June 1, 2013

How to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch

This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the momentary start switch on a trash compactor. The momentary switch, located behind the front frame cover on the right, starts the motor to compact trash when you lift the foot pedal. If the motor won't start when you activate the momentary start switch, replace the switch with the manufacturer-approved trash compactor part.

Follow these steps to replace the momentary start switch on Kenmore, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Maytag and JennAir trash compactors.

Quick links
Tools required
Nut driver set
Phillips screwdriver
Pliers
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Pull the trash compactor out of the counter

    Lay cardboard in front of the trash compactor to protect the floor, then remove the mounting screws that secure the trash compactor in the counter. Pull the trash compactor out of the counter.

    Tip: Use your installation manual as a guide.
  2. 02.

    Disconnect electrical power

    Unplug the trash compactor or shut off the house circuit breaker.

  3. 03.

    Remove the drawer

    Pull the drawer out until it stops.

    Grasp the drawer handle firmly and lift the front of the drawer until the rail stops clear the drawer rail.

    Carefully lift the drawer out of the compactor and set it aside. 

    PHOTO: Pull the drawer out until it hits the rail stops.

    PHOTO: Pull the drawer out until it hits the rail stops.

    PHOTO: Lift the drawer up to clear the rail stops and remove the drawer.

    PHOTO: Lift the drawer up to clear the rail stops and remove the drawer.

  4. 04.

    Remove the top cover

    Remove the mounting screws that secure the top cover to the trash compactor frame. Pull the top cover off and set it aside.

    PHOTO: Remove the top panel screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the top panel screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the top panel.

    PHOTO: Remove the top panel.

  5. 05.

    Release the front frame

    Remove the air filter.

    Remove the mounting screws that secure the front frame to the trash compactor.

    Pull the frame off the front of the trash compactor. The switch wires are still attached.

    PHOTO: Remove the air filter cover.

    PHOTO: Remove the air filter cover.

    PHOTO: Remove the air filter.

    PHOTO: Remove the air filter.

    PHOTO: Remove the top frame screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the top frame screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the side frame screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the side frame screws.

    PHOTO: Pull off the front frame.

    PHOTO: Pull off the front frame.

  6. 06.

    Remove the momentary start switch

    Note the location of wires or take a digital photo of the connections before removing the wires..

    Pull the wires off the start switch.

    Release the clips that hold the switch in the front frame and pull the switch out.

    PHOTO: Pull off the switch wires.

    PHOTO: Pull off the switch wires.

    PHOTO: Remove the start switch.

    PHOTO: Remove the start switch.

  7. 07.

    Install the new momentary start switch

    Push the new momentary start switch into the front frame until the locking tabs snap into place.

    Connect the wires to the new momentary start switch, using the digital photo or notes for reference.

  8. 08.

    Reinstall the front frame

    Position the front frame on the front of the trash compactor and install the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the air filter.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the front frame.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the front frame.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the front frame screws.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the front frame screws.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the air filter.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the air filter.

  9. 09.

    Reinstall the top cover

    Position the top cover and install the mounting screws.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the top cover.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the top cover.

  10. 10.

    Reinstall the drawer

    Tilt the drawer up and insert the drawer rails into the rails on the inside frame of the compactor.

    Slide the drawer in and make sure that it shuts and opens properly.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the drawer.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the drawer.

  11. 11.

    Restore power

    Plug in the trash compactor or reset the house circuit breaker.

  12. 12.

    Reinstall the trash compactor in the counter

    Slide the trash compactor into the counter opening and install the mounting screws.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all trash compactors

Choose a symptom to see related trash compactor repairs.

Main causes: lack of power, faulty drawer safety switch, bad power switch, momentary start switch failure, bad drive motor, wiring failure
Main cause: faulty drawer tilt switch
Main causes: stuck foot pedal, bad momentary start switch, power switch failure
Main cause: broken top limit and directional switch
Main causes: bent drawer support rollers, damaged trash container
Main causes: stripped or broken power nuts, broken or disconnected drive gear and sprocket chain, damaged drive parts
Main causes: broken drive gear and sprocket chain, stripped power nuts, faulty top limit and directional switch

Repair guides common to all trash compactors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your trash compactor.

June 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a trash compactor power switch

If the trash compactor won’t power up, use the steps in this repair guide to replace the power switch.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch

The momentary start switch starts the motor when you lift the foot pedal. This repair guide shows how to replace the switch if it stops working

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a trash compactor motor centrifugal switch

If the trash compactor ram won’t return to the top position, replace the motor centrifugal switch by following the instructions in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all trash compactors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your trash compactor.

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