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Garbage Disposal Not Working? How to Fix It


Your Garbage Disposal Not Working? don’t worry, it can happen to any garbage disposal, no matter how old or new. Luckily, this is a common problem that can be fixed fairly easily.

The humming sound your disposal makes when it’s not working indicates that something is jamming its impeller plate or flywheel. It can also indicate an electrical issue.

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1. Electric Issues

An electrical problem could be causing your disposal to not turn on when you plug it in.

This could be due to an outlet, a clogged drain, or an electrical circuit that isn’t working correctly.

Check the reset button at your disposal first. It is an integrated safety feature that will turn off your unit in the event of a jam or excessive heat.

Pressing the button back in should restore power. If it doesn’t, you might need to flip the circuit breaker or fuse on your home’s wall switch.

If the motor keeps humming when it turns on, then the flywheel may be jammed. The motor can burn out, causing the unit to be permanently destroyed.

If this is the case, you can try to dislodge the blockage with a 1/4-inch hex wrench or Allen wrench fitted into a small depression on the bottom of the disposal. This will free up the impellers and rotate the flywheel to allow waste to pass through.

2. Clogs

If a garbage disposal does not grind food waste properly, water can back up in the sink. The disposal may also stop draining altogether.

Several factors can cause clogs, including thick and gritty items, foreign objects, and improper disposal maintenance and use.

You should not throw away corn cobs and avocado pits as well as chicken bones and fish bones.

Eggshells and coffee grounds can also clog up the drain when they are ground up in the disposal.

These materials create very tiny granular pieces of waste that stick to any sludge in the pipe and quickly form a clog.

Potato peels, banana peels, and other starchy vegetable wastes also clog the drain. These foods form a thick paste that is similar to grease, fat, and oil when it hardens.

3. Jammed Flywheel

Your garbage disposal may be humming, but not working. This could indicate a jammed flywheel.

The flywheel is part of the grinding chamber and spins to rotate the impeller blades that break down food waste.

If the flywheel gets jammed, it can be difficult to get it spinning freely again. This usually happens when something is lodged between the flywheel and the shredder ring.

To get the flywheel spinning again, you can manually turn it with an Allen wrench through a hole in the base of the unit. This should resolve most jams.

You could also use pliers to remove the obstruction. You can usually remove the flywheel by turning the power off at the electrical panel in your home and pressing the reset button.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll need to replace the flywheel. A qualified technician can do this. Otherwise, you can fix the flywheel yourself.

4. Motor Burnout

If your disposal is humming loudly but not grinding food waste, it could be due to a motor burnout.

This usually occurs if the start switch contacts are dirt-covered or the start winding is not receiving enough voltage.

Remove the garbage disposal’s lower cover and use a wrench or pliers to fix the problem. Sometimes this can dislodge a jammed flywheel that is causing the motor to burn out.

However, if this does not work, it may be time for a replacement. There are newer disposals that are much quieter than the old ones.

It is worth noting that a humming sound is also often caused by the GFI or GFCI electrical outlet or the garbage disposal itself tripping.

Normal operation can be restored by pressing the reset button again until it is depressed.

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