Why garbage disposals hum is something we can explain. When your disposal hums, you know something is wrong. But what is it?
Frustrated homeowners call Atlanta plumbers with humming garbage disposals all the time. But why does a garbage disposal unit start humming instead of spinning and chopping? You only realize how much you rely on this handy device once it stops working and starts buzzing.
Troubleshooting the garbage disposal humming is usually relatively easy—even for a novice. And if something more significant is hiding under your sink, a plumber is only a phone call away. So, the next time your sink disposal unit makes a humming noise, here are some tips to help.
Please keep reading to learn about the most common garbage disposal problems and how to solve them. So, your garbage disposal has been humming for a while now. It is annoying. But what can you do when you hear constant humming when you turn on your garbage disposal? Here is what to check first.
What To Check When Have A Humming Garbage Disposal
Check the motor. Is it running? Inspect the power cord for damage, like exposed wires.
Shine a flashlight down your garbage disposal to check the blades. When the disposal is on, you should see two metal blades spinning. Are the blades turning?
If you do not see something stuck between the disposal blades, locate the Allen wrench that came with the disposal. It may be attached to the unit or near the unit somewhere under the sink. However, an Allen wrench is easy enough to buy at a local hardware or home improvement store if you cannot find it.
Turn off the power to the disposal. And with the right size Allen wrench in hand, locate the breaker socket on the bottom of the disposal. Put the Allen wrench into the breaker socket and turn it back and forth. By doing this, you can unlock the source of the problem and unjam the blades.
If the blades move freely and there are no foreign objects inside the disposal, turn on the power to the unit. Next, see if the disposal has stopped humming and will run normally. If it does, you have fixed your garbage disposal. However, if not, please call a plumber for additional professional assistance.
How To Fix The 4 Most Likely Reasons For Garbage Disposal Humming
1. Something Stuck Inside The Unit
What were you doing before the garbage disposal began humming? That will help you understand why it is not working and how to fix it. Were you trying to chop up scraps from dinner? Humming indicates that power is still running through the disposal. Still, something is not allowing the motor to spin the mechanism. All it takes is one giant hunk of food to stop the blades and the motor.
Grab a flashlight and peer down the sink. Can you see any foreign objects or other debris inside? If so, then you can try to retrieve it.
Power off your garbage disposal first. Do not stick your hand down the drain quickly without thinking. You deal with water, electricity, and sharp blades that spin extremely fast. That is a dangerous combination. It would help if you took the proper precautions.
Please turn off the disposal and unplug it. Then shut off the circuit breaker if you cannot locate the plug. Once there is no power to the disposal, you can slowly put your hand down the drain. Then, grab whatever is blocking the blades and remove it. After you remove the object, the garbage disposal should work like new—no more humming garbage disposal.
Sometimes, however, the item blocking is too deep to remove without assistance. When this happens, hire a plumber to unjam your disposal.
2. You Stuffed Too Much Down The Drain
What happens if you jam too much down the disposal? It will stop working and start humming. You might hear the unit trying to run, but until it cools, the garbage disposal will not work. The motor will hum.
Garbage disposal motors are small and can overheat quickly. So, give it time to cool down and let the motor rest. Then, please turn it off and walk away for a while. After that, it should start working again. If it does not start, push the red reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal.
How can you prevent garbage disposal from overheating? First, limit the amount of food you dispose of at once. Only do small batches at a time. Yes, cleaning up your mess will take longer, but you will not have a broken disposal. Also, running cold water when using the unit will help keep the motor cool.
3. A Tripped Breaker Can Cause Garbage Disposal Humming
Every home has a breaker panel with circuit breakers to prevent electrical fires. Using the garbage disposal while running other kitchen appliances might trip a breaker. When this happens, the disposal and other devices on that circuit will shut off.
You may still hear a slight humming coming from your disposal. That is because if the breaker did not fully trip, some electricity might still flow to the unit. But more electricity is needed to run the motor.
To fix a tripped breaker. Locate your breaker box. It may be in the basement, laundry room, garage, hallway, or utility closet. Take a flashlight with you. You will see rows of individual circuit breakers when you open the door to your breaker box. First, find the switch inside the breaker panel that controls kitchen appliances.
Look for the tripped circuit breaker. Circuit breaker switches either have two or three settings. Those with two settings switch on and off. And those with three settings switch on, off, and to a neutral or center position.
If the tripped breaker is off, switch it to the on position. For a circuit breaker in the neutral position, flip it off and then back to the on position. Wait a moment to ensure the breaker is reset and stays in the on position. If the switch does not stay on, the breaker is not reset. So, please get in touch with an electrician in that case.
You can prevent tripping breakers by limiting how many appliances you run at once on the same circuit. However, you need an electrician to update the circuit panel if the kitchen breaker continues to trip.
4. Your Garbage Disposal Unit Is At The End Of Its Useful Life
After years of chopping, the disposal will wear out, and you may need a replacement. With Morningside Plumbing, garbage disposal installation is a phone call away. And our plumbers can help you select the best garbage disposal. A small 1/3-1/2 horsepower unit may be the proper size if you live alone. However, consider a unit with a 3/4-1 horsepower motor for four people.
How To Prevent Your Disposal From Ever Humming Again
Watching what you put down the drain is the best way to keep your garbage disposal working. Jammed blades are often the reasons a garbage disposal motor just hums and does not run. If you find your garbage disposal making a humming noise, there are ways to prevent it from happening again. Read on to find out how.
Grind Small Scraps Only With Cold Water Running
Do not put too much food down the drain. Food particles can clog up pipes and cause the disposal to overheat. Prevent garbage disposal problems by breaking up large scraps before they go down the drain. Also, your disposal is less likely to jam if you run water for 15 seconds after you grind large scraps.
Use Ice Cubes To Sharpen Chopping Blades
Grind a handful of ice cubes in your garbage disposal once a month to sharpen the blades and clear away scraps stuck inside. Ice is hard enough to sharpen the blades and then melt away without causing damage.
Avoid Putting These Items In Your Garbage Disposal
Here is a list of what to avoid putting at your disposal. These items will damage disposal blades, cause jams, overheating motors, and make disposals hum – or worse.
No Cooking Oil, Fat, and Grease
Remember that oil and water do not mix. Any fat you put down the drain enters the sewer system. So not only will it clog your drain, but grease will also cause sewer pipe blockages. Learn how to dispose of fat and grease the right way.
Avoid Fibrous Material Like Celery
Do not put celery in your garbage disposal. Celery is full of stringy fibers that get caught in disposal blades. When celery stalks jam a unit, the motor overheats.
No Pasta and No Noodles
Noodles and pasta stick to and tangle in disposal blades jamming and overheating disposals in no time. So, putting pasta down the kitchen sink is a quick way to create a sticky clog in your pipes. So please do not do it.
Bones, Fruit Pits, and Nuts Are Too Hard
Never put nuts, pits, or bones down your kitchen sink. No matter how small, these hard items will not grind, cannot be chopped, and will damage and break disposal blades. In addition, a bone or pit can shoot out of a disposal like a bullet.
Avoid All Non-Food Items
Do not put non-food items into a garbage disposal.
Call A Plumber To Repair Your Garbage Disposal
While you may DIY a minor problem with your garbage disposal, you must leave the more significant jobs to a professional local plumber. The plumbers near me at Morningside Plumbing know how to install, repair, and maintain drains, sewer lines, and pipes. Check out these stellar customer reviews for this Atlanta plumber. So, if your garbage disposal hums, smells, or stops working, we can help.
Whether you need to repair or replace your disposal, our plumbers can help. Here at Morningside Plumbing, we understand the significance of exceptional customer service. When you schedule a plumbing repair, we arrive on time. No matter if your problem is big or small, we will go beyond to fix it promptly.