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Garbage Disposal Humming – Find out what to do

Garbage Disposal Humming – What Does it Mean and How to Fix It

We’ve all had trouble with a garbage disposal at some time in our lives. It often happens when you flip the switch and hear nothing but a humming noise coming from the kitchen sink. Nowhere to be found is the familiar noise of food debris and water noisily being chopped up and flushed down the drain.

There are two things that might be causing the problem. The most common is that you have a clogged or jammed disposal that’s easy to fix. The other is that you have a burned out motor in your disposal that should be fixed by a professional-or at least the maintenance guy if you live in an apartment.

Fixing a Clogged or Jammed Garbage Disposal

The humming noise coming from a disposal that’s jammed is most often caused by a foreign object lodged in the blades. The blades still work and are receiving power, but they can’t rotate because of the obstruction. The object blocking the blades might be a larger object that’s jammed into a corner on the top or the sides of the blades. It could also be a small hard substance like a bone fragment or a course substance which has built up like sand or coffee grounds.

Disconnect the Power. To safely attempt to fix this on your own, you should disconnect the power cord of the garbage disposal underneath the sink to make sure it doesn’t accidentally start while you’re trying to retrieve the object.

Manually Turn the Blades. Many brands of disposals have a socket fitting on the bottom that allows you to rotate the blades with a special type of wrench that comes with the disposal. If you don’t have the disposal wrench, you can use a standard quarter-inch Allen wrench in its place. Using this wrench you can turn the blades back and forth in an attempt to dislodge the obstruction from the blades.

If there is no socket fitting on the bottom of the disposal to turn it manually, you can use a stick or broom handle placed inside the disposal itself from the drain to move the blades back and forth. This often works best when placed at about a forty-five degree angle against the sides of the blades.

Remove the Debris. After loosening the debris, sift around inside the disposal with a pair of tongs, making sure to avoid putting your hand into the disposal. If the object was a larger piece, you should be able to pull it out of the disposal and throw it away. If the obstruction was due to coffee grounds, sand or other course particles, you should be able to run the water with the disposal on to flush the rest of it down the drain.

A Burned-Out Motor

If your disposal doesn’t seem to be clogged or jammed and is making a humming noise or no noise at all, you probably have a burned-out motor. The only solution is to buy a new disposal or hire a plumber to service the motor. Either way, it’s a job best left to the professionals.

Most garbage disposal problems are easy fixes that can be remedied with little time investment. If you turn on your disposal and hear only a low humming, don’t panic. Assess the situation and the brand of your disposal before attempting a fix. Determine if it’s a fixable clog or jam, or if you need a new motor. Try to keep track of what goes down the drain so that you can avoid problems in the future. Follow these procedures and work with safety in mind and you’ll have a working garbage disposal again in no time.