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How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

A leaking garbage disposal can turn into a stinky situation fast. Even worse, it can lead to serious water damage. By learning how to fix a leaking garbage disposal you can act quickly before the leak gets out of hand and makes a mess of your kitchen.

Signs pointing to a garbage disposal leak:

  • Damp, soggy cabinet under the sink
  • Flooding coming from under the sink
  • Dripping sound from underneath your sink when you run the disposal
  • Rotten or spoiled food smell coming from the cabinet under the sink

How to Diagnose the Location of the Leak

  • Remove all items from the cabinet beneath the sink; place a bucket or bowl under the sink to catch any water or bits of food that may come out during the repair.
  • Unplug the disposal, stop-up the sink drain, and fill the sink basin with a few inches of water to determine where the leak is located.
  • Check underneath the sink while the sink is stopped-up. If the leak seems to have stopped, remove the stopper and check for a leak at the dishwasher hose, the drain, from the bottom of the disposal, or from the water lines coming from the wall.

How to Fix the Garbage Disposal Leak

If you have determined the leak is indeed coming from the garbage disposal, here are some tips to help you fix the problem, depending on what part of the disposal is leaking:

  1. Leaking from the Top – This likely means your sink flange or putty is worn and no longer keeping the seal. In this case, you will have to detach the disposal appliance, remove the old flange or clean off the worn-out putty, and then reseal with a new flange or fresh plumber’s putty.
  2. Leaking from the Bottom – The seal inside of the garbage disposal may be busted; these internal seals tend to wear out with time. In this case, you may need a new garbage disposal installation. Unless your disposal is still under warranty, the time, effort, and cost of fixing the internal seal is likely not worth it, and you would be better off replacing the appliance.
  3. Leaking from the Side – This leakage often comes from the location where the drain lines are connected to the side of the garbage disposal. In this case, try using a screwdriver to tighten the metal clamp that connects the lines from the disposal to the dishwasher. You can also go to the main drain line screws to tighten them, or you may need to replace the rubber gasket.

How to Prevent Garbage Disposal Leaks in the Future

Most homeowners are not excited about having to conduct any of the garbage disposal repair tasks. A better plan of action is to take the necessary steps to avoid problems in the first place. Providing regular maintenance for your disposal does not require a lot of time or effort, so take advantage of these tips to save yourself from the hassle of leaks:

  • Keep the cold water running when putting food down the disposal
  • Follow the Do’s and Don’ts list for what you should and should not put down the disposal
  • Stop once in a while to inspect the unit for cracks or small leaks
  • Learn more about how to clean a garbage disposal on the Mr. Rooter blog

For professional repairs of leaking garbage disposals and other under-sink plumbing leaks, reach out to your team of local plumbing experts at Mr. Rooter. Call (855) 982-2028 to schedule an appointment or request an estimate online today.

If your leaking garbage disposal caused significant damage, contact the water damage restoration professionals at Rainbow International. Just like Mr. Rooter, Rainbow International is part of Neighbourly’s community of home service experts. You can count on them for water damage restoration and mold removal services.

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