Does your kitchen sink only drain when a garbage disposal is on? If so, you’re not alone. Many households in the US are even stuck with sinks that don’t drain at all!
Clogged sinks can be disgusting and pretty annoying. But it’s nothing you can’t fix with a little bit of effort!
This helpful guide will help you handle and diagnose garbage disposal troubles and ways to prevent them. Read on!
Page Contents (Click Icon To Open/Close)
My Sink Only Drains When The Garbage Disposal Is On – Why?
Wondering why your sink only drains when the garbage disposal is on? That’s because when the disposal is functioning, the spinning disc or impeller plate rotates rapidly, shredding food into a drainable size.
If your sink still can’t drain without the disposal, it’s either clogged or jammed. Here are some reasons why your kitchen sinks only drain when a garbage disposal is on:
1. Broken Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal unit is one of those fixtures that can sound wonky even when it’s okay. However, if you hear it running normally but not grinding, you have a broken garbage disposal.
Typically, in many cases, you can effortlessly troubleshoot the problem by simply replacing it or restarting it.
2. Clogged Garbage Disposal
If you see water standing in the kitchen sink, you have a clogged drain. This could either be because of the drain line or the garbage disposal.
Clogging can occur due to many factors, but the culprit is usually hard food remains. You can unclog garbage disposal by dismantling the drain pipe beneath the sink.
3. Jammed Garbage Disposal
Another symptom of inadequate drain functionality is if the sink is draining water, but slowly.
This is just a precursor to having a clogged drain because the reason is the same: food particles – getting stuck in the impeller, causing slow drainage.
And if the disposal is jammed genuinely, you won’t unclog the unit using conventional plumbing methods.
4. Full Garbage Disposal
If you have tossed a considerable amount of food into the garbage disposal, it will have to be chopped into pieces before the sink starts draining.
A full disposal will never operate appropriately because it doesn’t provide room for the blades to move, leading to slow or no draining. This is why it’s important to know what you can and can’t put in the garbage disposal.
How To Fix Draining Problems With A Garbage Disposal
1. How To Fix A Broken Garbage Disposal
Follow the steps below to fix the broken garbage disposal:
- 1Examine the breaker panel
- 2Ensure that each breaker is working and hasn’t been tripped
- 3Flip the button saying “kitchen” or “garbage disposal”
- 4Test the unit again
- 5Unplug the disposal and use a hex key to unjam the blades
- 6Push the reset button
2. How To Fix A Clogged Garbage Disposal
Here’s your step-by-step guide to removing softer items causing clogs in your garbage disposal. These steps should ensure that your sink works normally:
- 1Please make sure the garbage disposal is unplugged and keep it disconnected until you finish fixing it
- 2Use your sink/toilet plunger to unclog the drain
- 3Rinse the drain thoroughly with water to ensure the remaining clog is also removed.
- 4Plug the garbage disposal back in
- 5Pour an industrial sink/disposal cleaner into the unit
3. How To Fix A Jammed Garbage Disposal
What if the garbage disposal isn’t clogged, and you’re still having problems with draining? This happens when harder items such as glass get stuck in the impeller, causing a slow drain.
Here’s a step by step guide to fixing jammed garbage disposal:
- 1First, unplug your garbage disposal as a safety measure
- 2Put a bucket beneath the drain trap. It’s where all sludge runs when using the garbage disposal
- 3With the help of channel lock pliers, unclasp the slip nut fillings on the drain trap. This ensures that the waste and water flow into your bucket
- 4In case you notice a stuck piece of debris, carefully remove it
- 5Now, wash the drain trap with a pipe cleaner or scrub brush
- 6Afterward, examine the drain arm and scoop out all the waste you notice.
- 7Tip: You can remove the drain arm by unclasping the slip-nuts. If you want to remove extra clogs and jams, take a scrub brush and clean the arm
- 8Reset the garbage disposal
- 9For better results, make sure to add a few enzyme-based cleaners to your drain and flush it with water
4. How To Empty A Full Garbage Disposal
Emptying a full garbage disposal is relatively easy. Here’s how to do it:
- 1First, remove all sorts of blockages. Turn off the disposal and take out all fragments using pliers or cooking tongs.
- 2Clean the blades or grinders. Pour some ice into your garbage disposal and run ice-cold water for 15 seconds.
- 3Now, empty drainage pipe. Use water to rinse any leftover debris from the garbage disposal.
When To Call A Professional Plumber
Call a professional plumber in either of these cases:
Nevertheless, the average cost to hire a professional plumber to fix a garbage disposal ranges from $40 to $250 per hour. Unfortunately, some may even charge up to $410 for minor work. For a free quote in your area, fill in the form below!
Preventing Garbage Disposals Drainage Issues: Do’s & Don’ts
Disposals can turn out to be a tricky puzzle. So to ensure your garbage disposal unit operates safely and smoothly, follow these Dos and Don’ts:
People also Ask (FAQs)
Can garbage disposals cause major plumbing problems?
If the garbage disposal isn’t maintained or operated correctly, chances are it may break down, clog or jam your drains. This will cause further plumbing nightmares. A clogged drain is a serious inconvenience, and professional disposal fixing can cost you a pretty penny.
How long should you run a garbage disposal?
Run your garbage disposal until all food items are gone — typically, 30 to 40 seconds are enough. Then, switch the unit off and ensure the water runs for another 11 to 16-second to flush the drain. Also, even if there is no food item to grind, switch it on and run it for few seconds every day to keep it in good working condition.
How do you manually drain a garbage disposal?
Here’s how you can drain garbage disposal manually:
Can coke unclog a drain?
Yes, you can unclog a drain using a coke. Pour 2 liters of Coke, Pepsi, or another cola inside the jammed or clogged drain. They’re pretty effective at washing away any buildup in the drain; however, compared to commercial cleaners, Coke is milder.
Garbage disposal is an integral part of any kitchen, provided the unit is working correctly. If you face a situation where the kitchens sink only drains when a garbage disposal is on, don’t panic! Instead, follow our step-by-step solutions or call a professional!
Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.