Garbage disposals are considered nearly essential for modern kitchens. Installed underneath the sink, they grind up food into particles that will easily flush down a drain. A common problem with garbage disposals is that they will become jammed if too much food is pushed into them or a foreign object falls inside. When jammed, the circuit breaker may trip, cutting the power to the unit. When that happens, it will appear that the garbage disposal motor has burned out even though that may not be the case.
In most cases if your garbage disposal is humming it is because a foreign object is stuck in the disposal. If an item has been jammed in the blades of the disposal they will be unable to rotate. This can result in a humming noise. If this is the case simply unplug the disposal under the sink then survey the drain hole. If you discover that an object is stuck in the blades remove it. Once you have done this you can plug the disposal back in and flip the switch. This should clear up the problem.

For any major issues with the garbage disposal, you should leave the job to a professional plumber only. Reaching your hand into the drain is dangerous, even if you believe the power is shut off. A plumber can help you evaluate the state of your disposal, and decide whether or not you need a new unit. Upgrading to a faster disposal unit with a higher horsepower can help to protect your pipes and make cleaning up after meals even easier.

Knowing the difference between what can go down the disposal and what should go into the trash can save you an emergency call to the plumber. This is especially pertinent during the holidays when the kitchen is filled with people and the sink with dirty dishes. Practice these three everyday maintenance tips to help you maximize the lifespan of your garbage disposal.


Loosen the nut securing the rest of the assembly. Just below the sink flange where the drain empties into the garbage disposal you’ll see a circular plastic piece similar in appearance to the mounting ring. Insert the tip of a screwdriver into one of the lugs on this piece and rotate it in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the nut away and set it aside.[9]

You should first find out whether only the disposal is broken, or if the power has gone out completely in the areas near your kitchen sink. Try resetting the circuit breaker that leads to the kitchen, or replacing a fuse if you have an older electrical box. If the garbage disposal makes no noises at all when you flip the switch, you might also want to check under the sink to see that it’s plugged in.

Garbage Disposal Install

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