Garbage Disposal Stuck Or Jammed – What To Do?

Suppose you turn on your garbage disposal, but it's only making a humming sound. This noise is often because the machine is stuck or jammed. So what can you do to repair it? We researched this concern, and here's what we found.

If your garbage disposal makes a humming noise when you turn it on, the jam might be because of a tripped circuit breaker. Resetting that breaker may solve the problem.

On the other hand, use a hex key, a wooden spoon, or a broom to remove the blockage causing the appliance to stick.

At first, these procedures may look confusing. So you should continue reading as we discuss these processes in greater detail. Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Under the sink garbage disposal unit, Garbage Disposal Stuck Or Jammed – What To Do

Why Do Garbage Disposals Get Stuck?

Food waste from the washing up in the sink and trash traps grid of drainage holes, Why Do Garbage Disposals Get Stuck?

Perhaps one of the most common reasons garbage disposal jams or becomes stuck is misused. Check the owner's manual to identify items you can and shouldn't throw in the appliance.

Generally, you can throw delicate items, including small bones, cooked meat, ice, and fruit and vegetable scraps. But you shouldn't chuck things like artichokes, corn husks, and clam shells.

Also, don't throw liquids, such as oil and grease, into the garbage disposal unit. These substances can thicken and gather debris, which can inevitably cause the jam.

Other suspects that may cause this appliance to jam are overheating or a tripped circuit breaker. So, troubleshoot your garbage disposal unit before applying any repair techniques to reduce the risks of costly mistakes.

Food waste from the washing up in the sink and trash traps grid of drainage holes.

How Do You Unjam A Garbage Disposal?

First, ensure that the garbage disposal unit is off. You can also turn off the appliance from the connected circuit breaker. That way, you can ensure power won't run through the appliance, preventing the risks of electrocution and other injuries.

Method 1: Use A Hex Wrench

Generally, garbage disposal units have an included hex key to help deal with jams. An appropriately sized hex wrench should suffice if you don't find this key.

With the hex key or wrench in hand, follow these steps to continue:

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Insert the hex key or wrench into the appropriate hole underneath the disposal unit.
  2. Wiggle the tool back and forth to help free the flywheel.

Check out this hex key set on Amazon.

If your specific garbage disposal doesn't have this hole, you can insert a wooden spoon into the appliance's central opening. Then, turn the spoon or wiggle it to free the flywheel.

You can also watch the video below for a visual of these steps:

Method 2: Use A Broom

If using a hex key or wrench doesn't dislodge the object that's jamming the garbage disposal, continue the repair procedure by following these steps:

What You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Needle-nose pliers

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Insert the broom handle into the disposal unit's main opening.
  2. Search and remove the blockage with the broom handle.
  3. Use your needle-nose pliers to pick and dispose of the item from the opening.

The video below will show you a visual guide to help you complete this:

Remember that you can prevent clogs in your garbage disposal with routine maintenance.

Read our post on cleaning garbage disposal trap and drain to learn how to care for this appliance properly.

How Do You Reset A Garbage Disposal Unit?

Note that a jammed garbage disposal may generate a humming noise even if there's no blockage. If so, the reason for this issue is a tripped breaker.

Method 1: Reset The Breaker On The Garbage Disposal

Some garbage disposal units have built-in breakers that help manage their power outputs. Press the button associated with the breaker to reset the unit.

Method 2: Reset The Circuit Breaker From The Electrical Service Panel

If the reset button on the unit doesn't give you the results you need, the issue may lie in the circuit breaker in your home's breaker box.

So search for the electrical service panel on your property. Open it, and locate the circuit breaker associated with your garbage disposal unit. Turn that breaker off for about a minute before turning it on again.

Return to your garbage disposal unit afterward. It should be able to work usually. If not, an underlying issue might prevent it from functioning as intended.

You might also have to replace the circuit breaker to make the appliance run.

Check out this 15-amp circuit breaker on Amazon.

If replacing the circuit breaker still won't make your garbage disposal function, it might be time to replace the machine.

Read our post on how long garbage disposal lasts to know when to substitute your old model with a new unit.

How Do You Know If Your Garbage Disposal Motor Is Burnt Out?

A garbage disposal's motor might burn out over time.

If so, you'll know if the unit's motor is no longer functioning if There's no blockage.

  • Pressing the reset button on the machine doesn't restore its functions
  • Resetting and replacing the circuit breaker doesn't make the appliance run
  • Flipping the switch on and off doesn't create a buzzing or humming sound from the disposal

Can I Replace My Garbage Disposal Myself?

Closeup of a plumber using a wrench to tighten a fitting beneath a kitchen sink -Can I Replace Garbage Disposal Myself

As long as you have the confidence and slight DIY know-how, you should be able to replace a garbage disposal unit without relying on professional plumbing services.

Doing so should help save you over $100 in expert labor fees.

How Do You Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Before finalizing your purchase of a new garbage disposal unit, you must consider certain factors. Some of the things to ponder upon are:

  • Motor size
  • Chamber size
  • Materials used
  • Additional features
  • Price

Once you have bought a new garbage disposal unit that fits your requirements, continue this procedure by following these steps:

What You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Standard pliers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Replacement garbage disposal
  • Garbage disposal installation kit

Plumbing tools on the kitchen. Renovation background.

Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Remove The Old Garbage Disposal

Unplug the old garbage disposal unit from the wall outlet. If your model has a hardwired connection, you may need to take extra steps before you can remove the old appliance.

Contact a trustworthy technician if you don't have the skill or know-how for this particular step.

With the garbage disposal disconnected, loosen and disconnect the drain pipe. You may be unable to disconnect the drain pipe for your specific model. If so, loosening the drain pipe may suffice.

Next, disconnect the drain washer hose and its hose clamp.

Release the drain bracket with a flathead screwdriver afterward. At this point, you should be able to wiggle the central garbage disposal unit and pull it out from the rest of the assembly.

Step 2: Install The New Unit

Place and secure the new garbage disposal unit into the drain bracket. Then, slide the metal fitting into the drain pipe. Install the drain pipe to the plumbing and connect the other end to the garbage disposer.

Secure the connections by fastening them with the accompanying bolts and screws in the garbage disposal installation kit.

Next, connect the dishwasher tube to the appropriate terminal on the garbage disposal.

Finally, plug in or connect the new garbage disposal to a power source. Test the appliance if it works by turning it on.

Check out this product on Amazon.

What Is The Best Garbage Disposal?

Some garbage disposal units on the market excel at providing benefits to their users.

A few great brands we recommend for your garbage disposal include:

1. InSinkErator Garbage Disposal

Durability, convenience, and ease of installation are benefits of this appliance. It also comes from a company with almost a century of experience in the industry.

However, it's also more expensive than many competitors, which may not appeal to budget-conscious buyers.

Check out this product on Amazon.

2. Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal

This garbage disposer exists on the other side of the price spectrum compared to InSinkErator's model. Although its motor can't handle extensive use, its easy-to-install nature can be an excellent fit for DIY beginners.

Check out this product on Amazon.

To Wrap It Up

Reset the circuit breaker connected to your garbage disposal to restore its normal functions. You can remove the object blocking its components to unstuck or unjam the appliance.

If this doesn't work, it might be time to replace your old garbage disposal unit with a new model. Thanks for reading, and good luck!

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