411 Home Repair

Trash Compactor Troubleshooting & Repair

What is wrong with my trash compactor?

It doesn't work at all
The ram is stuck
The drawer is hard to open
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It doesn't work at all

If your trash compactor doesn't work at all, check these:

Wall socket

Trash compactors usually plug into a wall socket. Try plugging something else into the socket to be sure the socket is getting power. If it isn't, check the household fuses or circuit breakers.

Ground fault circuitinterrupter

If there's no power to the outlet but the fuse/circuit is okay, the compactor may be plugged into a circuit that's protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)--a special wall socket with a Test and a Reset button. If so, try pressing the Reset button


If there's power but your compactor still doesn't function, there may be a problem with the compactor's door switch, key switch, or the micro switches that sense when the ram is fully up. But also make sure that nothing is caught behind the drawer, keeping it from closing all the way.

The ram is stuck

If the ram won't go down--or if it has gone down but won't come back up--there may be a broken drive belt, chain, or gears. Or the switches inside the cabinet that control the direction and starting/stopping points of the ram may be defective or out of adjustment. Trash compactors can be tough to work on because they are, themselves, compact and difficult to move. We suggest that you consult the repair manual for your trash compactor.

The drawer is hard to open

Over time, food spills and other garbage may clog the track the drawer rides on. If you can remove your drawer, thoroughly clean the tracks, glides, rollers, and so on using degreaser and some dish detergent on a damp rag. Then wipe all of the components with a clean, damp rag and lightly oil the track with a household lubricant. If the drawer continues to be stiff, you may need to replace the rollers, ball-bearings, or tracks.

Work on these areas of an appliance may require help from an appliance repair person or other qualified technician.

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This easy-to-use search will help you find appliance parts quickly.
Begin by entering your appliance model number.
find appliance parts quickly.
Where can I find the model number?
The model tag is usually in a visible location, on the front of
the appliance (not on the back). Example: LSQ8243HQ0

Warning! To avoid personal injury or even death, always disconnect your appliance from its power source--that is, unplug it or break the connection at the circuit breaker or fuse box--before you do any troubleshooting or repair work on your appliance. Also, because some components may have sharp edges, use caution while working on your appliance.

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