Garbage Disposal Humming (How To Fix It)

One of the most common garbage disposal problems is humming. This happens when you switch on the garbage disposal, and it begins to hum, and sometimes it doesn’t run.

Thankfully you can quickly fix the problem, and you don’t need a plumber for it.

Garbage Disposal Humming

Nevertheless, having a humming sound could mean there are more severe problems in the unit. So, you should take your time to confirm that it’s a non-issue.

What Causes the Humming?

Several reasons can lead to the humming sound. You should find out the exact reason why it’s humming before you start to fix it.

Sometimes theres something stuck

Most garbage disposals get something stuck in from time to time. You will mainly have the food sticking at the bottom of the disposer. With time, this becomes a single clog. It may even stop the operations.

You will, therefore, need to use the nose pliers to clear the jam or clog. That’s why you should use the flashlight first to check what is causing the jam. If it’s something you can remove, then use the nose pliers to remove it.


Even the normal operations may cause the disposer to hum. This is especially true if you forced items down the drain. So, a garbage disposal may have overheated. This is easy to fix though. You can let it rest for a few minutes then start it again.

If it doesn’t start, then use the red button below the garbage disposal. Press it in a few times and check if the disposer starts. But remember prevention is better thus don’t overwork the disposer. Only put enough food waste.

Electrical problems

Sometimes a simple electrical problem will cause the hum. When the circuit breaker is overworked, it often trips. This occurs when you are running too many appliances at a go. This one is easy to fix, find the circuit breaker, and reset the switch to the on mode.

Go on to reset the disposer and start operating it again. However, you should avoid running the disposer together with many other items.

It could be old

Sadly, sometimes even a simple hum could mean that the disposal is old and dying. Old age will raise all kinds of different problems, which include jams, clogs, and humming. If it has served you for more than ten years you should consider buying a new one.

Is it jammed or clogged?

The first thing to find out is whether it’s jammed. Humming is usually the first indication of the jams. The jam occurs when the shredders or impellers meet a block that they can’t cut through. It can be a broken glass or a metal spoon.

Even the jams and the clogs can cause the humming sound, but clearing the two problems is easy when you have the right tools.

So, you should use the flashlight to check the jam. If you can see what’s causing the block, remove it. You can use the nose pliers to remove the jam and Allen wrench will dislodge the stuck object.

Here’s How to Fix the Humming

  • Switch it off for safety reasons

Flip the switch off and also unplug the garbage disposal. This gives you a safe operation. One thing I see people do is put their hands in the disposer. It’s quite dangerous that I’m often reluctant to even put my hands in while I have unplugged it.

  • Check it to see the clog

Now use a flashlight to find the obstruction causing the jam. Mind you; sometimes you may have the jam being so hidden in parts of the disposer that you can’t see.

  • Use the nose pliers to remove the clog or foreign object

Use the nose pliers

If you do notice anything foreign, use the nose pliers to clear it. So, once you have removed it, restart the disposal unit and check if it’s working.

However, if there was no blockage or you have removed the blockage, and still the disposer won’t work, go on the next step.

  • Use the Allen wrench to unjam the disposer

Use an Allen Wrench to Unjam the Disposer

Use the wooden spoon to move the blades. Keep rotating the blades or impellers a few more times, then restart it. If it’s not yet working use the Allen wrench now.

Most of the disposal units come with their Allen wrench, the essence of the wrench is to help you turn the flywheel back and forth. This makes it easy for you to turn the wheels without having to use your hands.

Insert the Allen wrench in the port at the bottom of the disposer. Next, turn it back and forth but be gentle.

Note that you are using it to turn the plate and wheels. During the turning, you may notice some debris or foreign material that cause the obstruction. It will come on the surface, and therefore you can use the nose plier to remove it.

  • Restart the disposer

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

Go on to try the disposer again. Plug it back on and flip the switch then check if the disposer is finally running. If you still notice the humming sound, repeat the process. After a couple of turns it should stop humming and resume operation.

  • Clean it and resume operation

Now clean it using the dish soap and cold water. Let the water run to clear any tiny waste that may hang on. You can also use the baking soda and vinegar for a more thorough cleaning.

A Simpler Method to Fix the Humming-Resetting the Button

Sometimes it hums not because there’s a big problem but because it just tripped or overheat. So, you can use the reset button and maybe this is all you will need to fix the issues.

So, you reset it by finding the reset button. Often it is below the garbage disposal, and it’s the small red button.

Push it in the for it to start all over again. You may find that it’s popping out. It does pop out to secure the motor by shutting the motor automatically in case there’s overheating. Also, reset the breaker switch as you confirm that it’s in a good state.

Once you reset it, check if it’s working and if it’s not, then it could be something a little deeper.

Call the plumber

When you have tried everything, you could ever think of, and you still can’t get it to stop hummin and start running, you will need to call a plumber.

There will be instances that you may not know much about what causes the hum. The plumber will advise you on what do or better yet find the problem.

Insinkerator troubleshooting humming

Insinkerator like all other garbage disposal brands, may begin to hum. Therefore, you should check the following solutions.

  • Could the plate be jammed?

If the plate is jammed, you will need to use the Allen wrench to clear the jam. As we had earlier stated, insert Allen inside the port below the garbage disposal. Move it forth and backward trying to go past any obstruction.

Next, use the nose pliers to clear any foreign object that you find inside the disposer. If the humming doesn’t stop, chances are that you have a faulty motor. Unfortunately, when you have a defective motor, you will need a new disposer.

  • Overheating

Sometimes the motor just overheated and you need to revive it by using the reset button. The Insinkerator disposer may have the motor overheating, and when this happens, you should let it rest for a few minutes before you use the red button to restart it again.

Also, check the circuit breaker for a trip that may result from overload. Turn it back on and then remember to use it for just a few appliances at a time.

Preventing Future Occurrences

The best way to keep the disposer lasting long is by preventing jams clogs and problems like humming. Here are the few methods to avoid the problem.

So now that you have fixed this problem, if you discovered the cause of its problems, maybe you should prevent any future issues like this.

The primary cause of the problems is often using the garbage disposal for all the wrong reasons. Don’t put anything that you shouldn’t in the disposer. We have the article on dos and don’ts, let it show you the details on what you can throw in the disposer and what you can’t do.

  • Keep it clean

Some people forget to clean the disposal, and this causes more clogs and jams. It’s only when you are cleaning it that you can tell if there’s a foreign object before it damages the disposer. Remember to use the right cleaning agents.

Stay away from bleaches and chemicals when cleaning the disposer. Make use of the home-made cleaners like ice, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Also, for the daily operations, you can clean it using dish soap and cold water.

Finally, make sure you don’t let foreign items in the disposer. Some people use the filters to keep the disposal free of objects like forks and knives. You can also make sure you clean the dishes in the other sink if you don’t have the strainer.

Finally, keep using water as needed. Run the water before during and after clearing the disposer.

Make use of the disposer but take care of it and use it for only the necessary needs. If you won’t take proper care of it then it’s better not to have it. Also, remember to seek the advice of a plumber when you have done everything to repair it.