Garbage Disposal Hums – How To Fix?

Garbage Disposal Hums - How to Fix?

Garbage Disposal Hums

Checkout my video this is a summarized version of our in-depth article below. 

Nowadays, a garbage disposal is undeniably a necessity for each household due to its capacity in grinding food waste while reducing the need for the green bin. But just like any other appliances we use in our homes, some issues can happen and one of the signs that something is wrong with your garbage disposal is when you hear garbage disposal hums.

What is That Humming Sound?

Garbage Disposal Hums

The humming or buzzing sound coming from garbage disposal can mean many things. But the most common causes can be due to overloading of food waste which can result in the jamming of the flywheel and causing the motor to hum and the second possible cause is with the motor itself. Let’s talk about the jamming issue. 

Garbage Disposal Allen Wrench Won't Turn​

What could cause the jamming is this – when lots of food materials are thrown into the sink at the same time, this will likely jam the mechanisms that run the flywheel due to heavy load. So instead of the flywheel rotating while the motor is running, the load will be pinning down the flywheel thus preventing the plate from spinning and eventually cause garbage disposal hums.  

Garbage Disposal Hums

Another sign of the jamming of the unit is if the rotation of the plate is staggered. It will spin but then stops and will run again like something is trying to stop the flywheel to continue spinning.   

Garbage Disposal Hums

The humming sound is one of the most common issues that garbage disposal develops regardless if it’s a new or old unit. But how about if there are garbage disposal hums but there is no jamming involved? In this case, the problem could be happening with the motor.  

Garbage Disposal Hums But Is Not Jammed

Garbage Disposal Hums

If garbage disposal hums but is not jammed, the nearest possible cause can be a problem with the motor that is lapsing or failing.  This could be because the motor is not getting enough power to work smoothly and its ground fault circuit (GFC) is faltering. When the power or current is not properly used by the motor, power fluctuation can happen to cause the motor to hum while the flywheel won’t spin due to lack of power. To solve this, you have to know how to fix garbage disposal humming and the best thing to do is by resetting the motor to its default system. You can do this by pressing the reset button which you can find at the bottom of the unit.  

Garbage Disposal Hums

The red/reset button acts like a breaker or a power stabilizer of the motor. So if the motor is not getting enough power or getting too much power, the reset button will trip out so you need to reset the unit’s operational system again by pressing this button.  

How to Reset Garbage Disposal to Default Operation:

1. Make sure that you have turned off the unit. 

Garbage Disposal Hums

2. Look for the red button located at the base of your unit. 

Garbage Disposal Hums

3. Press and release it. The button should stay in. if it did not stay in, wait for a few minutes and press again until the button sits and stay in.   

Garbage Disposal Hums

4. When the button stays in, open the faucet and allow cold water to flow then turn the garbage disposal on. Allow the motor to run for a couple of minutes then turn it off. After 5 minutes, turn on the unit again. The garbage disposal should run smoothly now without the humming sounds.

Garbage Disposal Hums

However, if the reset button doesn’t want to get in while you have pressed it many times, then this can be the time to call for professional help to fix the problem and most probably there is a problem with the wiring or the winding of the motor itself which causes the reset button to malfunction. Especially if the garbage disposal smells like burning, the problem could be due to overheating caused by electrical wiring or the winding of the motor.  

How to Fix Garbage Disposal Humming

Garbage disposals can go for years and if you know how to properly maintain them, the need for repair can be greatly reduced. But at some point, there could be the occurrence of the garbage disposal hums but don’t worry we have some troubleshooting tips for you that you can apply before contemplating calling for a professional service. So here are what you should do on how to fix garbage disposal humming:  

  1. Unplug the garbage disposal unit from the outlet to avoid accidental operation and  avoiding the burning of the motor.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  2. Look for the breaker socket underneath your garbage disposal and then insert the hex key or Allen key wrench into the flywheel wrench hole.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  3. Turn the hex key clockwise and counterclockwise and you should feel the flywheel moving. You do this to release if some food scraps that got jammed inside the shredder housing and on the flywheel.   
    Garbage Disposal Hums
  4. If your garbage disposal unit has no wrench hole underneath, you can use the handle of a broomstick and from the sink insert this into the drum to reach for the impellers. Push the impellers back and forth to release some possible food debris that got stuck on the shredder housing.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  5. Push the reset button and see if it goes in. If the button remained pushed, plug the garbage disposal into the power outlet and see if the job does fix the problem.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  6. If your garbage disposal still hums, there could be other reasons behind it and it would be best to call a professional on how to fix a garbage disposal humming.
    Garbage Disposal Hums

Garbage Disposal Smells Like Burning

If your garbage disposal hums because it is jammed with food particles in the shredder housing, this can result in the overheating of the motor. In other words, garbage disposal smells like burning means the motor’s wiring is already overheating. 

Garbage Disposal Hums

We have listed down some measures for you to check and help you out of this problem. 

  1. Unplug your unit from the power source.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  2. Peek from your sink drainage and see if any objects that are obstructing inside the grinder plate.  Using a broom handle and apply force to turn the plate by pushing the impellers around. If you find this hard to do, find the flywheel wrench hole at the bottom of the unit and do what was discussed above to de-clog any jammed debris.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  3. Once you have successfully done the previous steps, you can go ahead and re-plug the unit to the power outlet. Do not forget to run cold water from the tap after turning on the device and if this method would be a success, the garbage disposal that smells like burning would dissipate.

    Garbage Disposal Hums

  4. Take note that if you have cleared up the grinding chamber and removed any food particles left but still your garbage disposal smells like burning, then the problem might be coming from your motor or the motor capacitor. These parts cannot be replaced so in this case, you may need to replace your unit once and for all. Nevertheless, still, consult a technician before deciding to buy a new one. 
    Garbage Disposal Hums

If you are still curious why your garbage disposal hums or smells like burning, well, it could be that you are overusing your unit which can cause the motor to overheat and can produce that burning-like smell. Try to rest your unit after about 5 minutes of use. 

Common Garbage Disposal Problems and How to Solve Them

In reality, garbage disposals can have many problems and not only overheating or jamming. So if we own one, we should know a lot of the troubleshooting skills once symptoms occur. Here is a summary of what you should do when any of the following problems showed up including how to fix garbage disposal humming.


  • Jammed unit. If your garbage disposal hums and you know there’s something that’s jamming the flywheel and keeping it from rotating, use the hex wrench and follow the instructions as mentioned above.

    Reset button

  • The garbage disposal hums but is not jammed. If your unit doesn’t want to run even it’s not jammed, this can be caused by the unstable flow of power into the motor. What you need is to restart the unit by pressing the reset button found at the bottom of the unit.


  • Breaker has tripped. When there is a fluctuation of power or there has been the case of jamming, the motor of the unit can overload which can cause tripping of the unit’s circuit breaker. Check on the breaker panel and see if the breaker is in the “off” position. If it is, just flip it to the “on” position and restart your unit. 

Not enough power

  • Insufficient or lack of power supply. If you know that the motor is in a good state, there’s no jamming and the breaker is on, but there’s an insufficient supply of power to run the motor of the unit, the problem could be on the outlet where the unit is plugged. Try to plug the unit into other outlets. If it works fine, call for an electrician to fix your malfunctioning outlet. 

  Garbage Disposal Hums

  • Dead motor. Motor not running could be caused by the lack of power coming into the machine or there’s a problem with the motor itself. Test the machine to other outlets. If other appliances operate on these outlets while your garbage disposal doesn’t show any sign of life, the motor may have already burned out. In this case, you may want to call your unit’s seller or for service repair to advise you if you need to buy a new unit.  

Hums But Works Normally

When your garbage disposal hums but it rotates as normally as before, you may still need to check for any jamming issue. There are cases that somebody or the kids are throwing things in there that should not be dumped into the sink. Some of these are food waste that are sticky, greasy, or fibrous.   


If this happens start by doing all of our troubleshooting guides here. It could also be that your electric supply is not stable or the unit’s capacitor is becoming faulty. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario is if the motor is about to give up or overheating so garbage disposal smells burning is one thing you should be wary about. 

push reset

In most instances, simply resetting the unit can resolve the problem. But usually, when the garbage disposal hums but the motor is still good, the culprit can also be insufficient power supply so whenever the motor is trying to do its job but lacking in power supply, this will produce the humming sound. For this, there comes the need for pressing the reset button again and repeat as necessary. 

Unit Hums and Leaks

So how about a unit that hums and leaks? In this case, the leak problem could be caused by a worn-out gasket on the mouth of the unit, or loose bolts within the external part of the chamber, or avoid opening between the sink flange and the unit. For the garbage disposal hums, check the tips we have discussed above to troubleshoot. 

Garbage Disposal Hums Leaking

For the causes of the leaks, all you need to do is to change the gasket for a new one if the gasket got bad. For the loose bolts, tightening them up is the only way. But for the opening between the sink flange and the garbage disposal that needs sealing, the best solution is to seal these with putty. You can buy a plumbing putty for this.       


Most likely, your issues can be resolved if you can do all of our DIY troubleshooting tips here. If you want to learn more about how the garbage disposals work and what to do in case of issues, you can also watch YouTube videos and do some research especially if your garbage disposal hums and you’re getting worried it might break down.



When a garbage disposal hums, it is obviously telling you that it needs your attention. Humming sounds can be bothersome because we may think that our units might explode or burn. But with proper maintenance, and if we’re packed with some troubleshooting skills, we can avoid problems with our garbage disposal units.  Yet, if your garbage disposal hums and you smell burning while other bad symptoms occur, then you will need advice from a professional or may opt to buy a new one if your unit already shows many issues. 

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