6 Steps to Fix Humming Garbage Disposals

An image of a garbage disposal unit.

Almost every home today is equipped with a garbage disposal unit. This simple machine provides extremely valuable service and usually operates for many years without a hitch. However, this does not mean that it will eventually breakdown or cease to operate. The good news is that normally getting it into working order is relatively simple. But, what does it mean if your garbage disposal begins to hum?

Humming Sound

The humming (or sometimes buzzing) sound that your garbage disposal makes is an indication that there is power coming into the unit but the blades are not turning. The humming sound can be a sign that the motor is clogged or jammed resulting in its failure to grind. Sometimes you may find that the garbage disposal will stop on its own even if you did not turn the unit off. What is the best way to deal with this?

It is not uncommon that bits and pieces of food are the culprit. These could be stuck between the impeller blade and the drain hole causing the unit to jam. To solve this problem, follow these steps:

  1. Cut the power to the garbage disposer by unplugging the unit and cutting the electrical circuit to prevent the motor from burning out and ensure that you do not get electrocuted;
  2. Go under the sink and stick the hex head Allen wrench in the breaker socket found at the bottom section of the garbage disposer;
  3. Start turning the wrench tool back and forth to get the flywheel to turn and set free the jammed particle in the impeller blades;
  4. If the garbage disposer does not have a hex hole or if you do not have an Allen wrench, get a short broom and stick it into the garbage disposer. Make sure that you force it down against one of the impeller blades and start rotating it manually back and forth;
  5. Feed power back to the garbage disposal unit and check if normal function has been restored. Take note if you can still hear a humming or buzzing sound coming from the unit;
  6. If this process does not work, there may be other reasons why you are experiencing problems with your garbage disposal unit. Go ahead and call a plumber in Orange County.

Other Causes of Humming

Aside from what has already been mentioned, there are instances wherein humming sound is emitted by your garbage disposal unit. Understanding them will give you an informed decision on what to do next. So, what are these other causes that you should be aware about?

An image of a woman with a blocked garbage disposal.
  1. Stuck Foreign Object – this means objects that are not supposed to be in the garbage disposer in the first place. How did it get there? Possibly, a child threw it down the sink and the object found its way into the unit without being noticed. When this causes the impeller blades to jam, a humming sound is produced. Cut all power to the unit and inspect the disposer for anything that is jammed in the unit. Use a tong to remove any stuck foreign object to restore disposer functionality.
  2. Tripped GFI or Disposer – it is not impossible that the GFI, GFCI electrical outlet, or the garbage disposer itself has tripped. This lack of electrical current to turn the motor may cause a humming sound to be produced. In this instance, the best solution is to simply press the reset button and test if normal disposer operation is restored. The reset button can be found at the bottom of the unit.

General Garbage Disposal Care Tips

In the hopes that after fixing your issue, you won’t eencounter any further, here are some general care tips to keep your disposal in top shape.

  • Put hard pieces of food like small chicken bones through it occasionally. When the disposal pulverizes these items, the bits of hard material will scour the sides of the grinding chamber and remove build-up. This helps to keep your garbage disposal clean.
  • Run cold water down the drain when you are running the garbage disposal. Generally speaking, disposals perform at their peak when in combination with cold water. Also, the cold water helps to turn grease and fat to a solid state, which makes them easier to flush through the system.
  • Once a monthyou should clean your garbage disposal by filling it with ice cubes. Then run cold water, and turn on the disposal. This will help to remove any grease or other gunk that is built up on the walls of the garbage disposal.
  •  Don’t stuff the garbage disposal too full. Trying to stuff too much food through at once will cause the disposal to jam. Instead, fill the disposal loosely.
  • When you put food into the garbage disposalbe sure to run the disposal right away. Don’t put food in there and let it sit. Food that sits in the disposal will lead to corrosion, so turn the disposal on every time you put food in it.
  •  Keep non-food items away from the garbage disposal. The most common way to damage a garbage disposal is by accidentally dropping silverware, jewelry, or other items into the disposal.

Now that you are aware why your garbage disposal unit can be producing a humming sound, you will be able to decide on the best way to remedy the problem. In case you continue to experience problems with the operation of your garbage disposal, call Scott English Plumbing immediately! If you need your garbage disposal or any kitchen plumbing repaired, feel free to give your plumber in Orange County at Scott English a call.

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