The Plug

aka – Lessons in Home Repair.

First – did you know there is a reset button on the bottom of your garbage disposal? Did you also know there is a hole/slot that you can use to manually turn the motor?
Several weeks ago the garbage disposal stopped working. It would make the motor noise but would not turn the blades. Hitting the reset pin did nothing to resolve the issue. Was talking to a neighbor and he mentioned the hole/slot that you can use to manually turn the motor. Lo and behold I had the correct torx screw driver to fit in the hole/slot. I rotated the motor by hand in the reverse direction and unstuck whatever was jamming the works.
Disposal back to grinding things and all is well in the world

Jump forward to last weekend. Disposal stops grinding the leftovers. Tried the steps outlined above and no joy. Figure it must be time to replace the disposal. After a quick call to my handyman hotline (aka my dad) I learn that all I need to do is disconnect the hoses (inflow from dishwasher and outflow to the sewer) connected to the disposal and rotate the disposal counter-clockwise to release it from the mechanism that holds it in place.
Making note of the make and model of the disposal I head off to Lowes. In no time flat, and $90, I have a new disposal that is ready to be installed into the place it does it’s magic.

Steps to install seem pretty straightforward – no need to RTFM (read the fracking manual). [you see where this is going, don’t you] Lift and rotate to hang it from the mechanism that holds it underneath the sink. Connect the plug with a couple of wire nuts. Hook up the two hoses. Flip the switch and hear the sweet sound of a 1/2 hp motor doing it best to make leftovers into little bits.

Jump forward to Tuesday morning. Woke up to some water on the counter next to the sink. Figured it had to do with the fact I ran the dishwasher last night. Easy cleanup and started thinking what could be the problem.

Jump forward to Friday morning. Woke up to lots of water on the counter. And on the floor. And in the lower cabinet. Definitely has something to do with the dishwasher and pretty sure it has something to do with the disposal because that is the only thing that has changed. But not sure how the pieces fit together – or in this case, don’t fit together.

Time to call my handyman hotline – who by the way is in Norway and was driving back from a week of skiing in a storm. Figured it was best to call back when he reaches his destination.

Called my handyman hotline back and quickly described the going-ons. His first question to me – “did you remove the plug?”. Me: “what plug?”

Seems not everyone that installs a disposal has a dishwasher so not everyone has a hose connected to the top opening. For those unfortunate folks they plug the opening so that they don’t have water, etc. spilling out under their sink. Makes sense.
But see, I have a dishwasher, so I have a hose that connects to the to opening. And when the dishwasher runs it tries to expel the excess water into this little opening – the opening that is plugged. AAAAAHHHHH – Lightbulb moment.

So, remove the top hose. Insert screwdriver. Hit with hammer. Hear a satisfying pop. Reach into the disposal and remove plastic plug.

Lessons learned
1. My handyman hotline is getting old and left out critical data. Yep that must be it, because the fact that I did not RTFM is not my fault. He should have told me about the plug. Yep, that is it. Not my fault. Nope. No way.

3 thoughts on “The Plug

  1. You know.. when you called my cell.. and I was driving in the snowstorm.. I could have diagnosed this as well… Of course I would have said RTFM as well… but I can see where it is the fault of the Handyman Hotline. Glad all is working well now however..



  2. Without belaboring the point, the above mentioned handyman/consultant assumes (you know the definition of ´assume´) that even the technically qualified will at least scan the installation instructions (look at the pictures if reading is beyond the capabilities of the installer) for clues about the task at hand.

    Yes, even the consultant sometimes forgets a step when providing long distance assistance and fails to mention the plug installed for those without dishwashers. That is one of the perils of using a long distance consultant of course the long distant consultant is still preferable to caling the plumber.



  3. Thank you I did not know that there was a reset button on the bottom of my disposal and it had not worked for several days and was getting backing up. I ran some hot water, poured some salt down it and then used a plunger all to no avail. I then read this website and found the button and lo and behold it worked. I turned on the switch and it ran. It ran with a rattle but I turned the water on and the rattling soon stopped. I cut up an orange and put it down the disposal and except for two pieces of peel it ate everything. It seems to be running smoother. Boy, will my finance be surprised when he comes home and hears it working. Sure saved us some money.


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