How to Reset a Garbage Disposal

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There are times when your best garbage disposal unit begins to act funny. Its behavior may shock you or dismay you. Perhaps it turns on randomly or switches off just when it’s grinding through the worst of your food disposal that evening. A grinding sound may be coming from the machine but yet there doesn’t seem to be a jam or obstruction causing the sound to emanate.

There’s also the possibility that there are warning lights or a confusing array of visual indicators on the electronics panel of your garbage disposal unit that doesn’t make any sense. The unit can also get overheated or be overloaded which caused the reset light to come on.

It’s fair to say that from time to time a garbage disposal machine can get confused and display conflicting information; PCs have the same issue at times too. In which case, either turning off the unit for a period of time or resetting it completely are the orders of the day to try to shake the unit up and get it working right again. Resetting also helps to rule out a short-term mistake in the panel vs. a more serious and persistent issue that needs addressing differently.

Where Do I Start?

Every unit is differently designed with a procedure that might be slightly different from one manufacturer to manufacturer or model to model. It’s always a good idea to consult the product manual (or download a PDF version of it from the manufacturer’s website) to troubleshoot any issues ahead of a reset and then learn the correct procedure for resetting that make and model.

Reasons for a Reset Getting Tripped

Most models have a red button that’s discretely shown at the bottom of the disposal. It may be covered over, and you didn’t notice it before, or it could be covered with gunk. Either way, clear that away to access the red button.

The red reset also acts to prevent an overload where it trips up when putting too much into the garbage disposal. Think of it as a fuse getting tripped in an electric fuse box. This automatic shutting down of the unit can only be resolved by fixing whatever caused the reset light to switch on, so that when resetting the unit, it won’t get tripped once again.

How Can You Reset Your Garbage Disposal Unit?

Follow this procedure if you don’t have product manual:

1. Turn off the garbage disposal first
2. Find the red button to reset the unit
3. Press the red button to reset. If the button won’t fully depress to reset, then let the unit sit for 15-20 minutes to reduce its internal temperature and try again
4. Try to reset it again if it wouldn’t accept it the first time
5. Run cold water through to the garbage disposal
6. Plug the unit back into the power socket
7. Check whether the reset has performed correctly, if not, run the procedure once more



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