Advice on Humming Garbage Disposals

We are reaching that time of year when home garbage disposals get their biggest workout. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are just around the corner. Families and friends will be gathering and cooking huge meals, and the remnants will get shoved down the garbage disposal. It is prime time for garbage disposals to get clogged or break down. 

If your garbage disposal can’t stand the workload and starts to make a humming noise without grinding, follow these tips to detect and repair the problem.

If your garbage disposal is humming, it is usually caused by one of two problems. A stuck flywheel or a seized motor bearing is likely to blame.

Stuck Flywheel

A stuck flywheel is the most common cause of a humming garbage disposal. Here’s how you can fix it.

1. First, shut off power to the garbage disposal by throwing the circuit breaker to the off position.

2. For safety reasons, do not ever put your hand down the garbage disposal.

3. The garbage disposal should have come with an Allen key or offset wrench. Locate that key, and insert it into the opening in the bottom of the unit. (If you can’t find the original, you can pick up an Allen key at the hardware store.)

4. Turn the key clockwise to release the stuck flywheel. When it releases, you will be able to feel the flywheel turning freely.

5. Instead of using the Allen key to reset the disposal, you can also use a broomstick to release a stuck flywheel. Just place a broomstick, wooden spoon (or other sturdy object) down the drain. Use the wooden spoon to manually turn the blades. As you push down, you should be able to feel the flywheel release. You can look down the disposal with a flashlight to see if you can visualize the jam, but don’t put your hand into the drain.

Seized Motor Bearing

If the flywheel is not stuck, then the source of the humming from the garbage disposal is likely a seized motor bearing. Unfortunately, if the motor bearing has seized, then the garbage disposal will need to be replaced.


The best thing that you can do to keep your garbage disposal running properly is to take care of it and treat it properly. First, do not place anything in the garbage disposal that is not food – no glass, no plastic, not even paper. If it isn’t edible, it shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal. Even some food items shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal if you want the disposal to work properly. 

Fibrous foods can wrap around the blades in the garbage disposal and cause a jam, so don’t put things like celery, corn husks, or onion skins in there. Don’t put oil or grease down the disposal, either; it can clog pipes and cause a stink. 

Finally, don’t put large bones or fruit pits in the garbage disposal. These items will dull the blades and can cause the motor to jam.

These steps can help you to get through a busy holiday season without any major garbage disposal mishaps. Treating your garbage disposal with care will often prevent jams and other problems.

If you do run into a garbage disposal problem, call Scott English Plumbing. We can fix your disposal or replace it with a new one. We are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so call for help anytime. 

Contact Scott English Plumbing for assistance with your garbage disposal or any plumbing matter today.


Find out more : Kitchen Repair