Your garbage disposal is an important kitchen appliance. It allows you to deal with food waste quickly and efficiently, minimizing the risk of ants or other pests attracted to food. So when your garbage disposal starts making strange noises, you need to pay attention. Here, we’ll explore what it means if your garbage disposal starts humming, and what you can do about it.
The humming sound that your garbage disposal makes indicates that there is power coming into the unit but the blades are not turning. Sometimes the sound is more like a buzzing rather than a humming. Sometimes you may find that the garbage disposal will stop on its own even if you did not turn the unit off. There are a number of reasons it might be making these noises or behaving in this way.
Poorly Ground Food
Garbage disposals work by grinding up the food waste and washing it down; sometimes, though, it is not ground up as thoroughly as necessary. It is not uncommon that large bits of food or bone become stuck between the impeller blade and the drain hole causing the unit to jam. When you hear the humming or buzzing, don’t immediately assume that somebody put something down the disposal that shouldn’t be there. It could be poorly ground food.
Maybe somebody did put something down the disposal other than food. It’s easy to drop a spoon or other utensil, and if it isn’t immediately retrieved, it can cause a blockage. Maybe a child threw something down the disposal and didn’t mention it. In any event, the foreign object could certainly cause the impeller blades to jam, producing a humming or buzzing sound.
Tripped Power Breaker
Garbage disposals are usually on a separate circuit breaker known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). GFCI circuit breakers and outlets protect people from electrical shock. If they detect an energy leak of even a thousandth of a milliamp, they will shut down the circuit. If your garbage disposal is humming or buzzing, it could be due to a tripped breaker. This lack of electrical current to turn the motor may cause a humming sound to be produced.
What to Do?
Reset the Unit
If the problem is a tripped breaker, simply press the reset button and see if normal disposal operation is restored. The reset button can be found at the bottom of the unit. Since this is an easy fix, it’s a good idea to start with that. If the humming or buzzing persists, you’ll need to investigate further
Identify and Remove Blockage
Whether it is a large bone or a fork, an object stuck in the impeller blades needs to be removed. Since this involves some danger, it may be something you want the experts at Dave’s Appliance to do. If you want to attempt it yourself, you need to follow these steps:
Cut the power to the garbage disposer by unplugging the unit and cutting the electrical circuit. This prevents the motor from burning out and more importantly ensures that you do not get electrocuted;
Under the sink you will find the breaker socket at the bottom section of the garbage disposal. You need to insert the hex head Allen wrench in that breaker socket;
Start moving the wrench back and forth to get the flywheel to turn and set free the jammed particle in the impeller blades;
Return power to the garbage disposal unit and check if normal function has been restored.
When your garbage disposal starts acting up, you want to deal with it right away. Hopefully, a simple reset eliminates the humming or buzzing. If a blockage is the problem, you might want to contact us at Dave’s Appliance. And if you identify and remove a blockage yourself, but the humming or buzzing persists, you should definitely give us a call.
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