Why is my garbage disposal leaking?

Garbage disposals are a great tool in your kitchen.…when they work. They make cleaning up after meals easy but when it eats your wedding band, malfunctions, or breaks, that’s another story altogether.

So, you’ve noticed your garbage disposal is leaking? Let’s discuss the DIY steps that can be taken and when you need to call in the professionals.

Garbage Disposal Leak Investigation

You will want to begin by locating the source of the leak. Is the leak coming from the connection between the sink and the disposal unit?

Check the Connection

If this connection is loose or damaged, water can leak out of the bottom of the disposal. You can attempt to resolve this issue by turning off the power to the disposal and tightening the mounting bolts that hold the disposal to the sink.

Check the Gasket

If you check and the bolts remain tight, it’s possible that you need to replace the gasket between the sink and the disposal. At this stage it may be time to call in the experts.

Check the Seal

Another culprit might be a worn out seal. Over time, parts deteriorate and can result in leakage. To replace a seal, you’ll need to disconnect the disposal from the sink, remove the old seal and put on a new one. Then reattach the disposal unit.

Check for Cracks in the Disposal Unit

In some instances, leakage can be the result of a crack in the disposal unit. One sign might be a garbage disposal leak from the bottom. In this case, you simply have to replace the entire unit. There is no way to fix a crack in a disposal unit or fix a damaged unit. The only answer is to replace it.

How can I prevent garbage disposal leaks in the future?

As a general rule, avoid putting objects into the garbage disposal that are hard, like bones, or fibrous, like celery. Both hard objects and fibrous materials can damage the disposal blades and cause leaks.

It’s important to remember you should run cold water while using the garbage disposal. There is a common misunderstanding that using hot water is sensible. This is not the case. Running hot water while operating the garbage disposal can result in causing grease and grime to solidify and clog the disposal.

Quick Recap: Dos and Don’ts when fixing a leaking garbage disposal

Dos:

  1. Important: Turn off the power supply before you take any further action.
  2. Always follow manufacturer instructions when making repairs. Failing to do so can result in damaging or breaking the unit.
    1. REMINDER: Before attempting any DIY repairs, make sure to turn off the power supply to the garbage disposal. This can be done by unplugging the disposal directly or by turning off the circuit breaker that powers it.
  3. Be sure to use the right tools. You can tighten bolts with a wrench or pliers. You’ll want to use correct tools to avoid damaging the disposal or injuring yourself.
  4. Regularly clean your disposal to prevent odors, clogs, and leaks. Simply toss ice cubes or citrus peels like orange or lemon into the unit and run cold water while operating for easy maintenance.
  5. If you need to remove anything from a garbage disposal the power needs to be turned off for safety reasons. You never want to stick your hand in the disposal area. If you need to retrieve something that has fallen inside try tongs.
  6. You can always video chat in real-time with a Frontdoor Expert if you have any questions or run into issues.

Don'ts:

  1. Never use chemical drain cleaners in your garbage disposal. These can cause leaks and damage the disposal unit.
  2. Do not overload the disposal with too much food waste. Doing so may result in a clog, malfunction or breakdown.
  3. Don’t use hot hot water when running the disposal. Hot water can cause grease to solidify and result in a clog.
  4. Don’t put any non-food items in the disposal. The disposal is only meant to dispose of soft food waste. Hard food items and non-food items can damage the disposal blades.
  5. Never ignore a leak. Ignoring a leak can result in irreversible water damage to the cabinet area below your sink. Leaks can be a safety hazard. Be sure to address leaks promptly to avoid negative consequences.

Choose Frontdoor

At Frontdoor, we aim to make life easier as a homeowner. You can video chat with a plumbing, electrical, appliance repair, HVAC, or handyman Expert in real-time who can help answer your questions and guide you through next steps. The best part? You get your first video chat for free when you download the Frontdoor app.

Download the Frontdoor app today and video chat with an Expert for free with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Frontdoor assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.