How to Repair a Trash Compactor

You won’t find a trash compactor in every kitchen in America. It’s not as popular of an appliance as a microwave or dishwasher. However, it is still a wise investment for most homeowners as a trash compactor will reduce the amount of garbage and clutter in a home. “This type of appliance is good for the environment to as it reduces a home’s carbon footprint and impact on the ecosystem,” says Mathew Grant, owner of appliance repair in Glendale.

The average residential trash compactor is built to last around 10 years. This timeframe is common for most household appliances. You will find that the trash compactor in your home will start to wear down as it nears 8-10 years old and repairs and new parts will become necessary.


OBX has compiled a list of common and uncommon issues that arise on trash compactors. The list includes troubleshooting information, repair tips and recommendations for local appliance repairman able to complete the job if needed. We encourage DIY trash compactor repair but advise against it if the homeowner is not comfortable with the process or necessary tools.


A trash compactor is a loud appliance to begin with. If the noises coming from the appliance become even louder or strange sounds begin to occur, then there is a problem with the trash compactor that requires attention. The list of parts potentially responsible for this issue is long and therefore we recommend enlisting the services of a professional appliance repair company able to diagnose the machine in its entirety.


A trash compactor isn’t of much use if it won’t turn on. The most common reason an appliance – including a trash compactor – doesn’t turn on is that it isn’t plugged in. Be sure the cord is intact and plugged in. Also be sure the circuit breakers in the home are in the correct position. The parts responsible for this issue are the start switch, the directional switch and the drive motor. Be sure to inspect each thoroughly.


The signature part in a residential trash compactor is its ram. A ram is responsible for compacting the trash inside the appliance. The ram must operate smooth in order to complete its function. If this is not happening, OBX recommends inspecting these three parts on the machine: driver gear, directional switch and power nut. There is a high chance one of these parts is the cause of the problem.


The trash compactor should come to a complete stop once the cycle is complete. The machine should not continue running after all of the garbage has been compacted and the ram is in the final position. “If this occurs, be sure to inspect the directional switch and the start switch on the trash compactor,” says Robert Peterson, Owner Appleton Appliance Repair. If the problem persists, unplug the machine from the wall and call an appliance repairman near your home.


In order to complete a cycle, the trash compactor must remain on for the entire time. If the machine turns off mid cycle, the garbage will not be compacted to the full extent possible. This is a major issue and will require the services of a trash compactor repairman or small appliance repair company with the necessary tools and parts on-hand to complete the repair in a timely fashion.


To use a trash compactor, you must first place the garbage inside the drawer on the machine. To do this, the drawer must open and close properly. If the drawer does not open or close, then the machine will be unusable for the time being. The parts to inspect if this problem occurs are the foot petal and the drawer rolls. This is one of the easier repairs in the list and can be done DIY in a short period of time.

There is a good chance you will experience one or multiple issues over the lifetime of your trash compactor. When an issue does occur, you can either attempt DIY trash compactor repair or enlist the services of a professional in your neighborhood. Here are OBX recommend appliance repair companies:

JMC Appliance Repair LLC
Gary, IN

Federal Way Appliance Repair
Federal Way, WA

Appleton Appliance Repair
Appleton, WI

Key Glendale Appliance Repair
Glendale, AZ

Fred’s Appliance Service
Cleveland, OH