the common occurrence of a tripped garbage disposal. We've all been there—the clanking sound of utensils hitting the disposal, the unintentional dropping of a foreign object, or perhaps, a moment of overenthusiastic cooking. Fear not, for in this blog; we'll equip you with the knowledge and skills to tackle this challenge like a pro.

What Causes a Tripped Garbage Disposal?

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of resetting a tripped garbage disposal, it's essential to understand what triggers the safety mechanism. Most disposals have a circuit breaker that shuts off the unit when it's overloaded or encounters a jam. Overloading can happen due to a large quantity of waste or hard-to-grind materials, while a jam occurs when foreign objects obstruct the blades.

Safety First!

Before venturing into any DIY troubleshooting, prioritize safety above all else. Always unplug the garbage disposal from the power source or turn off the dedicated circuit breaker. This simple step prevents accidental activation during your investigation and protects you from electrical mishaps.

A Visual Inspection

Once safety measures are in place, we can begin troubleshooting the tripped garbage disposal. Begin with a thorough visual inspection of the unit. Examine the area around the disposal for any leaks or signs of water damage. Leaks may indicate damaged pipes or fittings that need professional attention. In such cases, contacting CPE Industries' skilled professionals for a thorough inspection and solution is best.

Take a moment to inspect the garbage disposal grinding chamber. Sometimes, small metal or plastic objects can inadvertently find their way into the disposal, causing it to jam. Retrieving these items can often be enough to resolve the issue without further troubleshooting.

The Resetting Process

Assuming no visible leaks or foreign objects exist, it's time to attempt a reset. Locate the reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit—typically a tiny red or black button. Press the button firmly, but don't be disheartened if it doesn't pop back out immediately. Give it a moment; sometimes, patience is needed for the magic to happen.

Manual Reset

We can try the manual reset approach if the reset button doesn't restore functionality. The manual reset usually involves a special wrench or an Allen key, often provided with the disposal unit. Insert the wrench or Allen key into the designated socket on the underside of the disposal. Gently work the tool back and forth to loosen any potential jams. Remember, forceful movements may exacerbate the problem or damage the disposal, so a gentle touch is key.

Clearing Jams

If the manual reset doesn't restore functionality, there's likely a stubborn jam. Fear not; we're still in the realm of DIY troubleshooting! As you prepare to clear the jam, ensure the power source is disconnected or the circuit breaker is off. Using a flashlight, carefully inspect the disposal's chamber for foreign objects or food debris that might be causing the jam.

Once identified, use tongs or pliers to extract the material, taking extra care not to damage the blades. Avoid reaching into the disposal with your hands, which can lead to accidental injury. Additionally, never use chemical drain cleaners, as they can corrode the disposal and its components.

A Second Chance

With the jam cleared, it's time for another reset attempt. Reconnect the power source, turn the circuit breaker back on, and press the reset button again. In many cases, this second chance at a reset will revive the garbage disposal, and you'll find it humming back to life.

Ensuring Proper Functionality

Even if your garbage disposal is now up and running, verifying its proper functionality is essential. Turn on the water and allow it to flow freely into the disposal while running. Listen for unusual noises or vibrations, which might indicate additional issues. If everything appears to be in order, run the disposal with some soft food waste to ensure smooth grinding.

Preventive Measures

They say prevention is better than cure, and that's undoubtedly true for garbage disposals. Adopting some simple practices can extend the life of your disposal and prevent future tripping or jamming incidents:

  • Use Cold Water: Always run cold water while operating the disposal. This helps solidify oils and fats, preventing them from clogging the pipes.

  • Avoid Hard Objects: Keep hard objects, such as bones, fruit pits, and shells, out of the disposal. These can damage the blades and cause jams.

  • Grind Small Batches: Feed small amounts of waste into the disposal at a time, allowing it to grind efficiently.

  • Clean Regularly: Clean the disposal periodically by grinding ice cubes and citrus peels to eliminate odors and maintain efficiency.

Preventive Measures- CPE industries

When to Seek Professional Services

While many DIY enthusiasts revel in the satisfaction of troubleshooting and fixing the tripped garbage disposal themselves, some situations warrant professional intervention. If you've diligently followed the steps outlined here and the disposal remains unresponsive, it's time to call in the experts.

CPE Industries' seasoned professionals are well-versed in handling garbage disposal issues, from minor repairs to total replacements. A skilled technician can pinpoint the root cause of the problem, ensure any leaks or damaged pipes are addressed, and offer reliable solutions tailored to your specific needs.


Congratulations! You've successfully navigated the trials and triumphs of resetting a tripped garbage disposal. Armed with the knowledge and steps provided, you can approach this kitchen mishap with confidence and DIY prowess. Remember to always prioritize safety and exercise caution during troubleshooting.

If you face challenges beyond your DIY capabilities, CPE Industries is here to support you with top-notch professional services. Embrace these opportunities to learn and grow in your DIY journey, and let every obstacle become a stepping stone to becoming a more self-reliant homeowner.

Thank you for joining us today on this enlightening blog. Until next time, happy troubleshooting!



bottom of page