Garbage disposals have become a necessity for every kitchen today, and almost every household owns one. The services provided by this simple machine are very valuable, and it works for many years without any issue.

However, this does not mean that after a few years, it will break down to stop working eventually, as the good news for you is that bringing it back to working order is simpler than it sounds it is.

Before we get down to how to fix a garbage disposal that only hums, lets first look into what it means if your garbage disposal starts humming.

One of the most common issues with a garbage disposal are that when their switch is flipped, the disposal unit makes a loud humming sound.

It is an easy fix to get it to working correctly again, and in fact, it takes just a few seconds to rectify this issue in most cases.


This buzzing or humming sound made by your garbage disposal unit indicates that power is being supplied to the unit, but its blades are unable to turn.

The garbage disposal humming sound shows several things, including a clogged/jammed motor, which fails to grind the objects going through.

Sometimes the garbage disposal may also stop on its own even if the unit is not switched off. What will be the best method to deal with it now?

The most common reason behind this is the food pieces stuck between the drain hole and the impeller blade, which causes the unit to jam.

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The following steps can be taken to solve this problem:

  1. First things first, unplug the unit to cut the power supply to garbage disposal by cutting the electric circuit. This will prevent the motor from burning and will ensure that you are safe from getting electrocuted.
  2. Go beneath the sink and fix the hex-headed Allen wrench in the socket breaker present at the underside of the garbage disposer.
  3. Turn the wrench tool back and forth now to make the flywheel turn and set the jammed particles in the impeller blades free.
  4. If there is no hex hole present in the garbage disposer, or you do not have an Allen wrench, get a broomstick or a handle and put it in the garbage disposer.

Ensure that you are forcing it down the impeller blades and rotate it back and forth manually in a similar fashion described above.

5. Now turn on the power supply to the unit again and check if its normal function is restored. Note that the buzzing or humming sound may still be heard from the unit.

6. If your disposer is not functioning normally after following the above-described steps, note that you may be experiencing issues with the unit and will have to call in the plumber to get it fixed.

Other Reasons for Humming

Besides what has been mentioned already, there are other reasons as well as to why there is a humming sound emitted by the disposal unit.

Understanding these will give you an informed decision on what should be done next. Following are the causes which you should be aware of:

  1. Foreign Object Stuck: This means that items that should not be in the garbage disposer have entered it, but how?

Probably your little one dumped that in the sink, and the object went all the way to the disposer unit without getting noticed by you.

When impeller blades are jammed because of this, a buzz/humming sound is produced. Cut the power supply to the unit and check the disposer for any item which may push the unit.

Use a pair of pliers or a tong to remove any such foreign item stuck in it and restore the standard disposer functionality.

2.Tripped Disposer or GFI: There is also a high possibility that the garbage disposer or the GFI/GFCI electric outlet itself has tripped.

The lack of current supply to the motor may also cause the humming sound being produced in it, but this means that the garbage disposal is humming but not jammed.

For this, the best available solution is to reset the unit and test if its regular disposer operation has restored. The reset button is present beneath the unit.

Having seen why garbage disposal is producing such humming sounds, you can easily decide the best possible solution to solve the issue.

In case your problem persists, and you are still unable to fix the problem, you should immediately call a plumbing service.

Fixing a garbage disposal

Fixing a garbage disposal

Clogged Garbage Disposal:

It is no surprise that the garbage disposal may be clogged as there is so much stuff being thrown into the garbage disposal ordinarily.

To fix this issue, the following items will be needed:

  • Allen wrench
  • Tong or plier
  • A long stick or broom

Unplug the disposal from under the sink or switching off the breaker to turn off the power source to the unit.

Insert an Allen wrench into the pocket below the cylinder under the sink and twist it back and forth. Now use the broom or stick to dislodge the object stuck from the hole in the sink.

Using the tong or plier, pick up any item which may be dislodged.

2. An Overheated Disposal

You have been forcing items down the drain to the disposal unit; there is a high chance that the garbage disposal unit is overheated.

Let it rest for a while, wait for a couple of minutes, and try again. If it doesn’t work still, push the red button to reset the unit, which is present at the disposal cylinder’s bottom under the sink.

3. Replace the Disposal Unit

If you have had your disposal unit for a very long time, or have been resetting it regularly, or if it smells bad despite anything you do to clean it or even if it barely grinds the waste and clogs up the items in your drain always – now is the time you must replace it.

We hope that this guide has provided you enough information about your humming disposal unit and has also provided a useful guide on how to fix a garbage disposal unit that only hums.

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