kenmore garbage disposal troubleshooting and how to guide

Kenmore Garbage Disposal How to & Troubleshooting Guide

Kenmore garbage disposals are good quality units which can effectively help dispose your food waste. But like other garbage disposals, one can experience issues or have some difficulties with the units from time to time. Before calling service or ordering a replacement for a problem you may have with your disposer, it helps to troubleshoot the disposer first to see if the issue resolves. Most of the issues just need simple DIY fixes. Read on to learn how to perform various operations on your Kenmore garbage disposal and to resolve some of the commonly-reported problems.

How to Install a Kenmore Garbage Disposal

To install a Kenmore garbage disposal for the first time, follow these steps:

  1. Start by checking the installation dimensions as per your model. This includes the disposer height, distance from the bottom of sink bowl to centerline of discharge outlet, disposer width, etc.
  2. Disconnect the sink drain and clean the sink flange area of any putty or other debris.
  3. Disassemble new disposer mounting assembly. To disassemble Kenmore garbage disposal:
  4. Insert wrenchette (or screwdriver) into one mounting lug and hold lower mounting ring securely with one hand. With your other hand, turn mounting assembly counterclockwise to remove mounting assembly from lower mounting ring.
  5. Turn mounting assembly over and loosen the three mounting screws until you can access snap ring.
  6. Use a screwdriver to pry snap ring off of sink flange. Mounting assembly will now come apart.
  7. Install the sink flange into the sink drain hole.
  8. Attach upper mounting assembly to the sink flange.
  9. Remove existing disposer.
  10. Clean the sink drain line to prevent a blockage. Remove the P-trap and use a drain auger to clear all hardened waste material in horizontal drain line.
  11. If you are connecting a dishwasher, remove the knockout drain plug to prevent the dishwasher from overflowing. Lay the disposer on its side, insert a screwdriver into the dishwasher inlet so the tip rests on the outer edge of the knockout plug, and tap the end of screwdriver handle with a hammer until the molded plug breaks loose. Remove loose knockout plug from inside the disposer.
  12. Connect the disposer to electrical supply. You can connect electrical power to your disposer through direct wire or plug in cord (installed at the factory).
  13. Connect the disposer to mounting assembly. Make sure all three mounting tabs are locked over ridges on mounting ring tracks. The disposer will now hand by itself.
  14. Attach the discharge tube to waste drain line.
  15. Connect dishwasher drain (if applicable).
  16. Detach perforated portion of specification decal from the lower portion of the disposer and apply the specification decal where it can be easily read.
  17. The disposer installation is complete. Using a stopper, fill the sink with water. Then remove the stopper, turn on the disposer, and check under sink for leaks.

How to Operate a Kenmore Garbage Disposal

Your disposer is either continuous feed or a batch feed model. Batch feed disposers differ from continuous models in that the batch feed on/off switch is built into the disposer and activated by the stopper.

For a Kenmore continuous feed disposer follow these operating instructions:

  1. Remove the stopper from the sink opening and run a strong flow of cold water.
  2. Turn on the wall switch to start the disposer.
  3. Slowly insert food waste into the disposer and position stopper to minimize possible ejection of material while grinding.
  4. After grinding is complete, turn off the disposer and run water for at least 15 seconds to flush the drain line.

For a Kenmore batch feed disposer follow these operating instructions:

  1. Remove the stopper from the sink opening and place food waste into the disposer grind chamber. Do not pack the chamber with waste. Place the stopper back in the sink opening. Run a strong flow of cold water.
  2. Turn on the disposer by lifting the stopper lightly and turning to the left or right until the disposer starts.
  3. After grinding is complete, turn off the disposer by removing the stopper and allow water to run for at least 15 seconds to flush the drain line.

Kenmore Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts

DO

  • First turn on a moderate to strong flow of cold water and then turn cold water for 15 seconds after grinding is complete to flush the drain line.
  • Grind peelings from citrus fruits to freshen up drain smells.
  • Grind hard materials such as small bones, ice, and fruit pits. This creates a scouring action is inside the grind chamber.
  • Use a disposer cleaner, degreaser, or deodorizer as necessary to relieve objectionable odors caused by grease build-up.

DON’T

  • Don’t pour grease or fat down your disposer or any drain. It can build up in pipes, leading to drain blockages.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. It is OK to drain hot water into the disposer in between the grinding periods.
  • Don’t fill the disposer with a lot of vegetable peels all at once. Instead, turn the water and disposer ON first and then gradually feed the peels.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous materials to avoid possible drain blockage.
  • Don’t turn off the disposer until grinding is completed and only sound of motor and water is heard.
  • Don’t be alarmed by a brown coloration appearing on the grinding disc. This is normal. It is surface discoloration only and won’t affect the unit’s performance or its life.

How to Clean a Kenmore Garbage Disposal

Food particles may accumulate in the grind chamber and baffle over time. An odor from the disposer is usually a sign of grease and food buildup, caused by insufficient waster flow during and after disposer use. To clean a Kenmore garbage disposal, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off garbage disposal and disconnect the power supply.
  2. Reach through the sink opening and clean the underside of splash baffle and inside upper lip of grind chamber using a scouring pad.
  3. Place the stopper in the sink opening and fill the sink halfway with warm water.
  4. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with water, turn ON the disposer and remove the stopper from the sink at the same time to wash away loose particles.

Troubleshooting a Kenmore Garbage Disposal That Won’t Turn On

If your Kenmore garbage disposal won’t turn on or run at all (makes no humming sound), there several things you can try to troubleshoot:

  • On some models the stopper activates the start switch which is mounted into the upper housing of the disposer. If your garbage disposal won’t turn ON, the switch might be defective. Check the start switch for continuity and replace the start switch if necessary.
  • Wires/connections could have become loose, preventing the unit from getting power and turning ON. Check for loose wires in the toggle switch housing and make sure they are properly and tightly connected.
  • Check the electrical cord for the disposer. Power may not be reaching the unit because the cord damaged. Replace the electrical cord if damaged.
  • The wall switch might be defective. Check the wall switch if it working properly. You can have it checked and/or replaced by a qualified electrician.
  • If all the above checks to fix the problem, the motor might be defective. Unfortunately the motor is not replaceable, and you will need to replace the garbage disposal if the motor is dead.

Why Is My Kenmore Garbage Disposal Just Humming and Not Working?

The humming sound that your garbage disposal makes indicates that there is power coming into the unit but the blades are not turning. If your garbage disposal makes a humming sound and is not working, it usually indicates that the motor is jammed or clogged resulting in its failure to grind. Usually, this causes the garbage disposal reset button to pop or the circuit breaker to trip very quickly.

To fix this problem, follow the steps below:

  1. Cut the power to the garbage disposal by unplugging the unit and cutting the electrical circuit.
  2. Insert one end of the self-service wrenchette into the centre hole on the bottom of the disposer. Work the wrenchette back and forth until it turns one full revolution. Remove the wrenchette.
  3. Reach into the disposer with tongs and remove any foreign object(s) jamming or clogging the motor.
  4. Allow the disposer motor to cool for 3-5 minutes and lightly push the red reset button at the bottom of the disposer.
  5. If the motor remains inoperative, check the service panel for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses.

How Do You Reset a Kenmore Garbage Disposal?

You can reset a Kenmore garbage disposal by pressing a red reset button located on the disposer bottom. Follow the steps below to reset your garbage disposal:

  1. Turn off the disposer and water.
  2. Allow the disposer motor to cool for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Lightly push red reset button on the bottom of the disposer.

Why Did My Kenmore Garbage Disposal Suddenly Stop Working?

There could be several reasons a garbage disposal suddenly stops working. It could be a power issue that cut power from reaching the disposer. The start switch or wall switch could be defective. The disposer’s electrical cord could be damaged or accidently got loose or unplugged from the wall switch.

The electrical circuit breaker may have tripped, stopping the disposer from getting power. This can happen when you have too many appliances drawing power from the electrical circuit. Running the garbage disposal while something else is operating could cause the breaker to trip when additional outlets are on the same circuit.

If the disposer motor stops during operation, the disposer may be jammed. This results in its failure to grind. Usually, this causes the garbage disposal reset button to pop or the circuit breaker to trip very quickly. To fix the problem, you will need to reset the garbage disposal by lightly pushing the red reset button on the bottom of the disposer. If the motor still fails to operate, check the service panel for tripped circuit breaker or blown fuses.

How to Unjam a Kenmore Garbage Disposal

If the motor stops during operation, the disposer may be jammed. To release jam on your Kenmore garbage disposal:

  1. Turn off the garbage disposal and water.
  2. Insert one end of the self-service wrenchette into the centre hole on the bottom of the disposer. Work the wrenchette back and forth until it turns one full revolution. Then remove the wrechette.
  3. Reach into the disposal with tongs and remove object(s) causing the jam. Allow the disposer motor to cool for 3-5 minutes and lightly push the red reset button on the disposer bottom.
  4. If the motor remains inoperative after the above steps, check the service panel for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses.

Why Won’t My Kenmore Garbage Disposal Turn Off?

If your Kenmore garbage disposal runs when the switch is OFF or otherwise won’t stop running, the issue can be due to several reasons.  One possible culprit is the start switch. It might be shorted out. Use a multi-meter to test the start switch for continuity. If the start switch has continuity all the time, this indicates that the start switch is shorted out. If the start switch if shorted out, replace it.

If the start switch is not the problem, try these other troubleshooting instructions to fix the problem:

  • Check to be sure that your garbage disposal is not plugged in into a dual-outlet receptacle with one side that is always on. This is a common mistake and can easily be fixed by switching where the cord goes.
  • Your garbage disposal could be broken. You may also try resetting the disposer in an effort to fix the problem.

How to Fix a Loud/Noisy Kenmore Garbage Disposal

If your Kenmore garbage disposal is making loud unusual noise, it could be the result of a jammed grinding chamber. Food or other foreign objects can become trapped on the chamber, leading to the unusual noise.

Check this too: Whirlpool GC2000 Garbage Disposal How to & Troubleshooting Guide

To fix the problem, turn off power to the disposer and visually inspect the sink opening for a jam. You can access the grinding plate by inserting the wrenchette into the hole at the bottom of the disposer to turn the grinding wheel manually and dislodge the jam.

If there is no visible jam, the problem could be the motor or motor start capacitor. The noise could also be the result of a defective grinding plate, grinding ring, or motor assembly. Unfortunately the motor is non-serviceable and can be replaced. You will need to replace the garbage disposal if the motor is bad.

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