Trash Compactor: Won't stop running

A stuck foot pedal or failed momentary start switch will cause the trash compactor to run constantly.

If the trash compactor starts as soon as you close the drawer and won't stop running, unplug the trash compactor and check the foot pedal. Make sure the foot pedal pivots freely. Repair or replace the foot pedal if it's stuck in the start position.

If the foot pedal pivots freely, then you'll likely need to replace the momentary start switch because the switch is constantly supplying power to the motor.

In trash compactors that combine the power switch and momentary start switch, you'll likely need to replace the power switch if the foot pedal pivots freely and the motor runs constantly.

trash compactor

These repairs may help solve your trash compactor problem

Replace the trash compactor momentary start switch

Replace the trash compactor momentary start switch

The momentary start switch starts the trash compactor. Replace the start switch if the trash compactor won't start when the momentary start switch is activated. Replace the momentary start switch if the motor doesn't stop running when the ram is in its highest position.

How to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch

If your trash compactor's motor won't start when you lift the foot pedal, the momentary start switch could be broken. The repair guide shows how to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the trash compactor power switch

Replace the trash compactor power switch

The power switch turns on the power to the trash compactor. Some models combine the power switch and momentary start switch. Replace the power switch if the compactor won't start or the power switch is damaged.

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

If your trash compactor won't start at all, the power switch might be the problem. This step-by-step repair guide shows how to replace a trash compactor power switch in 30 minutes or less.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Symptoms common to all trash compactors

Choose a symptom to see related trash compactor repairs.

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 cause: faulty drawer tilt switch
Main causes: lack of power, faulty drawer safety switch, bad power switch, momentary start switch failure, bad drive motor, wiring failure
Main causes: stuck foot pedal, bad momentary start switch, power switch failure
Main cause: broken top limit and directional switch
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.

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
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
 30 minutes or less
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
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.

January 6, 2015
Troubleshooting a stuck trash compactor drawer
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn what to check if you are having problems with the drawer sticking on your trash compactor.

December 26, 2014
Preventing trash compactor odors
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Here are helpful tips for keeping your trash compactor clean and fresh.

July 1, 2014
Trash compactor common questions
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what questions our experts most often get about trash compactors.