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Jun 15

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Jammed Garbage Disposal

Steps to take if disposal hums:

Turn garbage disposal switch on and off quickly to see if unit has power. If it makes a humming sound, power is on but the flywheel has become jammed. Garbage Disposal

1. Make sure switch to disposal is OFF or unplug from outlet below the sink. Try putting your hand down into the unit to feel for an object that may be wedged on the outer wall.

2. If you cannot feel any objects in there, grab a 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch hex (Allen) wrench. Insert Allen wrench into the bottom/center of the unit making sure it fits tight (don’t strip it out). Doing this will allow you to manual clear the jam. Turn wrench back and forth applying some force until the wrench will make a complete 360 degree rotation.Top View Garbage Disposal

3. Clear jam from above. Reach in and pull out what is in there you may need to grab some needle nose pliers or needle nose vise grips.

4. If you can’t manually free the flywheel you could try a broomstick and jab at an angle or two 24 inch dowels 1 inch diameter, putting each one on a cutter head and working flywheel back and forth till it comes loose.

5. Clear jam from above. Reach in and pull out what is in there you may need to grab some needle nose pliers or needle nose vise grips.

6. Turn switch on to see if it works leave running till all food is chopped up and motor spins without any sounds.

Steps to take if disposal makes no noise:

1. If you turn the switch on and the garbage disposal makes no noise, this is caused by the motor Double Sticks Garbage Disposalstarting to overheat and trips the overload switch.

2. To reset switch located on the bottom, or side of the disposal look for a little red button push it, in it should stay in. If your disposal has no reset switch then look for a tripped breaker in the main panel usually located in the garage or utility closet, may also be on the exterior of the home.

3. Turn the switch on to see if the garbage disposal works properly since it may have blown right before the jam was cleared.

4. If you reset the overload switch and turned on switch on from above and it hums then follow stReset Buttoneps 1-7 above.

5. If reset switch is still in and switch is turned on then your garbage disposal is most likely needs to be replaced.

6. (Tip) running cold water causes grease to clump keeping your pipes from clogging. Running hot water melts grease but when water stops flowing grease gets cold and hard resulting in a clogged pipe and an expensive service call.

**If at any time you are not comfortable performing this task(s) always choose a qualified source.**


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11 comments

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  1. nate

    my garbage disposal hums with no motion when i turn the switch on. The reset button doesnt do anything and i have used a hex key to turn the fly wheel manually, which spins freely. still its not working and making the humming noise when on. any ideas? ps this is an old unit that is hard wired into the wall, maybe its time for a new one?

  2. Jasper

    Yes i would agree you should just replace it, the moter has ceased most likely due to rust.

    Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Lauren

    My reset switch is on the side and I can’t find the manually area to stick the Allen wrench into. What should I do?

  5. Jasper

    Thanks for the question. The spot for the allen key is located on the bottom of the dispoasl, you will want to turn clockwise then counter clockwise to undo the jam. In some instances you might need to pull the disposal if it continues to jam or is still jams. Keep in mind that the thinnest object can be lodged between the impeller and shredder. Needle nose pliers are handy, needle nose vise grips work well too. Let us know if we can help further.

  6. Paul

    Thanks for this. My disposal was jammed and I always call a guy because I never feel like I know what I’m doing.

    Armed with the information above I managed to get the flywheel going again, and chucked a load of ice through it as well to help wash out whatever was jammed in it. It now sounds happy – I saved myself time and money, and got to score some man points as well.

    Thanks again! 🙂

  7. jessica

    My reset button was tripped. I reset it then plugged it back in with the wall switch in the off position. It hummed and then tripped the reset button again without even turning on the switch. I also saw some arcing at the plug when I plugged it back in. I tried to move the flywheel with an allen wrench, but it would not budge at all. Do you think this is an electrical problem with the wall plug or with the disposal itself or do you think it’s a jam? What should I try next?

  8. Jasper

    You did all correct steps. There is an object jammed in the flywheel part of the grinder. Unless its a really old unit which could be froze up. Look down in the hole from the sink. Ive removed small paper clip, and steel bearings.

  9. Sylvia

    I inserted a wrench into the flywheel turning hole; initially the wrench worked but when I tried turning the disposal back on–it still only hummed. I reinserted the wrench but this time it would not turn at all in either direction. Is the disposal completely broken? I have also hit the reset button.

  10. Jasper

    Well, its time for a new one. The way you have mentioned it, sounds like the motor is ceased up.

    I would install a 3/4 horse model, wotrth the extra money.
    Insinkerator are a quality unit.

    Thank you for visiting our site.
    We are currently working on some videos to help consumers.

  11. Sylvia

    Thank you for your response.

  1. Garbage Disposal Repair | 911handyman.com

    […] A garbage disposal is a simple machine consisting of a motor, flywheel, and cutter heads. The most common concern is the disposal makes a humming sound when the switch is on meaning an object has been logged between the flywheel and outer part of disposal. Another concern is the reset switch has popped. Learn more> […]

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