What is that Weird Garbage Disposal Noise?
Lisa was putting some leftovers down her kitchen sink while cleaning up the kitchen and as soon as she turned on the disposal, she heard a new, weird garbage disposal noise.
There are several issues that could be causing a weird garbage disposal noise and the best way to determine is to first categorize the noise itself. Is it a rattling sound or more of a humming? Below we outline some of the most common noises and some simple steps you can try at home to alleviate the problem.
Clanking or Rattling or Grinding
When something goes down your drain that is not supposed to, the disposal’s parts that pulverize the food waste cannot move and spin freely. If you run your disposal and hear an abnormal telltale clank, rattle or grinding noise, immediately shut it off. Those are the sounds of your disposal’s parts churning around something that is not supposed to be there.
First, unplug the garbage disposal — this is very important for safety as most people want to keep all their fingers. There is probably an outlet under your kitchen sink where the disposal plugs in that you may have never noticed before. If you cannot find an outlet, you will have to shut off power to your kitchen at your fuse box. Many plumbers advise doing both, just to be absolutely sure there is no power running to your disposal.
Once the disposal is depowered, you will need to remove whatever object has gone down there. You might want to consider using a broom handle instead of your fingers to loosen debris and free stuck impellers. Ideally, you will use a pair of pliers or tongs to pull the offending item out. You may need a flashlight to get a really good look down inside the drain.
If you can feel and see the item but it won’t come out easily, do not yank on it. Sometimes foreign objects get wrapped around the impellers or caught between them and the disposal’s spinning ring. Instead, try to gently wiggle the item to unstick it; yanking too hard on it may break, bend or displace the disposal’s mechanisms.
With the offending item removed, you can restore power to your garbage disposal and test to make sure it works properly. If you are still hearing the noise, you should call a licensed plumber to inspect it.
Buzzing or Humming
Often when your garbage disposal tries to spin around a stuck object, it simply won’t be able to move at all. You might hear the initial clank and rattle of a foreign object being whipped around just before it gets stuck; however once it is firmly wedged where it’s not supposed to be and your disposal can no longer spin, you may hear a low hum or buzz.
This sound indicates that the disposal’s motor is still getting power. This is good news, but you don’t want the motor to burn out as it keeps trying to move the disposal’s parts, so immediately shut off the garbage disposal before you cause permanent damage.
After unplugging the disposal and disabling power to it, first try to follow the instructions from earlier in this article to locate and dislodge whatever item was mistakenly put down the drain.
For very tightly wedged obstructions, you may have some luck manipulating your garbage disposal’s spinning parts and loosening a stuck object by working from underneath the garbage disposal unit. Take the offset wrench that came with the disposal unit and insert the wrench into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don’t have the wrench you can pick one up from the hardware store that sells your garbage disposal. Once the wrench is inserted, turn it clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you’ll feel the flywheel turn freely.
Once freed, turn the power back on at the panel but don’t turn on the disposal yet. Go back to the disposal and press the reset button. Run some tap water into the disposal and quickly flip the switch on and off turning the disposal on for a short burst. Do this 2-3 times and that should spin the flywheel and the dislodged obstruction should be washed down the drain.
If you are still getting a weird garbage disposal noise or it no longer makes any noise, call the professionals at Plumbing Masters to help you repair your garbage disposal at [callcap].