Here's Why Your Garbage Disposal Is Humming And How To Fix It

When you flip the switch to your garbage disposal, the expected sounds of crushing food waste and powerful spinning blades should suddenly fill the room. If you don't hear this, that means an issue is going on inside. To begin identifying the problem, you first have to answer two questions. Is there a humming sound? Or is the unit silent?

If the garbage disposal is completely quiet, it likely indicates power is not reaching the disposal. In that instance, you will need to check your breaker box and possibly call an electrician. A faint humming sound, however, indicates the flow of electricity is solid. It's the garbage disposal itself causing problems.

Fixing a malfunctioning garbage disposal begins with identifying the source of trouble. If your disposal has a reset button, try that process first. If the humming persists, an obstructed blade or even a busted motor could be at fault. Another possible addition to the list is a drain that is either clogged or out of line. Fixing any of these issues will require a dip under the sink, but the most important step in any of the solutions begins with shutting off power to the disposal. The safest way to do that is to flip the switch off and pull the plug though you may want to cut power at the breaker, too.

Checking the blades and motor

Once the garbage disposal is safely off, the troubleshooting begins. Your first test should always be of the blades, as jammed blades are the most typical source of humming. Break out a flashlight to check inside the disposal. If you spot something, grab a long, blunt tool to try and dislodge the item. You could use a Phillips head screwdriver or even a wooden spoon from your kitchen.

If the blades don't turn after, try rotating the blades manually using an Allen wrench or similar tool. You'll need to get under the disposal and locate the hole at the bottom. If nothing shakes loose after several turns, the next likely culprit is the motor. For that, there's not much you can do in terms of an at-home fix. You'll need to call a plumber to determine whether the motor needs to be repaired or replaced. The cost of repairing a garbage disposal can be upwards of a few hundred dollars, and a replacement is more than that.

Keeping your garbage disposal clean

Though it is less likely, the drain to your garbage disposal might be clogged or out of line, which can also prevent the disposal from working properly. You can break out a plunger or drain snake if you have one handy to try and dislodge the clog. You could even go as far as dismantling the drain yourself to give it a good clean or to realign it, but that can be an extensive process all on its own. Unless you're comfortable working with water cutoffs and drain pipes, you'll probably want to call your local plumber.

Whether it's a drain problem or a jammed blade, keeping your disposal clean can prevent the issue from recurring. The easiest at-home remedy involves vinegar and baking soda. Just pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Wait 15 to 30 minutes, and then rinse with hot water. You will want to be wary of some garbage disposal cleaning hacks, like using ice cubes or hot water, as they might cause more harm than good. Another way to help your disposal is by keeping non-food items and grease out of it, running plenty of water through it as it grinds, and making sure all disposed food items are relatively small.