Garbage Disposal Keeps Tripping? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Hannah DeMoss
by Hannah DeMoss

A garbage disposal is a great tool for the kitchen, which is why so many people have them. They make disposing of old food quick and easy. However, they do require maintenance, and it is important to understand what is the matter when something goes wrong. For example, a garbage disposal may keep tripping when it is turned on.

There are several reasons why a garbage disposal may keep tripping. Understanding what may be the root cause, and how to fix it, is important. Read on to discover all you need to know about what to do when your garbage disposal keeps tripping.

A garbage disposal is like any other household appliance in that it requires maintenance to stay working properly and efficiently. For example, if dirt and grime build up inside the garbage disposal, it may lead to rust, leaky pipes, and degraded performance.

A garbage disposal can trip because of improper wiring, stripped wires, and improper care. Additionally, jammed shredding plates and problems with a tripped circuit breaker can cause the garbage disposal to stop running. Finally, this can also happen when too many appliances are running on the same circuit at the same time.

When the garbage disposal keeps tripping, it could be because of one of these reasons. This is why it is important to troubleshoot the issue before going ahead with any repairs. You want to make sure that you are fixing the right thing.

Moreover, proper care and attention to the operation of the garbage disposal can help prevent these issues. For example, by cleaning the garbage disposal regularly, you can avoid jams and clogs in the unit that can cause it to trip.

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Reasons a Garbage Disposal Keeps Tripping

As mentioned, there are several reasons why your garbage disposal is tripping. It is important to understand each one so you will know better how to handle the situation.

If the wires are stripped, then the garbage disposal may begin to trip. Stripped wires are very dangerous because their protective coating has worn off. When this happens, you may smell something burning around the garbage disposal. In this situation, it is best to turn off the electricity. If you see the wires are stripped, call an electrician.

It is possible the garbage disposal was not wired properly. This can happen during installation if absolute care and attention are not given. If the wires are not connected to the proper terminals, it can cause the circuit breaker to trip. It can also cause the garbage disposal to fail to turn on. If this is the issue, you must also turn off the electricity before trying to fix the issue.

Likewise, there may be an overload in the circuit breaker. When there is an overload in the circuit breaker, it will turn off as a safety precaution. This can happen because the circuit breaker needs to be replaced or because there are too many appliances being used at once on the same circuit.

When the shredding plate located within the garbage disposal is jammed, it can cause the unit to keep tripping. Luckily, it is easy to fix with a screwdriver wiggling the plate free.

Investigate the Issue

When the garbage disposal keeps tripping, you need to investigate the issue. Once you know what to look for, it can be easier to pinpoint the issue.

When you are investigating the issue, look for some of the following signs:

  • Burning smell around the garbage disposal
  • Shredding plate not moving
  • Circuit breaker not working
  • Garbage disposal not starting

Usually, there is an electrical issue when the garbage disposal keeps tripping. Since this is likely the case, it is always important to turn the electricity off before doing anything. You must take many precautions when dealing with electricity to avoid any accidents or injuries.

Installing a Garbage Disposal Properly

If the wiring is to blame for the garbage disposal continuously tripping, it may have happened during the installation process. Of course, it is possible that the wires were faulty to begin with.

It is possible to fix an improperly wired garbage disposal. If you are not familiar with electricity, you may need to call an electrician. However, if you wish to replace the garbage disposal, you should know exactly how the garbage disposal should be wired to avoid any future issues.

Properly installing a garbage disposal has several benefits:

  • The likelihood of it tripping goes down
  • The garbage disposal will be more efficient
  • The circuit breaker will not overload

Luckily, it is possible to install a garbage disposal yourself. As long as you take it slow and you have the right tools it should be fine.

It is also important to note that not all garbage disposals are hardwired to the circuit breaker. Some use a wall plug, which is much easier to install.

Check the Circuit Breaker

Whether you are installing the garbage disposal or you are troubleshooting why it is tripping, you need to look at your current circuit breaker.

It is vital to make sure that the circuit breaker is large enough to handle a garbage disposal. If its amperage is too low, it will overload quickly and trip.

Make sure that the power required for the garbage disposal is handled by the circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker is not large enough, you will need a new circuit breaker.

Likewise, make sure that the circuit breaker is operating properly. Over time, a circuit breaker can lose some power and begin to fade.

Replacing an Old Circuit Breaker

It is possible to replace an old circuit breaker yourself. You must take certain precautions, however, because you will be working with electricity. If you do not feel comfortable with this, you can always call an electrician.

There are certain tools you will need to get this job completed. The tools you will need to replace an old circuit breaker include:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Safety glasses
  • Flashlight
  • The new circuit breaker

The tools are simple and are probably in your home toolbox. The biggest component will be obtaining the new circuit breaker that you wish to install.

When your garbage disposal keeps tripping, and the circuit breaker is to blame, it is time to replace it.

The Process

The process of replacing a circuit breaker is not difficult, but you must be sure to pay attention to what you are doing because of the presence of electricity.

  • Turn off the electricity. It is best to turn off the main power on the main circuit breaker. Switch it to “off.” This is why you will need a flashlight. Make sure to not touch the incoming service lines as these remain live. 
  • Remove the cover plate. You must unscrew the cover plate so you can see the circuit breakers. 
  • Remove the circuit breaker. Make sure the circuit breaker is set to the “off” position before trying to remove it. Make sure you do not touch any of the metal or other wirings. Carefully take the inner edge of the circuit breaker and remove it by moving it toward the outer edge. 
  • Disconnect the wires of the circuit breaker. You disconnect the wires by unscrewing the screw terminal. There are usually two wires: red and black. 
  • Connect the wires to the new circuit breaker. Connect them by placing them under the screw terminal and tightening them into place. 
  • Insert the new breaker. Insert the new breaker by attaching it to the back holder clip and pushing it into place. 
  • Replace the cover plate. Make sure to secure the cover plate. 
  • Turn the power back on. Once everything is back in place, you can turn the main power back on. 

Once the new circuit breaker is installed, the garbage disposal should not continue to trip.

However, if the garbage disposal does continue to trip, then there may be another wiring issue. It is best to look at all the wirings to make sure they are secure and properly connected.

You may need to call an electrician for this job if you are not comfortable with working with electricity or if the garbage disposal keeps tripping even after the new circuit breaker has been installed.

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Replace the Garbage Disposal

Sometimes a garbage disposal can keep tripping because it is time to replace the unit. Over time, its efficiency can diminish, or its internal wirings can fail.

When all other fixes do not work, it may be time to replace the garbage disposal. Keep these elements in mind before you replace the garbage disposal in your home.

  • Make sure you have the replacement
  • Make sure you have the proper tools
  • Pay close attention to the new wirings

It is important to have the new unit before you begin work removing the old one. Unless you plan on removing the garbage disposal entirely (which means you would need a sink strainer to take its place), it is best to have it beforehand.

Replacing the garbage disposal is not difficult, either. The process is relatively straightforward. Once you remove the old one by disconnecting it from the waste pipe, and you have removed the mounting rings, you can place the new one in.

It is important to remember to clean the sink before installing the new garbage disposal. There may be hidden grime or rust that needs to be cleared before installation. Then you connect the new garbage disposal in the same way that the old one came out. This should solve any issues you have with tripping, and it should last you a long time.

Hannah DeMoss
Hannah DeMoss

Hannah DeMoss has been a writer for nearly a decade. Her passion for writing began years ago has continued to grow. Her expertise at home involves furniture restoration and other small DIY tasks. When not writing, Hannah enjoys the outdoors with her husband and pups, as well as traveling.

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