Troubleshooting Tips For A Garbage Disposal

Chances are that you use your kitchen's garbage disposal every single day, so a broken garbage disposal will be a huge inconvenience when it's not working. Before contacting a plumber to fix it for you, try troubleshooting it by yourself with these tips. You may even be able to solve the problem yourself. 

Humming Sound

Do you turn on the garbage disposal only to hear a constant humming sound instead of the sound of food grinding up? This means there is something stuck in the garbage disposal that is preventing the unit's flywheel from being able to move. 

Start by disconnecting the power going to the garbage disposal for safety. From under your kitchen sink, there should be a nut underneath the garbage disposal that can be turned using a wrench. Try turning it a couple times, which will move the flywheel inside the unit. This may be what you need to do to dislodge the item stuck in there. 

No Power

When you turn on the garbage disposal and do not hear anything, including that humming sound, it means there is a power issue with the unit. Start by checking the circuit breaker where the garbage disposal is plugged in. Many kitchens have individual circuits for each appliance, so having electricity elsewhere in your kitchen does not mean all the circuits are on.  

Next, try pressing the reset button on the unit if it has one. If that doesn't work, the entire garbage disposal could be dead and may need to be replaced with a new one.

Slow Moving Drain

Even though garbage disposals are meant to keep your drains clear, too much food going into the plumbing can cause the unit to drain slowly. You can remove the trap coming from the garbage disposal's drain to remove any debris that is stuck inside it. Make sure to catch water from the pipe with a bucket, since it will spill once removed. You can also snake the drain to clear anything that could be deeper in the pipe.


Leaks are typically caused by a problem with the flange inside a garbage disposal, with water leaking out from around the flange instead of going directly into the pipe to the sewer. Thankfully, this is an easy part that you can replace be yourself to see if it solves the problem.

When you can't fix the problem with these troubleshooting tips, it will be time to call a plumber. Contact a local company in your area for any plumbing repair needs.