How to Deal with a Garbage Disposal Leak

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You may have a garbage disposal leak if you discover moisture under your kitchen sink or a puddle of foul-smelling water on the floor nearby.

A garbage disposal leak can be a major inconvenience or, left unaddressed, it can cause extensive water damage and mold. Although some handy homeowners manage to work the problem out on their own, you’re safest calling on an experienced plumber to resolve the issue.

How to deal with a garbage disposal leak

Locate the Source of the Leak

The first step to garbage disposal repair is figuring out exactly where the disposal is leaking.

Unplug the unit and turn off the power at the breaker to prevent electrical shock. Then, follow these steps:

  • Remove everything under the sink
  • Wipe the disposal completely dry
  • Plug the sink drain with a watertight stopper
  • Fill the sink with a few cups of water
  • Mix in a few drops of food coloring
  • Remove the sink stopper and use a flashlight to find the leak

If the source of the leaking isn’t readily apparent, call a licensed plumber to identify the location of your garbage disposal leak.

If the Leak is at the Dishwasher Connection…

When leaking occurs in the area where the disposal connects to the dishwasher, the repair is usually relatively simple. Check the hose. If it’s dried out or cracked, you’ll need a replacement. If you try this repair yourself, carefully tighten the clamp to ensure the connection is secure. Otherwise, you could end up with a major water leak and subsequent damage.

If the Leak is at the Top of the Garbage Disposal…

A leak at the point where the sink, drain and disposal meet, the sink flange may be loose. Make sure the mounting bolts that connect the flange to the drain are tight. Take a look at the plumber’s putty used to create the seal. If it has deteriorated, you’ll need to detach the disposal, add new putty and put the unit back in place.

Or you can call a plumber to make sure the repair is done correctly.

If the Leak is at the Side of the Garbage Disposal…

A faulty or worn gasket is the probable cause of a leak on the side of the disposal. The solution is to remove the old gasket and install a replacement. To complete the repair, you’ll need to disconnect and remove the disposal. After installing the new part, make sure all three mounting grooves are locked in position.

Again, this sounds like a simple repair. However, many homeowners get as far as removing the old unit before getting stuck, leaving them without a working kitchen sink. Call a plumber and you’ll never have to worry about this hassle.

If the Leak is at the Bottom of the Garbage Disposal…

We’re not going to beat around the bush – if you have a leak at the bottom of your disposal, you need to replace the entire unit. Leaking at this location indicates that at least one of the interior seals has failed. And when one seal is compromised, the others are likely to follow. So, installing a new garbage disposal is usually the only option.

Play it safe and have a professional plumber handle your disposal problems or any plumbing problems you experience. When trouble strikes, call on the expert team at American Plumbing Services.

A trusted northern Utah industry leader, American Plumbing Services offers free consultations to homeowners in the greater Salt Lake City area. To schedule an appointment to discuss repair for your garbage disposal leak, contact our Provo office today.