How to fix a jammed garbage disposal

Published On: December 7, 2015Categories: PlumbingTags:


It’s the dreaded sound most homeowners have heard at least one time in their life. You have a sink full of food scraps that you’re trying to put down the garbage disposal. You flip the garbage disposal on and… It just hums or makes a buzzing noise. The blades don’t spin.

Does this mean your garbage disposal is completely on the fritz?

Not usually.

The easiest way to fix a jammed garbage disposal

If your garbage disposal is humming or buzzing, but not spinning, the good news is that it’s still getting power. It’s just unable to spin. Find an Allen wrench tool of the right size (usually 1/4″) and stick it in the breaker socket on the bottom of the disposal. Turn it back and forth multiple times. This will get the flywheel turning freely again.

Other possible problems

There may be a foreign object stuck in the disposal that is jamming the blades and preventing them from spinning. Unplug your disposal and look into the sink drain hole. Carefully reach into the disposal and remove any foreign objects.

If you turn on your disposal and it doesn’t make any noise at all – no humming or buzzing – there could be three different reasons:

  • You need a new disposal. In that case, you have no other choice than to replace it.
  • Or, your electrical outlet has tripped. Make sure you check that before calling a plumber out to replace a perfectly good disposal.
  • Also check to see if the disposal has overheated. Press the red boon on the bottom of the disposal to reset it – that should fix the issue.

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