Parts of a Garbage Disposal, Explained

The garbage disposal may be the smallest appliance in your kitchen but it can be a big time-saver when it comes to meal preparation and cleaning. Inside are many parts that work hard to shred food scraps into tiny pieces so they can safely go down the drain without clogging the pipes.

Expert Garbage Disposal Repair


Many homeowners enjoy having a garbage disposal in their kitchen but don’t fully understand how the appliance works. Allow us to enlighten you on the most important components of the garbage disposal, starting from the top and working down to the bottom.


1. Splash guard – A rubber gasket that is placed between the sink drain and the garbage disposal canister. The splash guard prevents objects from accidentally dropping into the garbage disposal as well as debris from flying back out when the motor is running.

2. Upper hopper chamber – The top part of the cannister that holds food until it is chopped into small pieces.

3. Dishwasher connector – In most cases, the dishwasher drain line will feed into the garbage disposal. If this connection is not needed, then a knockout plugs the hole.

4. Shredder ring – A metal ring with sharp grooves that help grind up the food.

5. Impellers – The blades of the garbage disposal that cut up the food, working in tandem with the flywheel and shredder ring.

6. Flywheel – A round disk with small holes. The flywheel catches large pieces of food when it’s dropped down the sink drain. After the food is broken down into smaller pieces, it slips through the flywheel holes to enter the lower hopper chamber.

7. Motor – Usually between ½ and ¼ horsepower, the motor moves the flywheel and the impellers.

8. Lower hopper chamber – The bottom portion of the chamber where water and ground-up food waste collects.

9. Waste line connector – A drain line connects to the lower hopper chamber and sends all waste to the sewer pipe.

10. Reset button – At the bottom or the side of the cannister should be a reset button, which you can press if the unit stops working or becomes jammed (a reminder to never stick your hand down the drain to unjam the garbage disposal).

11. Flywheel wrench hole – If a hard object gets jammed in the upper hopper chamber, you can insert the wrench that came with the garbage disposal or an Allen wrench into this hole to rotate the flywheel. This should help loosen the jammed object.

Now that you know the major parts of the garbage disposal, you should be better prepared to identify and possibly fix an issue with your appliance.

Garbage disposal service

If your garbage disposal is becoming more of a headache than convenience, then it’s time to call the experts at Pratt Plumbing. We are here to help with all your plumbing needs. Schedule an appointment at (806) 373-7866.

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