Garbage Disposal Humming but Not Working: How To Fix It

Garbage Disposal Humming but Not Working
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If your garbage disposal is humming but not working, it’s likely that it’s jammed or there’s a problem with the motor. This can be a frustrating problem, but it’s usually easy to fix yourself with a few simple tools.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to troubleshoot a garbage disposal that’s humming but not working. We’ll also give you some tips on how to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Why Is Your Garbage Disposal Humming but Not Working and How Can You Fix It?

One of four things—a foreign object stuck in the blades, a malfunctioning motor, a misaligned drain, or a clogged drain—is typically to blame for humming garbage disposal. Let’s look more closely at each of these causes and how to address them.

#1. Object Caught in the Blades

If you hear a humming noise coming from your garbage disposal but it’s not spinning, it could be because something is caught between the blades. This could be due to a variety of factors, including silverware, plastic bags, or food waste.

If you believe that something is causing your garbage disposal blades to become caught, unplug them and inspect them with a flashlight. If you see something caught between the blades, try using a wooden spoon or other blunt instrument to release it.

Take caution not to put your hand in the garbage disposal because the blades might be very sharp. You can also use an Allen wrench to pry the thing loose. Insert the wrench into the bottom hole at the bottom of the garburator.

Twist the wrench back and forth to loosen the thing. If you are unable to remove the object using these methods, you may need to contact a specialist.

#2. Motor Malfunction

If your garbage disposal is humming and not working, the most likely cause is a problem with the unit’s motor. This is due to a variety of variables, including how long you’ve been using the system, overuse, or faulty installation.

If you suspect that the motor is faulty, you can try to reset it by turning off the disposal, unplugging it, and waiting a few minutes. Then reconnect it and turn it on. If the motor is still not working, it may be time to replace it.

#3. Drain Obstruction

If your garbage disposal is humming and you’ve ruled out all other possibilities, the drain may be jammed. This is due to a variety of factors, including food, grease, soap scum, and toothpaste.

If you believe your drain is clogged, use a plunger or a plumbing snake to clear it. You can also try pouring boiling water down the drain to clear it. If the clog is severe enough, you can remove the drain pipe and clean it out.

If you’ve tried all of the procedures listed above and your garbage disposal is still humming, it’s time to call a plumber to repair it.

How to Troubleshoot a Garbage Disposal

#1. Examine the Outlet

If the disposal does not turn on when you flip the switch and you do not hear the motor humming, this suggests an electrical problem that is preventing the appliance from receiving power. To discover and fix a problem, start with the most likely problem (and quickest solution) and work your way up.

The most obvious remedy is sometimes neglected. Before you start thinking about the wiring, ensure that the disposal is turned on. If the unit is not plugged into an outlet, it will not respond when the switch is flipped.

  • Check that the socket and power cord are correctly connected.
  • Run a garbage disposal test.

#2. Check for Power

If the garbage disposal is hooked in, the problem could be a tripped circuit breaker. It should be noted that an electrical short in the disposal might cause the circuit breaker to trip in some situations, so if this is a regular problem, there may be a more complicated issue with the actual garbage disposal that requires professional repair.

If the circuit breaker is still turned on, there could be a problem with the wiring. You can use a voltage tester to ensure that power is flowing to the unit. A simple loose connection may be the source of the problem in some circumstances, and the solution is as simple as tightening the wire connections.

  • Check the breaker panel and re-energize the circuit if it has tripped.
  • If the breaker has not tripped, use a voltage tester to check whether power is being supplied to the garbage disposal.
  • If the disposal is not receiving electricity, turn off the circuit breaker and remove the faceplate from the disposal switch.
  • Examine the wiring and tighten or secure any loose connections.
  • Reconnect the electricity and test the disposal.

#3. Click the Reset Button.

The built-in circuit breaker is another issue that could be causing the garbage disposal to malfunction. Garbage disposals use a built-in circuit breaker to protect the appliance from damage in the event of an electrical short or surge. If the internal circuit breaker trips, merely pressing the reset button on the disposal’s bottom will restore power.

  • Locate the reset button on the disposal’s bottom.
  • To reset the internal circuit breaker, press the reset button.
  • To check that the problem has been resolved, test the disposal.

#4. Repair any flywheel or impeller jams.

If the garbage disposal does not grind but the motor creates a humming sound when you turn it on, the impeller or inner flywheel is jammed. Unless the reset button or circuit breaker is used, this might cause the disposal’s motor to burn out. The humming of the garbage disposal is almost always caused by food or a foreign object becoming trapped between the impeller(s) and the shredding ring inside the disposal.

  • Turn off the garbage disposal’s electricity using the switch and the circuit breaker.
  • Insert an offset wrench or hex wrench into the flywheel hole on the unit’s bottom and crank the flywheel clockwise to dislodge any obstacles.
  • If you do not have an appropriate wrench or the obstacle is higher in the disposal, you can grab the obstruction and pull it out using pliers or even tongs.
  • Restore power to the disposal after removing the obstruction, then press the reset button on the unit to reset the internal circuit breaker.
  • Pour some tap water into the garbage disposal and swiftly turn the switch on and off for a few seconds. Switch on and off quickly. This should spin the flywheel and flush any loose debris down the drain.

#5. Resolve Leaks

Garbage disposal leaks can occur in a variety of locations on a garbage disposal. The sink flange, where the disposal connects to the sink’s bottom, the hose that links the dishwasher to the disposal, and the hose that discharges trash from the disposal to the drain system are all common locations.

The Sink Flange is leaking.

Over time, the continual vibration of a garbage disposal can loosen the mounting device that secures the appliance to the sink drain opening. This sink mounting flange is prone to leaking.

  • Turn off the disposal’s power.
  • Turn the disposal to the left (counter-clockwise from the bottom) at the disposal mounting ring under the sink to loosen and remove the device from its mounting flange.
  • Apply a fresh bead of plumber putty between the sink flange and the sink, then tighten the three mounting bolts that keep the flange attached to the sink. Wipe away any extra putty that flows out.
  • Reinstall the disposal and reconnect the electricity at the service panel.
  • As you run the water in the sink, look for leaks.

The Dishwasher Connection Leak

Leaks are common in the rubber hose that transports wastewater from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal.

  • Tighten the hose clamp on the dishwashing hose linked to the disposal’s dishwasher intake.
  • If the hose continues to leak, replace it.

The Discharge Drainpipe is leaking.

Another piece of plastic pipe transports wastewater from the disposal to the sink drain trap, and this fitting can leak as the gasket deteriorates.

  • Make sure that the fasteners that connect the discharge pipe to the disposal are snug.
  • If this does not work, remove the bolts and pipe, and then replace the gasket seal between the pipe and the disposal.
  • Replace the bolts and tighten them.

#6. Remove the Drain Trap

There are many potential causes of garbage disposal and draining delays, but the main one is the same type of blockage that can impede any sink drain. To remove obstructions, the drain trap and discharge pipe are usually disassembled.

  • Disconnect the drain trap and the discharge drainpipe by removing the bolts that hold the discharge pipe to the disposal.
  • Examine the disposal for clogs or obstructions and clean it.
  • If none are discovered, the clog is most likely on the branch drain line leading into the wall. Use a sink auger to remove the impediment.
  • Reassemble the drain trap and attach the discharge tube to the garbage disposal’s side.
  • Run water, turn on the garbage disposal, and make sure the water is flowing freely.

When using a garbage disposal, never use chemical drain cleaners. These chemicals rarely work, leaving you with dangerous substances in your sink. Furthermore, such chemicals frequently cause garbage disposal damage and breach the manufacturer’s warranty.

Why Did My Garbage Disposal Quit Working All of a Sudden?

If the internal circuit breaker or the house circuit breaker is flipped, the garbage disposal may cease working. This can happen as a result of an electrical short, a power spike, or an obstruction in the disposal that prevents it from working properly.

Related: HOW TO GET A KEY OUT OF A LOCK: Step-by-Step Guide

How Can I Tell if My Garbage Disposal Motor Has Failed?

You may notice a burning smell or see smoke emanating from the disposal during regular use or garbage disposal maintenance. This indicates that the garbage disposal motor has overheated and will burn out if used further. A garbage disposal motor will usually burn out if you use it while there is a major blockage or obstruction.

How Long Does It Take to Reset a Garbage Disposal?

When you press the reset button on a garbage disposal, it will usually reset. If the button reappears after returning power to the unit, wait about 10 minutes before attempting again.

Tips for Safe Garbage Disposal

  • One of the best ways to keep the garbage disposal from humming is to take adequate care of it. Never put hot grease, oil, coffee grounds, seeds, stringy fruit, fibrous vegetables, egg shells, or hard shells in the garbage disposal.
  • When utilizing the garbage disposal, always run cold water. This helps to solidify fatty meals, allowing the blades to cut through food leftovers without becoming blocked with partially melted grease and lipids.
  • Never put your fingers or hands into the garbage disposal. Before clearing a blockage or removing a physical obstacle, always turn off the unit. Never use a chemical cleaner to clear a clog in a garbage disposal. These cleaners are harmful to your plumbing system and can spray out, causing harm to anyone near the disposal.


If your garbage disposal is humming but not working, there are a few things you can check to try to troubleshoot the problem. First, make sure the disposal is turned on and that there are no jams. If there are no jams, try resetting the disposal. If the disposal is still humming but not working, it’s possible that there’s a problem with the motor, and you’ll need to replace the motor or the entire disposal.

To prevent your garbage disposal from jamming and humming, only dispose of food scraps in the disposal, run the disposal with cold water, and use the disposal regularly.

If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting your garbage disposal yourself, you can always call a plumber.

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