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Why is my garbage disposal leaking? (Causes & Fix Methods)

A leaking Garbage disposal can be quite frustrating because this makes the floor or cabinet under your kitchen sink severely wet. It could also lead to other water damages if you don’t get it fix fast.

Luckily, if you’re experiencing such problem, you can handle this issue without contacting a plumber. To make things easier and less confusing, we will reveal to you the reasons why your garbage disposal leaking and how to fix it.

What Causes Garbage Disposal to Leak and How to Fix It?

1. Worn Out Gaskets

When your garbage disposal leaks, you should consider checking its gasket that’s between the flange and rubber seal. If you discover any discharge, then you have a defective gasket.

If you have been using a gasket for many years, it will become weak, and then begin to drip water. Furthermore, if you rarely use your disposer, the gasket dries up and leaks in turn. An improperly sealed gasket faces the same problem as well.

How to Fix Garbage Disposal Leaking from Gasket

  • To stop such leakage, swap the existing gasket for a new one. You can find a new unit at your local store. When you get one, use the following steps to replace the leaky gasket.
  • Detach the drain and pull out the plug from the garbage disposal unit if your disposer connects with your dishwasher, take out the drain hose between them.
  • Firmly hold the sides of the mounting nut and rotate with clockwise movements. Since this action unlocks the disposer, the unit should fall downwards. Place the detached item in a position that reveals the rubber gasket.
  • Swab the existing gasket with the new one. Try to place the substitute on the exact spot as the old one and allow it pop on the lip. At this point, it’s vital that the gasket sits flat.
  • Return the garbage disposer to its original position on the sink. At this stage, try to confirm if the gasket seal properly before reinstalling the disposer.
  • Confirm the tightness on every mounting groove. Attach the drains and insert the plug to test for any leakages.

2. Leaky Sink Flange

Leaky Sink Flange

You can find this component at the highest point of the garbage disposal unit. At this location, the kitchen tool meets with the sink and drain. With the flange, you can avoid dirt blocking up your kitchen drain.

Do you have a garbage disposal leaking water from this spot? If yes, then you have a defective flange caused by either weak putty or loose mounting bolts.

If the problem comes from the putty, consider replacing it. Begin by unscrewing the bolt until you notice a gap. Place the putty between the pipe and flange and tighten the pins. But if you still have garbage disposal leaking from top, use these steps to solve the problem.

Steps to Fix Leaking Sink Flange

  • Remove the garbage disposal by removing the screws that attach the main drain pipe to the unit. Then take out the screws on the metal clamp that fixes the dishwasher hose to the disposal. Remove the free dishwasher hose and tubing from the unit.
  • Remove the mounting ring that holds the disposal to the mounting components under the sink. Detach the garbage disposal and place it on a neat surface.
  • Pull out a wrench and take out the bolts in the mounting assembly. Remove this component and place it beside the disposal unit.
  • Return to the top of the sink and raise the flange. Remove the existing putty at the top of the sink flange and clean with a damp cloth.
  • Collect a handful of putty and mold (with rolling movements) into a rope that fits the perimeter of the flange.
  • Wind the molded putty around the upper part of the flange. Take the flange to the sink drain and fix it in.
  • Replace the mounting ring and mounting assembly, remember to tighten the screws. Then reinstall the drainpipe, dishwasher hose, and disposal unit.

3. Loose Drain Lines

Since garbage disposal units can leak from the drain lines, check the spot at which the appliance meets the lines. Here, you will notice two lines; the thick is the sewer disposal line while the thin one comes as the dishwasher disposal line.

If you find any drips, grab a screwdriver and secure the clamp that holds the garbage disposal to the dishwasher. You should also tighten the screws on the dishwasher disposal line. Remember to replace the gaskets with a new one from any store in your location.

During the inspection of drain lines, check for wear and tear. With constant use, these parts can develop cracks that result in leakages. Change such fittings or contact a plumber to help with this task.

4. Loose Seals or Pipes

Loose Seals or Pipes

To find these parts, you will have to check under your sink. At this location, it’s normal for people to store various items. As a result, someone might hit the disposal pipes, especially when using the storage space.

If extra force meets the garbage disposal, it can push it from its original position. Moreover, you might have loose pipes and screws while the holding bolts will become free. In cases like this, look out for parts that stand out of place and tighten bolts at leaky spots. If the dripping continues, fix a new roll of putty sealing ring.

5. Dishwasher Connection

Garbage disposal leak could be from the dishwasher connection to the drainpipe. But why does a garbage disposer attach to the dishwasher? Well, the dishwasher dumps food waste into the unit, but leaks occurs due to cracked or loose hoses. You can solve this problem by securing or replacing the hose, thereby ending your “garbage disposal leaking into dishwasher” nightmare.

6. Split or Cracked Body

Split or Cracked Body

If you notice any discharge, particularly after changing a leaking gasket, check the surface of the unit for large cracks. Provided you discover any, consider investing in a new garbage disposer.

Most times, cracks occur from knocks and bumps as people retrieve items near the unit. To avoid future damage, change the position of the electrical appliance.

7. Leaking Reset Button

If you have old garbage disposal leaking from the reset button, ignore any advice about fixing the item. Repairing this piece comes as a temporary solution resulting in wasted cash. Instead, visit your local store and buy a new one.

For new garbage disposers with faulty reset buttons, you can fix the reset button mainly as a warranty covers the product. The manufacturers of the unit might offer repair services. But if the unit has exceeded the warranty period, seek the services of a professional.

8. Loose or Damaged Discharge Pipe

If you have checked those parts mentioned above and you don’t know what to do if your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom? Inspect the discharge pipe that’s fixed to the sink for wear and tear. You should also check if you have loose plumbing.

Solve this issue by screwing the flange while using a plumber’s wrench. If the water still leaves the disposer, change the seal that lies between the holding nut and discharge pipe.

How to Prevent Garbage Disposal from Leaks

Do Not Dump Hard Waste into the Disposal Unit

Avoid allowing hard items get into the garbage grinder. If you want to know the specific types of waste that your unit can handle, consult the manual that comes with the package. If it’s a high-end model, it should grind items with certain level of hardness.

Hard food waste includes sturdy bones, shellfish parts, and stubborn corn kernels. If you toss this waste into the grinder, it can damage the appliance. Instead, dump hard materials into your trash can or use it for compost.

Avoid Starchy or Fibrous Food Waste into the Grinder

Drains become clogged, especially when food fibers or starch gets in. After all, the fibers can twist around the mouth while the starch becomes hard. Food items with these features include onion skins, fruit seeds, banana peels, corn cobs, and celery.

If you want to dispose such materials, cut them up in smaller pieces, or use a trash can. Also, do not grind eggshells with the unit as they can also block your plumbing.

Divide Large Waste into Tiny Portions

Divide Large Waste into Tiny Portions

For extra-large waste such as melon skins, cut into smaller pieces and use the disposal unit. Ensure you put in as little trash as possible for a perfect and safe grind.

But if you have many pieces to cut, ignore the waste disposal unit and use the compost heap or dustbin.

Flush with Cold Water

After the waste has left the drain, run your waste grinder and faucet for between 30 to 60 seconds. This action helps the waste move smoothly while the cold water prevents the disposer from heating up. Avoid hot water as it can build up melted fat that clogs piping.

Perform Regular Clean Ups

Turn the grinder and wipe out the inside of the rubber lying in the middle of the sink. You can use a paper towel for this task. If you forget to clean this component, it releases an unhealthy smell.

Occasionally toss in some ice to remove any food residue on the shredder’s blade. This precaution allows the edge to grind waste correctly.

For extra cleaning, free vinegar or lemon juice and dump the cubes into the appliance. If you want other options, try using an environmentally friendly cleaner.

When storing these ice cubes, cover and label the trays to avoid accidental consumption. Do not use these containers for keeping food or drink, particularly after use. When you use the grinder, flush the unit with cold water.

Freshen the smell on your unit with some lemon or citrus rinds. Place cut up items into the disposal unit to avoid clogs. Do not worry about buying fresh fruits; you can use the old ones in your fridge. You also freeze the fruits before use.

Wrap Up

Leaks in a garbage grinder cause various problems such as faulty flanges, cracked pipes, or loose fittings. Even a disposer with visible cracks is also the reason garbage disposal leaking.

To solve this problem, replace the parts or get a new garbage grinder. But you can prevent any damage and smells through regular cleaning. You should also avoid using the appliance to dispose of strong materials.