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Why is My Garbage Disposal Humming?

Mar 10, 2020

Kitchen with white marble and countertops in a suburban home with a kitchen sink centered.

Nobody wants that humming noise coming from the sink to mean they have a broken garbage disposal. Having a garbage disposal that isn’t working or is making concerning noises can be a huge headache. Not only does it disrupt your daily cleaning routine, but food can clog up the drain and create some big issues down the road. Addressing the issue as soon as possible is important to increasing the longevity of your disposal.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Humming

There are a few possible explanations behind why your garbage disposal is making strange noises. The best way to figure out the reason behind the noise is to identify what kind of noise your disposal is making specifically.

Common Garbage Disposal Noises

The most common garbage disposal noises are typically grinding, rattling, or clanking noises, or some sort of humming or buzzing noises. Both categories of noises mean different things.

Grinding, Rattling, or Clanking

This issue tends to arise when something goes through your garbage disposal that your disposal is not made to handle. This prevents blades that normally pulverize food waste from spinning freely and breaking down the object. They might grind against the mechanics of your disposal or the object in the disposal itself, causing a loud, grinding noise.

If you hear grinding, rattling, or clanking while running your disposal, immediately shut it off because that sound means your disposal is running against something it shouldn’t be. If you continue to run your disposal through these sounds, you’ll severely damage it, so stop your disposal and check to see what object might be stuck in the drain.

Humming and Buzzing

If your garbage disposal makes a buzzing or humming noise, then the blades are probably trying to spin around an object that’s stuck.The humming occurs when the disposal is unable to move at all. Occasionally a buzzing or humming sound happens soon after a loud rattling or grinding noise, which often means that the object clanking around is now lodged between the blades, preventing any movement.

The humming noise indicates that your garbage disposal is still getting power, but since the blades can’t move, nothing else can happen. You don’t want to burn out your motor by forcing it to try to move trapped disposal blades, so be sure to turn your garbage disposal off as soon as you hear the humming in order to prevent serious damage.

Signs of a Broken Garbage Disposal

1. Humming or Rattling Noises

If every time you turn your garbage disposal on you hear loud clanking noises or a humming noise, then your garbage disposal could be damaged. The clanking noises could be a utensil trapped in the blades, or it could be a broken blade wedged in the wrong place. As for the humming noise, that could indicate a piece of food keeping the blades from turning, but it could also indicate that age, rust, or some other broken mechanism is preventing the blades from turning.

If you hear these noises but can’t determine that anything is stuck in the disposal, you should call a certified technician to locate and solve the issue before more damage occurs and you end up with a severely broken garbage disposal.

2. Slow Drainage

If your sink is draining slowly despite running the garbage disposal, then your disposal is likely having trouble clearing away food and debris in the drain. Certain foods can build up inside the garbage disposal and aren’t easy for the blades to remove. Additionally, age, improper usage and lack of maintenance can result in a poorly functioning garbage disposal. Check with a professional if your disposal is having difficulties clearing away debris and allowing your sink to drain properly.

3. Leakage

Undersink water puddles or dripping could be a sign that your garbage disposal needs a new seal or your pipes need to be tightened. It could also be a sign of a more serious issue. Garbage disposal leaks are often mistaken as dishwasher leaks or as some other kind of plumbing issue so be sure to take any leakage seriously and consider calling a plumber to be sure you correct the appropriate problem.

4. Sink Odor

Obviously sinks are a drainage system and the garbage disposal is a way to get rid of food waste so having an occasional unpleasant odor is normal. However, if a foul smell persists despite regular cleaning, then it’s possible your garbage disposal isn’t operating as it should and might need a repair.

Causes of Garbage Disposal Damage

Putting something down your garbage disposal that it’s not equipped to handle is the most common cause of garbage disposal damage. Try to keep all metal objects (such as utensils and silverware), meat bones, fruit pits, and other hard objects out of your disposal. You should also avoid putting anything down your drain that will build up and stick to your blades, such as pasta noodles, grease, and coffee grounds.

While there are a few quick and easy DIY garbage disposal fixes you can test out, there’s a lot of risk involved — your garbage disposal can cause serious injuries if you’re not careful. Always be sure your disposal is turned off before attempting any sort of fix, and call in a professional for any serious damage.

Call CroppMetcalfe To Solve Your Plumbing Problems

If you find yourself continually asking, “why is my garbage disposal humming?” then you might have a serious issue. If your disposal is in constant need of repairs, or stops working altogether, call CroppMetcalfe to schedule a garbage disposal replacement. Our team will help you find the type of garbage disposal best suited for your kitchen plumbing and make sure it’s installed properly. Call 703-372-9359 or schedule a service appointment online today.


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