We’ve all been there: a late night sink load of dishes after a successful dinner party. You had a great time, so you’re determined not to let the massive cleanup put a damper on your night… until you flip the switch on your garbage disposal and it seems to have taken the night off too. The good news is that if it is making a humming sound, it may be a fairly simple fix. With the correct plumbing supplies and self-education, you may not need to contact your local plumbing contractor.
When your garage disposal refuses sink debris through the grinding chamber, but continues to make a humming sound, this is usually an indication of a stuck flywheel. It is not the product of a clogged drain. A stuck flywheel is usually due to a logged item between the impellers and shredder ring. In most cases, this is one plumbing problem that you can do yourself. Here’s how:
You will need the following plumbing supplies:
- The offset wrench that came with your disposal. (If you do not have this, you can purchase one at a hardware store that sells your garbage disposal model.)
- A wooden broom handle or something similar in shape and size (this may be used to physically free the stuck impeller or flywheel if it is not easily turned during initial steps).
- Before beginning the repair, be sure to turn off power to the garbage disposal at the electrical service panel. NEVER put your hand down into the garage disposal hopper (grinder chamber).
- Insert the offset wrench into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit and turn it clockwise. This should help to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. (If it dislodges correctly, you should be able to feel the flywheel turn freely.)
- If you have trouble dislodging the flywheel with the offset wrench, you can use the wooden broom handle to attempt to free the stuck impeller and flywheel. To do so, stand over the sink and place the broom-handle into the top of the unit through the drain.
- Place the broom-handle into the hopper and against the impeller. Try to free the stuck flywheel with leverage. Be careful not to be too forceful, as you may easily damage your garbage disposal by doing so. As with the offset wrench, you should be able to feel the flywheel turn freely when it dislodges.