I have a 1 year old 2hp insinkerator garbage disposal. No problems until today. I put a couple of old pickled vegetables (not very much) in and turned it on and the motor just stalled. I could hear the hum, thats it.

First, I disconnected the power, cleaned it out and verified that it spun freely. I turned it back on and the same thing happened. I did the same thing except I separated it entirely from the plumbing. the trap on the discharge side had mostly clear water in it. Not buildup. I also continued to clean out the disposal, but at that point there wasn't much more to clean. Bench tested it, and it worked. Put it back together and it worked. I left it running while I checked the drain for leaks, no issues. Put a few scraps in and ran it just to make sure. No problems.

An hour later, the same thing happened again. Once again, this time there was barely anything in it.

Any idea what could cause this, Originally I was worried that the problem may be the motor, now I'm kinda wondering if it could be a back pressure issue. not sure why though.


I tried putting an allen wrench in the bottom. It turns without resistance. I tried a few iterations of half a dozen turns followed by giving it power. Still having the same issue.

  • check the reset button and try turning it with an allen wrench, 1'4" I think, in the center of the bottom – JACK Dec 24 '19 at 23:32
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    I don't believe back pressure is the culprit here. It sure sounds as though the motor has a problem like some dead windings that is preventing it from developing full power. – jwh20 Dec 24 '19 at 23:49
  • interesting. I would expect it to fully stall if the windings were shorted. I did not realize that what you speak of can happen. I guess I'll have to look into the warranty. – mreff555 Dec 25 '19 at 2:35
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    Not necessarily the windings, garbage disposal motors are usually Capacitor Start motors because of the need for high starting torque. They have a centrifugal switch inside that switches out the capacitor once the motor is at speed. If that switch fails to re-close when it is shut down, the motor cannot start, it will just hum. In garbage disposals that switch can get corroded it there is a lot of moisture under the sink, and/or it can be damaged if the impeller jams. If it worked for a while and stopped again, that's usually the sign of a failing switch. – JRaef Dec 26 '19 at 23:23

Humming is usually due to something stuck in the internal grinder section of the disposal. Ours did this whenever anyone put potato peels in it. Pickles and celery also tend to cause problems. JACK’S solution of using the Allen wrench has worked for us every time.

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