Your trash compactor is broken! Don't despair. Better Homes & Gardens Local Services connects you with professionals near you that specialize in repairing trash compactors. Request a free estimate today!
If the compactor is stuck, the problem could be mechanical, electrical or capacity-related:
Mechanical Sometimes the ram gets stuck. Try turning the switch off and on a few times, or step on the foot pedal a few times. That's usually enough to get the ram dislodged.
Also, check the trashbin to make sure it's in place. A bin that's out of place or alignment can cause the trash compactor to stop functioning.
Electrical Make sure the compactor is plugged in. If so, and if you have some DIY skills: unplug the machine, remove the panel that covers the wiring, and see if any wires have become disconnected. If so, and if you are able, get the wiring back in place.
Capacity Bins that are too full when compacting lead to trash spillover, and may create too much resistance for the machine to operate correctly. If the bin seems overly full, remove some of the trash, clean our anything that may have spilled over to create problems, and try again.
If you can't correct a stuck compactor yourself, or prefer to get professional help, fill in the form on this page to contact compactor repair pros in your area.
"My trash compactor door won't open, what can I do to fix it?"
You can try a few different things:
Restart the compactor. Sometimes the ram doesn't return to its proper position after compacting. Restarting the compactor will reset the ram back to its correct position if that's the issue.
If the door seems tilted out, the ram may have jammed. Hold the door flush and restart the unit; sometimes that's enough to unjam the ram!
Inspect the ram. Open a side panel to check the status of the ram. If it's stuck, raise it to the top position, remove any debris, and see if that fixes the issue.
Move any object blocking the door. Remove the screws that secure the front door panel (or if your model is newer, check to see if it has a removable door panel). Search for any debris, bits of trash, a bag, or anything else that might be preventing the door from opening. Remove all foreign objects.
Make sure the START button/switch is working. It should click when pressed. If not, you can replace it yourself be removing the front and top panels of the compactor to gain access so you can remove the switch and find a replacement. Or, contact a pro for help.
Check for slider damage (sometimes the slider is called the draw, or track, or rails or rollers). If the door is connected to a slider, inspect the condition of the slider (you may have to remove a side panel of the compactor). If it's damaged, it will need to be repair or replaced.
If none of those suggestions do the trick, or you need help addressing a problem, contact a local trash compactor professional. If you want a head start, just fill out the form on this page.
"My trash compactor isn't compacting the trash, what should I do?"
There are a few things you can try before considering repair or replacement:
Make sure that the trash compactor is powered on. If not, make sure the compactor door is fully closed, check the GFCI switch, and finally, check the breaker box.
Make sure the start switch is working. If it's working, it will click when pressed; if not it will need to be replaced .
If the unit doesn't contain much trash, add a little more trash and restart. Some units are designed to compact only when the unit is half (or more) full. Check the manual for more information.
Confirm that the drawer is completely closed. Trash compactors have safety switches to prevent operation when the door is open.
If there's a foot pedal, make sure it's working properly and isn't damaged. If a foot pedal is inoperable it may stop the machine from working. Check the manual for access instructions.
If you can find the problem but can't fix it yourself, or if you simply want help with your compactor, contact a local professional who can help diagnose and fix the problem quickly.
"Who do I call if I need to replace a trash compactor?"
Start with the manufacturer in case the product is still under warranty. If your unit is not under warranty, call a local appliance professional, or simply fill in the form on this page for help contacting trash compactor repair pros near you.
"There's a bad smell coming from my compactor – how do I get rid of the odor?"
The best way to purge a bad odor from your trash compactor is simply to clean it: Unplug the unit. Remove the bags. Remove large pieces of trash and vacuum loose debris. Use gloves, a disinfectant and scrub brush, clean the walls and the ram, wiping everything dry when finished. Replace the air filter if there is one.
Prevention: Remove any trash that has been there longer than two, days since aging trash is a major source of odor. Leave baking soda in the compactor after cleaning, to help deodorize the unit. Keep the ram clean.