Garbage Disposal Humming but Not Jammed – Easy Fix 2023

Garbage disposal humming but not jammed might be a small problem that you can fix easily. To check whether it is so, you can go through this guide and see which situation matches your problem the best. Then follow the procedures to get rid of the humming sound and recover the proper operation of your garbage disposal. Make sure to turn off the power before you start any troubleshooting. Use necessary protective equipment to ensure your safety and avoid injuries.

The Garbage Disposal Humming But The Flywheel Isn’t Stuck


The Garbage Disposal Humming But The Flywheel Isn't Stuck

If the garbage disposal gives a humming sound when turned on, but the flywheel is not stuck, it might be due to a motor-bearing problem. The humming sound indicates that the garbage disposal is getting power. The possible reason your garbage disposal stuck flywheel won’t turn is due to the tripping of the Ground Fault Circuit is tripped. There won’t be enough current for disposal if the GFC is tripped. Hence, it gives out a humming sound, which should be solved by resetting the unit. 

  • You can find a red-colored reset button at the base of the garbage disposal. 
  • To reset the unit, press this button, and if it doesn’t work, you may need to press and hold it since different disposals have different reset requirements. 
  • This resets the current switch and self-resolves so that enough power is transmitted to the circuit. 
  • Try giving it some time to cool down and see whether the problem is resolved. 

Garbage Disposal Humming And Smoking 

Garbage Disposal Humming And Smoking 

If your garbage disposal is smoking, it is surely caused by a burnt motor or motor capacitor. Food clogging might be the reason you are hearing the humming sound. The cause of the burnt motor is overworking of the motor due to an obstruction in the grinding chamber. This causes overheating and emits smoke as a result. Follow these steps to fix this problem.

  • Turn off the motor and disconnect the unit from the power supply. 
  • Check your sink for any visible debris causing the humming sound, as sometimes you may be able to find the cause easily.
  • Try to rotate the grinding plates in your garbage disposal using a long object. 
  • If the grinding plate is clear, turn on the disposal.
  • Let the water run on the sink, flushing itself and cooling the motor.
  • Check whether the problem is resolved, and if it hasn’t, the problem is more likely to be the motor capacitor being burnt out. If so, the garbage disposal would have to be replaced.

Garbage Disposal Humming And Leaking

Garbage Disposal Humming And Leaking

The garbage disposal humming but not working can cause leaking in various places. If you find out that the garbage disposal is leaking, here’s how you can fix the problem.

  • Turn off the power to the disposal and locate the disposal mount. 
  • Remove the mount and check the bolts below it. You may see water dripping if this is the location of the leak.
  • Tighten any loose bolts and fix the disposal mount back.
  • If the leak continues as you turn the disposal on again, the problem might be the sink flange being placed too low.
  • Lift the sink flange by removing the bolts and applying some plumber’s putty around it. This prevents leaks due to water seeping through possible gaps between the flange and disposal.
  • Then remove the excess putty after you tighten the flange. Place the unit in place and fix the bolts. 
  • With most leaks, this will resolve the problem.
  • If this doesn’t fix the problem, the leak might be due to something external or internal to the disposal. So, you may have to consult a repair technician specialized in the field to troubleshoot and fix the leak.

Garbage Disposal Humming And Sink Clogging

Garbage Disposal Humming And Sink Clogging

Another possible cause for the humming of your garbage disposal could be clogs in the sink. This often happens due to grease or sediment buildup in the plumbing. This results in garbage disposal humming but not jammed itself. As this is a problem in the pipework and not the garbage disposal, here’s how you can remove the clog.

  • Turn off the disposal and disconnect it from the power supply.
  • Fill the sink halfway with warm and soapy water.
  • Dislodge anything stuck inside the sink using a cup plunger. If it is clogged badly, you may need to do this for a few minutes.
  • You will see that the water drains fast as the clog is cleared. 
  • If not, you will have to pass a wire or the snake into the sink to remove the clog by pushing it through.
  • Rotate the snake against the clog to remove it easily. You may feel pressure reduction as it gets dislodged, and the water will drain out. 
  • Then you can turn on the garbage disposal again and check whether the problem is gone.

Since there is a possibility of large and greasy leftover food items being clogged in the sink, it is necessary to clean them occasionally. If this does not solve the problem, you may have to contact a plumber to clarify this. Since clogging occurs mostly due to plumbing, it is better to get it fixed by a professional.

Garbage Disposal Hums But It’s Spinning Normally

Garbage Disposal Hums But It's Spinning Normally

If you find your garbage disposal humming but not jammed and spinning as usual, then you need to determine the cause of the sound first. Sometimes, it may be an external foreign matter causing the sound.

  • Start troubleshooting by turning off the power supply.
  • Then get below the sink and use a hex (Allen) wrench to open up the disposal from the base.
  • Now you will be able to find any foreign objects present inside. Simply remove them and replace the base of the disposal.
  • Turn the power back on and see whether the humming is gone. If so, you have solved it successfully.
  • If the sound still exists, the other possibility is that the disposal circuit is not getting enough power from the GFC.
  • The humming sound might be due to a tripped GFC, which you need to check as it may not deliver the necessary power. You can reset the disposal unit as indicated at the beginning of this article and allow it to rest for a few minutes before you check whether the problem is fixed.
  • If it does not fix the problem, you may need to contact an experienced professional to get it fixed. 

Repair or Replace if the Garbage Disposal Motor is Damaged?

Repair or Replace if the Garbage Disposal Motor is Damaged?

After troubleshooting the different occasions, you may find that the disposal motor is the reason for your garbage disposal humming but not working. If the motor is defective, replacing the garbage disposal may be more cost-effective than repairing the motor. If you are not planning to go for higher-end disposal, installing a simple and less expensive model would be cheaper than repairing it. However, if you still need to repair or replace the disposal motor, it is recommended to get it done by an experienced professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about garbage disposal humming but not jammed

How to reset garbage disposal humming?

The reset button is located at the bottom of the garbage disposal, and you can try resetting it as indicated here.

  1. Turn off the power supply to the disposal.
  2. Reach the base of the garbage disposal under the sink.
  3. Locate the red reset button at the base or the side of the garbage disposal.
  4. You may either push it or hold it down to reset the disposal, depending on the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Can a garbage disposal be seized up?

If the disposal motor reaches the risk of overheating, the garbage disposals would trip the breaker as a safety precaution. Similarly, if a blade gets blocked, the unit will shut down and needs to be reset. If the blades don’t turn with gentle pressure, you would have to open the cabinet under the sink troubleshoot it using an Allen wrench or hex key. 

What does broken garbage disposal sound like?

A jammed grinding chamber causes your garbage disposal to make a loud humming, grinding, or rattling noise. Food particles or other debris trapped in the chamber may cause this unusual noise. These noises may also indicate a defective grinding plate, grinding ring, or motor assembly.

Can garbage disposal catch fire?

A garbage disposal can catch fire if it is stuck and the reset button fails to operate. This causes the disposal motor to overheat and leads to a fire hazard. But this is a rare occurrence as you will notice only some smoke rising from the disposal.


By referring to the procedures indicated here, you should be able to figure out the reason for your garbage disposal humming but not jammed. If any of these could not solve the problem, it is recommended to get it fixed by a technician. However, if your garbage disposal is too old than the normal lifespan of 10 years, then you might need to consider replacing it.

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