How to Fix Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Working

Garbage disposals are a convenient and essential kitchen appliance that can make meal clean-up a breeze. However, like any other appliance, they can encounter issues that might make them stop working. One common problem that homeowners face is when their garbage disposal is humming but not working.

The humming sound can be quite frustrating, especially when you’re unsure of what’s causing it.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what it means when your garbage disposal is humming but not working, troubleshoot the problem, and provide preventative measures to help you avoid similar issues in the future. Let’s dive in!

What Does It Mean When Your Garbage Disposal is Humming But Not Working?

A humming sound from a garbage disposal indicates that the motor is working, but the blades are not spinning. This humming sound can occur due to several reasons, including:

Jammed Disposal:

One of the most common reasons why your garbage disposal is humming but not working is because it’s jammed. A foreign object or food particles can get stuck in the disposal, preventing the blades from spinning. When this happens, the motor will continue to run, causing the humming sound.

Faulty Flywheel:

The flywheel is part of the garbage disposal that connects the motor to the blades. If the flywheel is faulty, it can prevent the blades from spinning despite the motor running.

How to Fix Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Working

Overheated Motor:

Garbage disposals are designed to shut off automatically when they overheat. However, if the motor overheats, it might continue to hum even though the blades aren’t spinning.

Electrical Issues:

Faulty wiring, a tripped circuit breaker, or a blown fuse can also cause a humming sound without the blades spinning.

Understanding the cause of the problem is the first step in fixing it. In the next section, we’ll explore troubleshooting steps to help you identify and solve the problem.

Troubleshooting Steps

Before attempting any troubleshooting steps, ensure that the garbage disposal is turned off and unplugged to avoid any injuries. Here are some troubleshooting steps you can take to fix your garbage disposal:

Check for Blockages:

First, check the garbage disposal for any blockages. Using a flashlight, look inside the disposal to see if any foreign objects or food particles are preventing the blades from spinning. If you see any blockages, use tongs or pliers to remove them.

Reset the Garbage Disposal:

If there are no visible blockages, try resetting the garbage disposal. Locate the reset button at the bottom of the unit, and press it to reset the motor. Once done, turn on the water and turn on the disposal to see if it’s working.

Rotate the Blades:

If the garbage disposal is still humming but not working, try rotating the blades manually. Use a hex key or a garbage disposal wrench to rotate the blades. You can find the hex key or wrench under the sink, attached to the disposal unit.

Check the Flywheel:

If the blades still won’t move, check the flywheel for any obstructions or damages. If there’s any damage, you might need to replace the flywheel.

Call a Professional:

If none of the above steps work, it’s time to call a professional. A qualified plumber or electrician can diagnose and repair the problem for you.

Remember, safety always comes first when dealing with garbage disposal. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never put your hand inside the disposal unit.

When to Call a Professional

While it’s possible to troubleshoot and fix minor issues with your garbage disposal, some problems are best left to the professionals. Here are some indicators that it’s time to contact a specialist:

The Garbage Disposal Still Isn’t Working:

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and the garbage disposal still isn’t working, it’s time to call a professional. Continuing to run the motor when the blades aren’t spinning can cause damage to the motor, leading to more costly repairs.

Strange Noises or Smells:

If your garbage disposal is making unusual noises or emitting strange odors, it’s a sign that something is wrong. A professional can diagnose and fix the problem to avoid any potential health hazards.

Electrical Issues:

If you suspect that the problem is electrical, such as faulty wiring, tripped circuit breaker, or a blown fuse, it’s best to call a licensed electrician to avoid any risk of electric shock.


If you’re not comfortable or experienced with repairing appliances or plumbing issues, it’s best to call a professional. Self-help solutions can result in more harm or damage than good.

Calling a professional can save you time, and money, and prevent potential injuries. It’s essential to choose a reputable and experienced professional for the job. In the next section, we’ll provide tips on finding a qualified repair service.

Preventative Measures

Taking preventative measures can help you avoid issues with your garbage disposal in the future. Here are some preventative measures you can take:

Use Cold Water:

Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. The cold water helps solidify any grease or oil, making it easier for the disposal to grind it up.

Avoid Hard Items:

Avoid grinding hard items such as bones, fruit pits, and eggshells in your garbage disposal. These items can damage the blades and cause blockages.

Regular Cleaning:

Regularly cleaning your garbage disposal can prevent any build-up of food particles that can cause blockages or unpleasant odors. Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the disposal followed by boiling water to clean it.

Don’t Overload:

Avoid overloading the disposal with too much food waste at once. Feed the disposal of small amounts of food waste at a time to prevent blockages.

Professional Maintenance:

It’s a good idea to schedule professional maintenance for your garbage disposal once a year. A professional can inspect and clean your garbage disposal to ensure it’s working correctly.

Taking preventative measures can help extend the life of your garbage disposal, save you money on repairs, and prevent potential injuries. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never put your hand inside the disposal unit.

Also Read: How to Fix Moen Garbage Disposal Reset Button Not Working


A humming garbage disposal that’s not working can be frustrating, but with the right troubleshooting steps, you can fix the problem. Remember to always prioritize safety, and if in doubt, call a professional.

Taking preventative measures can help you avoid future issues with your garbage disposal, and ensure it’s working efficiently for years to come.

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