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Frisco Plumbing Q/A: Why is my Garbage Disposal “Humming”?

Posted on: May 30, 2012

Ah, the garbage disposal: one of the greatest conveniences and frustrations of modern kitchen plumbing in Frisco. When it is working well, it seems like few things could be better than this magic machine that whisks away our gross garbage. But when it is on the fritz, there is nothing more annoying.

One common occurrence is the “humming” garbage disposal. You flip the switch to turn the disposal on, but instead of spinning up and sucking those coffee grounds away, it just makes a humming noise and doesn’t do anything. Definitely frustrating. The good news is that since it is making that humming noise, you may be in OK shape. Read on for an explanation.

There are two basic causes of the humming phenomenon. Let’s discuss the simpler one first.

Stuck Flywheel

Most of the time, the problem is as simple as a stuck flywheel. Usually this problem is identified by the brevity of the humming sound, as the garbage disposal will either reset itself or the circuit breaker will trip and the whole thing will shut down.

To fix a stuck flywheel, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the power to the garbage disposal by shutting of the circuit breaker or pulling the fuse.
  2. Using an offset wrench (it came with the disposal unit, but you can buy a replacement at the hardware store), turn the flywheel clockwise to dislodge it.
  3. For a no-wrench fix, stick a wooden broom handle down the drain and into the disposal, then use that to manually turn the blades.

If the problem is just a stuck flywheel, that should take care of it. However, there is another, more sinister explanation for the humming sound.

Seized Motor Bearing

If your efforts to free the flywheel did not get the disposal working again, then you may have a seized motor bearing on your hands. A disposal with a seized motor bearing needs to be replaced. It’s as simple as that.

However, before you go ahead and assume the worst, it would not hurt to have a professional look at it. It is possible that the flywheel is just quite stuck and needs the touch of a pro. If not, call Dial One Plumbing, and we can go ahead and install a new unit for you.

 

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