Garbage Disposal Making Noise But Not Working – What To Do?

Getting the appliances in your kitchen to work correctly can feel impossible sometimes. Is your garbage disposal making noise but not working, and you have no idea what could be wrong? Well, we've done our research and have the answers here for you. Let's check this out.

Chances are, your garbage disposal's motor is either jammed or clogged if it's making noise and not working. To fix this:

  1. Turn off your garbage disposal and disconnect it from its power source.
  2. Grab an Allen wrench and stick it into your appliances breaker socket (at the bottom of your disposal).
  3. Turn the wrench back and forth to move your disposal's flywheel.
  4. Repeat this process until any jammed food particles fall through the drain.
  5. Plug your garbage disposal back into its power source, turn it on, and you're done!

As we begin, we will cover all things garbage disposals and discuss how to fix one that won't turn on. Whether you've never been in this situation before or you need to figure out what's wrong, we're here to help. With that said, let's get right into this post!

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink, waste chopper concept, Garbage Disposal Making Noise But Not Working - What To Do?

What Does It Mean When A Garbage Disposal Makes A Humming Noise?

If you hear a humming noise coming from your garbage disposal, it's probably clogged. As we said, food particles stuck in your system's motor or blades can cause this to happen, so make sure to take a look inside your disposal.

Having a jam or clog in your garbage disposal can eventually lead to its motor burning out and breaking completely, so we recommend getting this handled as soon as possible. That said, if you aren't able to find any food in your system's blades and aren't familiar with how a garbage disposal works, it's best to call a plumber.

Under the sink garbage disposal unit.

Can A Garbage Disposal Burn Out?

Yes, a garbage disposal can burn out. Like we mentioned earlier, running a clogged or jammed disposal can cause its motor to overwork and eventually break altogether.

You can also burn out a garbage disposal by running it for long periods, so try to keep each use minimal.

What Do You Do When Your Garbage Disposal Stops Working?

If your garbage disposal stops working, it's a good idea to try and reset it. To do this:

  1. Make sure your disposals switch is in the "OFF" position.
  2. Find the red reset button at the bottom of your appliance.
  3. Press and hold this button for a few seconds/until it stays retracted.
  4. Turn on a cold stream of water and test your garbage disposal.
  5. Repeat this process until your disposal turns on, and you're set!

One thing to note, if your garbage disposal doesn't turn on after trying to reset it multiple times, you may need to have a professional inspect it.

Can You Fix A Broken Garbage Disposal?

Depending on the severity of your garbage disposal's damage, it might not be possible to fix it. Usually, if even after a reset, your system still won't turn on, this means something is wrong with its electrical supply, or the motor in your disposal is dead.

Like we said above, it is normal for a garbage disposal's motor to burn out over time, so this isn't something you can always prevent.

Do Garbage Disposal Blades Wear Out?

Stainless steal kitchen sink with water drops

Like your garbage disposal's motor, its blades can also wear out over time. Typically, the blades inside a garbage disposal will dull the more you use it, causing them to be less effective as they age.

You might even notice your appliance taking longer to grind food the older it gets, which indicates it's time for either new blades or a total disposal replacement.

When Should You Replace A Garbage Disposals Blades?

It's usually a good idea to replace the blades inside your garbage disposal once they rust or stop working efficiently. Most times, a garbage disposal's blades will last the entirety of its lifespan, but again, every blade is different.

You should get around eight to ten years out of a garbage disposal and its blades, so anything shorter than that could mean your appliance is defective.

How Do You Know When A Garbage Disposal Goes Bad?

Generally, there are a few warning signs to watch for if your garbage disposal starts to go bad. These include:

  • Strange sounds are coming from your disposal.
  • Odors that won't go away.
  • A failing garbage disposal/one that won't turn on.
  • Water leaking from your appliance.
  • Needing to reset your disposal often.

That said, your garbage disposal may just need a deep clean or a tune-up, so it's best to call a professional and get their opinion.

What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of A Garbage Disposal?

You can usually get about ten years out of your garbage disposal before it starts to fail. Of course, some higher-quality systems claim to last 12-15, although this isn't super common.

Even if you take good care of a garbage disposal, it's bound to wear down over time, so expect to have yours for about a decade before needing a replacement.

Is It Better To Repair Or Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Man installing garbage disposal in home.

Depending on the issue, it might be worth it to replace your garbage disposal rather than repair it. Especially if there's something wrong with your system's motor, purchasing a new unit will cost about the same, so you're better off doing that.

Again, it's never a bad idea to have someone come out and discuss your options for repair, but 90% of the time, it's more cost-effective to replace your garbage disposal altogether.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

You can typically expect to pay between $150 and $950 to replace your garbage disposal. These estimates include labor, although it varies depending on the size of your system and the difficulty of the job.

With that said, it is possible to keep your replacement costs lower than $100, but this would mean you have to install your new system without professional help.

Are Garbage Disposals Hard To Maintain?

Generally, no, garbage disposals won't require too much maintenance. Considering that these appliances are built to handle almost anything, your garbage disposal shouldn't run into a ton of problems.

That said, running a disposal while it's clogged/jammed or not repairing it can have a snowball effect, so try to be mindful when using your system.

How Do You Maintain A Garbage Disposal?

When it comes to upkeep, you want to clean your garbage disposal regularly. You can use white vinegar and baking soda to do this, or even a pre-mixed cleaning pod/tablet that goes into the drain.

You also want to try and use cold water while you have your disposal on, which will help keep food from solidifying and sticking to your pipes. Another way to keep a garbage disposal in good shape is to occasionally clean it with a degreaser, which will help get rid of unwanted residue from old food.

Rejuvenate Garbage Disposal and Drain Pipe Cleaner

These disposal pods get rid of odors and residue, remove grease from your pipes, have a lemon scent, and come in a six-pack.

Follow this link to see them on Amazon.

When Shouldn't You Use A Garbage Disposal?

Flat lay view of mix of vegetables waste in home kitchen sink. Food background and texture

You want to avoid the garbage disposal if you're cooking with super greasy or hard foods. Typically, hard shells, kernels, meat trimmings, starches, and anything remotely oily/slippery should go into the trash rather than your disposal.

It's also not a great idea to turn on your disposal if it has a clog or is making weird noises, so wait until someone can come to fix it.

What's The Worst Thing To Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

Although the list is endless, fatty foods like butter, vegetable oil, and meat trimmings are a major no-no for the disposal. Not only will these foods clog a garbage disposal, but they can also leave build-up in your pipes, which can be a pain to remove.

It's better to use the trash can when working with slimier foods, so if you can, avoid your sink at all costs.

To Wrap It All Up

Whether your garbage disposal always has problems or has just started to show signs, getting it fixed is essential. From what we found, your disposal may be making noise and not starting due to a clog/jam, so take a good look into the drain.

It's also possible your garbage disposal's motor has overheated or burnt out, which requires a professional to come to inspect it. In general, the older a garbage disposal gets, the more issues it will have, so keep that in mind.

Regardless, try to avoid tossing hard or greasy food into your disposal, and remember to clean it with a degreaser every so often.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related kitchen posts below!

Can You Put Coffee Grounds In The Garbage Disposal?

Can You Put Lemons Or Lime In The Garbage Disposal?

How Many Amps Does A Garbage Disposal Use? [By Horsepower]

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