How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal
Homeownership means always expecting the unexpected and always planning for the unpredictable. With so many running parts and appliances, it can seem like there’s always something going awry. A common frustration is a leaking garbage disposal.
You count on your disposal to process and eliminate your food waste. But if it’s leaking, it creates more mess (and work) for you!
If you’ve run into the issue of a leaky garbage disposal, take a deep breath because you’ve come to the right place for a solution. Read this guide to learn how to detect the source of the leak, repair and prevention tips, and when to call the pros.
Locating a Garbage Disposal Leak
The first step is to identify the leak source. Most leaks occur at either the sink flange or the disposal unit itself.
If the leak comes from the disposal, there is likely an issue with the sink flange gasket. This gasket creates a seal between the disposer and the sink. If it’s not properly sealed, water can escape.
If the leak comes from the sink flange, the mounting ring is likely loose, or the disposal isn’t properly secured to it.
If you still can’t find the source, check different parts of the hose or pipe. These components tend to deteriorate over time and after lots of use.
Fixing a Garbage Disposal Leak
Once you know where the leak is coming from, you can begin to fix it. Even minor issues that might not seem pressing at the moment can become a much bigger problem if left unfixed. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch a leak before it has wreaked too much havoc, take advantage of the opportunity to solve the problem before it grows and worsens.
Leaks Coming From the Top of the Disposal
If your leak is coming from the top of the disposal (at the sink flange or the spot where the sink meets the line), there are a few things you can do to fix it. Luckily, it’s a pretty inexpensive fix.
- Tighten the mounting ring: The mounting ring is what secures the disposer to the sink flange. If not tightened properly, water can leak out. All you need is a wrench to tighten it.
- Replace the sink flange gasket: The gasket creates a seal between the disposer and the sink, so water will escape if it’s not adequately sealed. You’ll need a new gasket and some plumbers putty. First, remove the old gasket using a screwdriver or a putty knife. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the disposal. Next, clean off old plumber’s putty from the disposal and the sink flange. Apply a generous amount of new plumber’s putty to both surfaces, then fit the new gasket.
- Tighten the screws: Use a screwdriver or wrench to tighten the screws once the gasket is in place. Loose screws can spring leaks.
Leaks Coming From the Side of the Disposal
If your leak is coming from the side of the garbage disposal, it’s usually a pretty easy fix, even if you’re not a handy do-it-yourself kind of homeowner.
If you see water coming from the lines or pipes, first see if you can tighten and secure the pipes where they connect to stop the leak.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the lines or pipes.
Pipes naturally age over time, and they will need replacing now and then to keep your unit working as it should. Schedule regular check-ins with your disposal plumbing so you can replace them before problems arise.
Leaks Coming From the Bottom of the Disposal
Water leaking from the bottom of your unit could have a few causes.
First, check to see if the dishwasher drain hose is connected correctly to the unit. If not, water can back up and leak out from there.
Another possibility is improper installation or damage to the drain line from the sink. If this is the case, you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced.
If neither of those is the problem, then there’s likely a leak in the disposal itself. The issue will require professional assistance to manage the internal components, including the motor.
If you’ve found it to be a leak from the bottom, the repair cost may not be worth it. This kind of damage points to something more serious inside the unit, so even if you can fix the issue now, you may run into more later. At that point, you may be better off with a complete replacement.
5 Tips to Prevent Future Leaks
The best way to avoid future leaks is to take preventative measures and be proactive about your maintenance. Use these easy tips to keep up with your garbage disposal and avoid unnecessary problems like leaks.
Tip 1: Use Cold Water When Running the Disposal
When you turn on the disposal, always use cold water. It will help solidify any grease or food and prevent it from leaking out.
Tip 2: Avoid Putting Hard-To-Grind Food Down the Drain
Items like chicken bones, fruit pits, and coffee grounds are hard to grind. Avoid putting them into the disposal because they can cause leaks by damaging the blades or getting caught in the drain.
Tip 3: Run It Regularly
Even if you’re careful about what you put down the disposal, run it regularly to keep it from getting gummed up. At least once a week, let it run for a few minutes to flush out any build-up.
Tip 4: Clean the Disposal Regularly
Besides running the disposal regularly, clean it periodically to remove any food or grease stuck to the blades. Do this using a disposal cleaner or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
Baking soda and vinegar can also help deodorize the garbage disposal if it’s starting to smell.
To clean the garbage disposal:
- First, turn off the power for the disposal at the breaker box.
- Next, put 1/2 cup of baking soda into the disposal.
- Then, pour 1 cup of vinegar into the garbage disposal and quickly plug the drain. (This will create a foaming reaction that will help clean the blades.)
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then turn on the power and run the disposal to flush it out.
- Repeat this process every few months to keep your disposal clean and free of leaks.
Tip 5: Set a Maintenance Schedule
The best way to avoid problems with your garbage disposal is to be proactive about its maintenance. Set a schedule for yourself or a professional to check the appliance every few months.
Routine inspections will help catch any issues early on and prevent them from becoming bigger, like leaks that can lead to water damage.
At All Dry USA, we are always here to assist you with leak repair. We’ll help you get to the bottom of your leaking garbage disposal and find the best solution for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking Water From the Bottom?
A garbage disposal leak at the bottom likely has to do with the drainage mechanisms. The dishwasher drain hose may not be connected to the bottom chamber, causing water to get backed up. It could also be a faulty drain line or one incorrectly installed. Leaks from the bottom can be some of the hardest to fix. In that case, seek professional help.
An Expert You Can Always Call
No matter your needs, our experts at All Dry USA are here to help. We have a wide range of experience in dealing with all kinds of leaks, so we can always find the best solution for you. If you’re having trouble stopping your leaky garbage disposals, leave it to the professionals. And if the damage has spread too far, we can help with water damage restoration, too.
Call us today, and we’ll help you get to the bottom of your leaking garbage disposal.