Every now and then I get asked for some repair tips because of my business. Plumbers are ultra expensive and many of the plumbing repairs in your house can be done without you calling one. I thought I'd share a few tips with you in the hope that it may save some of you some wallet stuffing.
First of all let me talk about garbage disposals. The simplest appliance in your house is also the simplest to fix. It is even simple to replace if you have to.
Okay, so lets say your disposal is clogged up. On the bottom of the disposal there is an allen bolt right in the middle. In the picture below it is in the raised portion right in the center.
Place a 1/4" allen wrench in that bolt and spin it all the way around in both directions. If it will not spin one of two things is wrong. There is something jamming the blades to the sides of the disposal or the disposal is shot.
If it is jammed, you will need a flashlight to look into the disposal around the edges and something with a sharp point to pry whatever is stuck out from between and then something to grab that foreign object and get it out of the disposal.
Hardest ting I ever had to remove from a disposal...aquarium rocks. They are small and wedge perfectly in the sides. Don't clean your aquarium on the disposal side of your kitchen sink.
Once it spins push that red reset button.
That's it. It takes 15 seconds as long as nothing is jammed and a plumber will charge you a minimum of $65.00 to do that. If there is a jam he's going to add 25 to 50 bucks.
If you need to replace the disposal it is easy to do as well. There is only one pipe connected to it and it is cinched in place by 2 screws. Remove the screws then take a hammer and slightly tap the mounting ring attached to the drain. It takes no more than 10 minutes for a complete amateur to remove an old, bad disposal. Tap right to left to take it off.
Place the new disposal in place to the drain and tap the mounting ring to cinch it on the drain. Get it good and tight. Tap left to right to put it on the drain. Attach the drain with the two new screws and plug it in.
You should be able to change a disposal in 25 minutes max and that is if you have never done it before. Cost to change the disposal from a plumber will likely be $150 on top of the cost of the disposal and he can do it in 10 minutes or less if he already has the new disposal. If you have to change one out, 1/3 horsepower is more than enough.
If you have questions, please ask.
EDIT...I forgot one thing. Here's a great tip for your disposals. Get an ice tray. I recommend one that is a different color from your normal ones if you still use ice trays. Fill it with vinegar. Red or white, it doesn't matter. Put it in the freezer. This is why I say pick a different tray color. You wouldn't want vinegar ice in your Coke. Turn on the cold water and turn on your disposal. Throw 3 vinegar ice cubes in it and let the blades chew it up. The ice will sharpen the blades and clean the disposal. The vinegar will disinfect it and deodorize it.