A humming garbage disposal is a common issue that many homeowners face. If your garbage disposal is humming but not working, there are several potential causes and solutions you can try before calling a plumber. Here’s a troubleshooting guide to help you identify and fix the problem:
1. Check for Obstructions:
- Turn off the power to the disposal.
- Look inside the disposal with a flashlight to check for any visible objects, such as utensils or food particles, causing the jam.
- Use tongs or pliers (not your hands) to remove any obstructions.
2. Reset the Disposal:
- Locate the reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit.
- Press the reset button to reset the disposal.
- Turn on the power and check if the humming has stopped.
3. Free the Flywheel:
- Insert an Allen wrench into the hole at the bottom of the disposal.
- Rotate the wrench back and forth to free the flywheel, which might be stuck.
- Once the flywheel moves freely, remove the wrench.
4. Check the Circuit Breaker:
- If resetting doesn’t work, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure the disposal is receiving power.
- If the breaker has tripped, reset it and check the disposal again.
5. Inspect the Motor:
- If the disposal still hums without grinding, the motor might be malfunctioning.
- In this case, it’s best to call a professional plumber or technician to repair or replace the motor.
6. Lubricate the Disposal:
- Turn off the power.
- Use an appropriate lubricant (not a chemical drain cleaner) to lubricate the disposal’s motor. Check the manual for specific instructions.
- After lubricating, let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
- Turn on the power and check if the humming has stopped.
7. Check the Wiring:
- If you are comfortable with electrical work, turn off the power and inspect the wiring connected to the disposal.
- Make sure all connections are secure and undamaged. Replace any faulty wires if necessary.
8. Call a Professional:
- If you have tried all the above steps and the disposal still hums without functioning, it’s time to call a professional plumber or technician to diagnose and fix the issue.
Important Safety Tips:
- Always disconnect the power source before attempting any repairs.
- Never put your hands or any tools inside the disposal without disconnecting the power.
By following these steps, you can troubleshoot and fix a humming garbage disposal in many cases. If you are not comfortable with any of these steps or if the problem persists, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid further damage or injury.
Top Causes of Humming in Your Garbage Disposal
A humming sound coming from your garbage disposal typically indicates that the motor is getting power but is unable to grind the food waste. Several common causes can lead to this issue:
1. Jammed or Blocked Disposal:
- Cause: Food particles, utensils, or other foreign objects can get stuck in the disposal, preventing the blades from rotating freely.
- Solution: Use tongs or pliers to remove the jammed objects. Never put your hand inside the disposal without disconnecting the power.
2. Stuck Flywheel:
- Cause: The flywheel, a rotating mechanism inside the disposal, might get stuck due to accumulated debris.
- Solution: Insert an Allen wrench into the bottom of the disposal and rotate it back and forth to free the flywheel. Once it moves freely, the humming should stop.
3. Tripped Reset Button:
- Cause: The disposal has a reset button that trips if it overheats or encounters a jam.
- Solution: Locate the reset button on the bottom of the unit and press it. This resets the disposal and might solve the problem.
4. Electrical Issues:
- Cause: Faulty wiring, a malfunctioning switch, or a problem with the circuit breaker can lead to power issues in the disposal.
- Solution: Check the wiring and connections. If you find any issues, repair or replace the damaged parts. Also, check the circuit breaker and reset it if necessary.
5. Worn Out or Dull Blades:
- Cause: Over time, the blades of the disposal can become dull or wear out, reducing their effectiveness.
- Solution: If the blades are severely worn, you might need to replace them. Consult the disposal’s manual or a professional plumber for blade replacement.
6. Lack of Maintenance:
- Cause: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the disposal and avoiding putting certain items down the drain, can prevent jams and keep the disposal running smoothly.
- Solution: Follow proper maintenance procedures, such as running cold water while using the disposal and periodically grinding ice cubes or citrus peels to clean the blades.
7. Motor Issues:
- Cause: If none of the above solutions work, there might be an issue with the motor itself, such as burnt-out coils or a damaged rotor.
- Solution: In case of motor problems, it’s best to call a professional plumber or technician to assess the situation. They can repair or replace the motor as needed.
Regular maintenance and cautious use can prevent many of these issues. Remember, safety is paramount when dealing with garbage disposal problems. Always disconnect the power before attempting any repairs or maintenance tasks.
In conclusion, a humming garbage disposal is a common issue with various potential causes. It’s crucial to approach the problem systematically and safely to identify and fix the issue. Always prioritize your safety by disconnecting the power before attempting any troubleshooting or repairs.
- Check for Obstructions: Objects jammed in the disposal can cause humming. Use tongs or pliers to remove any visible obstructions.
- Reset the Disposal: Try resetting the disposal using the reset button on the bottom of the unit. This can often resolve minor issues.
- Free the Flywheel: If the flywheel is stuck, use an Allen wrench to rotate it and free the mechanism.
- Inspect the Motor: If the disposal continues to hum without grinding, there might be a motor malfunction. Professional assistance might be necessary.
- Regular Maintenance: Prevent issues by running cold water while using the disposal, avoiding putting hard or fibrous items down the drain, and cleaning it with ice cubes or citrus peels regularly.
- Electrical Check: Ensure there are no issues with the wiring, switch, or circuit breaker. Faulty electrical components can cause the humming sound.
Remember, if you’re unsure about any aspect of the troubleshooting process, it’s best to seek help from a professional plumber or technician. With proper care and maintenance, your garbage disposal can function efficiently and reliably, minimizing the chances of humming or other problems in the future.