Garbage Disposal Humming, But Not Working. How to Fix It?

by Paul

Garbage Disposal

You are turning on your disposal and the garbage disposal is humming but not working – possibly the most common problem among disposal unit owners.

But don’t worry, it has easy simple fixes that you can do by yourself. You don’t need to be an efficient home tool expert and also, there is no need to bear the expense of calling a plumber. Feels good, right?

When your garbage disposal hums but doesn’t work, that means it is getting power but unable to spin inside. Let’s see what could be the reason behind garbage disposal humming but not working.

Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Working

  • Step 1:
    Disconnect the Power Connection
  • Step 2: 
    Pour Water Inside the Unit
  • Step 3: 
    Push the Reset Button
  • Step 4: 
    Turn the Breaker Socket with an Allen Wrench
  • Step 5: 
    Remove the Garbage Disposal & Clean It
  • Step 6: 
    Is your Garbage Disposal Old Enough to Get Replaced?

Step 1: Disconnect the Power Connection

Before doing any fixes with your disposal unit, please remember to disconnect the power cord. Never put your hand inside the garbage disposal. Not even when there is no power connection. The grinding blades can simply chop your hand like a vegetable. To avoid any kind of accidents be conscious and always remove the power cord before starting the work (no, I do not recommend having a beer or two before the job).

Step 2: Pour Water Inside the Unit

Usually, the cooking items contain oil and fat elements that can get stuck inside a garbage disposal. Over time it can harden and jam the blades. Besides that, starchy substances like rice, noodles, pasta, stringy vegetable particles, etc. get jammed inside the small areas.

A strong flow of boiling water can simply wash out these substances and make the jammed corners clean and clear. After pouring a good amount of hot water, let it rest it for at least 5 minutes. Run the cold water now. It will take away all the remaining greasy water from your disposal. Try to run the disposal now. If still the garbage disposal makes humming noise, you need to proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Push the Reset Button

reset button disposal suggest

Sometimes when your garbage disposal hums but doesn’t work, you can simply push the reset button and fix it. Check if your reset button is tripped, then push the reset button and it will be good to go.

The reset buttons of Insinkerator disposal models are placed at the bottom side of the disposal unit. If the reset button is not tripped, that means the power is ok, and you don’t need to push it. In that case, go for the next step.

Step 4: Turn the Breaker Socket with an Allen Wrench

Allen wrench disposalsuggest

At the bottom side of your garbage disposal, you will find a breaker socket just beside the red reset button. Insinkerator models contain the reset button underneath the disposal cylinder.

The other brands may place the reset button somewhere else, but in most cases, it’s at the bottom. But you will find the socket underneath your disposal cylinder.

When a garbage disposal’s humming but not working, an Allen Wrench is your best friend. Most of the disposal units come with an Allen Wrench while buying.

Take your Allen Wrench and place it inside the socket. Now push it back and forth. While pushing it back and forth, you may hear some cracking noise. After that, if the wrench moves around easily then probably the stuck is removed.

Most of the time after this step, when you’ll turn on the disposal, it will stop the humming noise and turn on. If you still cannot turn the blades with the Allen Wrench and the garbage disposal makes humming noise then maybe something bigger is stuck inside the disposal unit. Proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Remove the Garbage Disposal & Clean It

Take a torch and look inside the garbage disposal’s grinding chamber. If you can see anything stuck inside the unit that needs to pull out then you may need to remove the disposal from the sink and clean it.

Sometimes things like glass and cutleries can accidentally fall inside the garbage disposal and get stuck. If you see there is glass in garbage disposal I’d suggest you read this solution about how to get glass out of garbage disposal.

Never use your hand to pull up things from the disposal. Take any kind of long broomstick and try to pull the substances from the disposal. If there is nothing visible inside the garbage disposal, you may try to move the grinding blades with the broomstick and unclog it. Make sure you clean the drain pipes as well to avoid any kind of jams.

To remove and re-install a disposal unit you may simply call a plumber to avoid the hassle. Otherwise, You can have help from my blog if you need help to remove the garbage disposal and re-install the garbage disposal.

Step 6: Is your Garbage Disposal Old Enough to Get Replaced?

After trying all the above fixes if still there is a garbage disposal humming but not working then you might need a new garbage disposal. If the unit is a new one, try to call the manufacturer and go for the warranty. If it is old enough then go for a new one. Read my reviews of the best garbage disposals available in the market.