Some leaks are harder to detect than others. Unless it’s a bigger issue, leaks from the garbage disposal may easily go unnoticed. Unfortunately, leaks are never good, and they should be taken care of right away to avoid potential bigger problems. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your garbage disposal may be leaking and what you can do to fix it.
- The most noticeable signs of a leak will most likely be finding your cabinets or stored bottles under the sink wet. The sounds of dripping can also indicate there may be a problem. The next step will be detecting where the leak is coming from.
- Anytime you are handling an electrical appliance it should be unplugged before you work on it. So be sure to turn off your garbage disposal and unplug it.
Finding & Fixing the Leak
After your disposal is turned off and unplugged, you will need to do some digging to find out the source of the leak. Leaks typically come from 3 places and the fix will be different for each area.
- Leaks from the Top- The sink flange is the most likely cause of a leak coming from the top of a disposal. This is the piece that connects the garbage disposal to the sink drain. Often times plumbers’ putty is also used to seal the flange. Over time this connection can become corroded or loosened, causing leaks.
- The Fix– The garbage disposal will need to be resealed. First, check the mounting bolts that connect the flange, and be sure they are tightly fastened. Then, check the plumbers putty holding them together. If the putty is corroded or worn then remove the old putty, apply a fresh new layer, and reseal. Be sure all bolts are securely tightened.
- Leaks from the Bottom- When there is leaking from the bottom of a disposal, most likely there is a broken seal or a crack within the unit. Garbage disposals typically last 5-10 years. Over time internal seals wear out or crack. Leaks from the bottom are an indicator that your disposal has reached its maximum life span.
- The Fix– Inner seals are difficult to repair and not worth the hassle. Getting a new garbage disposal will be your best course of action. They can typically be installed on your own and are not terribly expensive to buy. You can also call a professional plumber to do the installation for added cost.
- Leaks from the Side- Drain lines are the culprit if leaks are coming from the side where the lines connect. The smaller line is where the dishwasher connects. The larger line is where water drains to the sewer pipe.
- The Fix– There is a metal clamp that connects the dishwasher hose to the disposal. Tighten the clamp screws with a screwdriver to see if the leaking stops. Leaks from the larger main line usually require replacing the rubber gasket on the inside of the hose. Screws should also be tightened once the gasket has been replaced.
Leaks are one of the most common problems with garbage disposals. It’s easy to think those little drips aren’t that big of a deal, but over time those little drips can mean big trouble in terms of water damage. Proper maintenance and repair under sinks is important and often easy to fix. Taking the time to do regular checks and make needed repairs will save you from some big headaches down the road.
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