Fixing a Leaking Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal Leaking: How to Isolate the Problem and Fix It

Garbage disposal leaking? A garbage disposal leak is not something you want to put off fixing. Learn here how to isolate the problem and fix it.

Many of us spend a large majority of our days in the kitchen, so it’s safe to assume that we want everything working in proper condition. This especially goes for our garbage disposal. A garbage disposal that is leaking is as problematic as a fridge that is no longer working.

First, make sure you know to parts to your garbage disposal:

Parts to Garbage Disposal Diagram

Leaky garbage disposal is not something you want to prolong fixing. Need help from a plumber in your area? Get a quote below. Want to tackled it yourself? Here are some ways to hone in on the problem and fix it so you can go back to using your kitchen.

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Most Common Reasons Garbage Disposals Leak

Before you go digging under your sink, here are the six most common reasons for a garbage disposal leaking.

  1. Sink Flange
  2. Sink Gasket
  3. Unit Cracked
  4. Discharge Pipes
  5. Unit Has Shifted
  6. Faulty Dishwasher Connection

1-Sink Flange

If your garbage disposal is leaking, a good place to start to find the cause is taking a look at the sink flange. The sink flange is the top of your garbage disposal unit.

Sink Flange

The reason this may be defective is, that, the putty that the plumber applied, has worn out or the mounting bolts are loose.

2-Sink Gasket

The sink gasket is located right between the sink flange and rubber seal.

A gasket can become worn out if you use your garbage disposal a lot or even a little. When you use it a lot, it wears it out causing water to leak from it. If you rarely ever use your garbage disposal, the gasket becomes dry which also causes leaks.

Sink Gasket

The overall condition of the gasket is what will cause a leak in your garbage disposal.

3-Discharge Pipes

Another area that could be the cause for the garbage disposal leaking, could be the discharge pipes. The discharge pipes are the connection between the drain and the sink. Inspect these pipes to make sure they are not worn out, or loose.

Sink Discharge Pipes

4-Faulty Dishwasher Connection

Wastes from your dishes in the dishwasher go to the garbage disposal through the dishwasher connection. If there are any loose connections, cracks, or holes, the material in the garbage disposal can leak out.

5-Unit Has Shifted

To save space, many of us tend to store items under the kitchen sink where the garbage disposal unit lies. With the constant movement of objects, it is possible that if those movements made any hard impact with the garbage disposal unit, it can shift it. This will likely cause loose pipes and seals.

A unit shifting can be one of the most common causes of a garbage disposal leaking, due to loose connections, and bolts that are no longer tight.

6-Unit Cracked

If all other areas of the unit were checked out and nothing is loose or out of place, a crack can be the reason for a leaky garbage disposal. As noted before, with the constant movement of the object under the sink, it possible for the unit to have cracks after a hard impact hit.

Cracked Garbage Disposal

How to Find Where the Garbage Disposal is Leaking?

The easiest way to find the source of the leak is to clear the area where the disposal lies.

Step-By-Step Guide:

1. Make sure to dry off the area underneath the sink and dry the garbage disposal itself.

2. Plug up your kitchen sink and fill it up with cold water.

3. Pay close attention to where the leaking begins.

  •  If the leak begins at the top of the garbage disposal, this most likely is a result of the sink flange being the cause of the leak. If this is the case, you can drain the water.

4. If the top of the disposal isn’t wet, drain the water and see where the leak begins to develop.

  • If you notice the dishwasher connection hose is beginning to leak, this would indicate a fault within the hose i.e. it’s not securely on, or that the hose has deteriorated.
  • If you notice that the leak develops between the sink flange and the rubber seal, this is an indication that the gaskets have been worn out.
  • If the leak is coming from the bottom, where the reset button is located, this can be an indication, that the leak is on the internal side of the unit.

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Find Garbage Disposal Leaks

How To Fix Garbage Disposal Leaking From the Top?

When the leak is coming from the top of the garbage disposal, it most likely is caused by the sink flange. In this case, the flange needs to be re-sealed and the bolts need to be tightened.

Start by taking the garbage disposal off, removing any old plumbers putty around the flange that may have deteriorated, re-seal it, and attach the garbage disposal back on. In this process, you can also re-tighten any mounting bolts that may have been loose causing the garbage disposal to leak.

Garbage Disposal Leaks From Top

How To Fix Garbage Disposal Leaking From the Bottom?

Fixing garbage disposals that are leaking from the bottom can be very tricky. This usually is a sign that something on the inside of the garbage disposal is malfunctioning so it would be too complicated to fix it yourself.

If you want to save this garbage disposal, a professional plumber is a way to go. Otherwise, just get a new garbage disposal.

When leaks occur from the inside, there are typically many other leaks and deterioration that accompanies it. Garbage disposals are designed to last to up to 10 years so you’d be making a great investment in getting a new one.

Garbage Disposal Leaks From Bottom

If you do need to save money and can’t afford new garbage disposal, the leak at the bottom is coming from a crack or a worn-out seal on the inside. You can take the garbage disposal apart, find the crack and reseal it, and install the garbage disposal once again.

When to Use the Reset Button at the Bottom of Garbage Disposal?

The reset button is located at the bottom of the garbage disposal. On some garbage disposals, it’s located on the backside.  Usually, this reset button pops out itself when the garbage disposal gets overheated, jammed up, or anything else that is hindering its usage.

When this happens, the garbage disposal automatically shuts itself off. If your garbage disposal isn’t running, consider resetting it by going underneath the sink and pushing the red button. Remember to make sure the switch for the garbage disposal is in the off position.

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

Once you reset it, turn the disposal switch to the on position, turn on the cold water and let it go down the drain. Your drain should be working as normal. If not, try it again later because it may just need a few moments to work itself out.

Can You Run a Dishwasher If Garbage Disposal is Leaking?

You can run your dishwasher if your garbage disposal is leaking. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you should. If your garbage disposal begins to leak when your dishwasher is running, it could be the flange, the pipe connections, the seals being worn out, or the garbage disposal itself.

Once you notice the connection, it’s best to fix your garbage disposal before you consider running another load.

5 Things You Should Never Put In Your Garbage Disposal

It’s easy to want to dispose of trash through the garbage disposal because of how easy and convenient it is but there are some things you should never throw down it.

1. Coffee Grounds

No matter what you hear, coffee grounds don’t belong in your garbage disposal. After usage, coffee grounds are heavy and they densely get packed together. Your garbage disposal won’t be able to break them down or get rid of them, it’ll just harden and eventually clog your drains!

There are more efficient ways to remove or reuse coffee grounds. They can be used as an ingredient in homemade beauty recipes, or save it for composting later but never down your garbage disposal!

2. Potato Peels

Potato peels are thick and slimy. Once they are tossed down the drain, they’ll only stop other items from being disposed of correctly because they’ll clog the disposal up. Keep this in mind when you are trying to dispose of other vegetables high in starch and also with beans and legumes.

3. Pasta

Pasta, rice, and oatmeal are starchy foods that do not belong to your garbage disposal. When you throw them down the drain, they only expand because they absorb all the water that goes down the sink. Once they absorb water, they only clog the drain and make it hard for anything else that goes down the disposal to be taken care of.

4. Bones

Your garbage disposal cannot handle bones so take that chicken wing and throw it in the trash. The garbage disposal won’t be able to break them down and they will clog your drains only causing greater havoc. Fishbones also will be difficult to break down so it’s best to not even throw them in the garbage disposal.

5. Shells

Eggshells, peanut shells, and especially seafood shells from shrimp, crabs, oysters, etc do not belong down the drain. The blades fro the disposal will not grind them up. Dumping shells that are so dense down the disposal puts it at risk of breaking and clogging up the disposal and drain.

Save yourself the trouble and put them in the trash!

Best Garbage Disposals For The Money

It can be overwhelming to look for garbage disposals if you find a defect within the current one you have. You can even look for quotes to call a plumber who would be more than glad to install it for you. Here are the top three garbage disposal systems you should look for that are efficient and affordable.

1. Waste King Legend 3200 and 9940

The Waste King Legend 3200 will cost you approximately $100 while the Waste King 9940 will cost you about $150. These garbage disposals are stronger and will be able to grind up the food you throw into it. The horsepower on this is very strong and it’ll be hard to find something for this price and power to compete with.

Waste King Legend 3200 Garbage Disposal

The higher the horsepower, the better ability of the garbage disposal to grind waste. The horsepower on these garbage disposals is 3/4. The 3200 and 9940 are essentially the same but the mounts are different on them.

2.  InSinkErator Badger 5

The horsepower on this garbage disposal is 1/2. Through tests, it has shown that it grinds up food impeccably and does not clog up the drain. It comes pre-wired and it has a stainless steel sink flange. The price is approximately $100.

InSinkErator Badger 5 Garbage Disposal

3. Moen GXB75C 3/4 HP Control Activation

The Moen GXB75C is known to be able to finely grind all the wastes put into it. It has a stainless steel sink flange, 3/4 horsepower, and is approximately $200.

Moen GXB75C 3:4 HP Control Activation Garbage Disposal

Say Bye To That Garbage Disposal Leak

Garbage disposal leaking is a problem where the solution is simple if you know where to start. Now that you know what to look for when your garbage disposal is leaking, you can isolate the problem and fix it immediately to restore the usage of your sink.

Just remember to make sure all seals and pipes are securely attached, nothing is out of place, and avoid throwing certain wastes down the drain.

Following this guide will ensure that your garbage disposal leaking comes to an end. In the case that you need new garbage disposal altogether, check out the ones listed above. Contact a plumber for a quote so you can get it installed as soon as possible.

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1 Comment
  1. It was helpful when you explained that potato peels will clog up garbage disposal because they are thick and slimy. Last night, I was peeling a potato for dinner, and I accidentally dumped some of the skins down the drain. I don’t want to reach my hand down there to remove them, so I might hire a plumber that can remove them for me so that I don’t damage the disposal system.

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