How to Troubleshoot & Fix a Leaky Garbage Disposal

A panicked woman is on the phone calling for plumbing assistance as a pipe below her sink gushes water.
Consequences of a Garbage Disposal Leak

A slow garbage disposal leak is more likely than you may think. Often occurring beneath the sink, the leak can persist unnoticed for long spans. If left untreated, the accumulated water can cause significant structural damage.

A leaking garbage disposal can cause countless other problems, including:

  • Damaging your kitchen cabinets
  • Pooling on your kitchen floor
  • Ruining wooden fixtures, flooring, and furniture
  • Creating water stains
  • Fostering mold growth
  • Attracting cockroaches & mosquitoes
  • And much more

At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley, we are here to help you spot, stop, and prevent garbage disposal leaks before it is too late. We recommend immediately placing a bucket under your garbage disposal if you’ve spotted a problem. We also urge you to shut off the garbage disposal at the breaker before starting. Never put your hands inside the garbage disposal – even if it’s turned off. The metal blades present a significant hazard.

Placing a bucket will temporarily capture the dripping water and halt the damage. Unfortunately, it is not a long-term solution. You’ll still want to repair the issue as soon as possible before it gets worse. Today, we’ll discuss ways to troubleshoot your garbage disposal leak and potential DIY solutions. Our plumbing specialists are also on standby – ready to assist with top-of-the-line tools and unrivaled expertise.

Telltale Signs to Help You Diagnose a Garbage Disposal Leak

Many clues can indicate you’ve got a garbage disposal leak. The key to catching a leak before it is too late is to keep your sensory field keen and attentive. We recommend visually checking beneath your sink for damp and soggy conditions. It is also wise to keep an ear open for soft dripping sounds – especially after you run the disposal. Don’t forget the power of smell – the unsavory scent of rotten/spoiling food or a sulfurous stench can mean something is awry with your garbage disposal.

We recommend troubleshooting the situation at the earliest sign of a leak. The following steps will help you quickly diagnose the location of a leak:

  • Remove all items from beneath your sink
  • Unplug the garbage disposal
  • Stop up your sink drain with a plug
  • Fill the sink basin with a few inches of water
  • Check underneath the sink for the leak’s location

Are you still not finding anything? Don’t panic! Remove the stopper and examine the dishwasher hose, drain, garbage disposal bottom, or any nearby water lines.

How to Fix a Pesky Garbage Disposal Leak

Locating your garbage disposal leak is the first step to solving the issue. Your next step will rely on what section of the garbage disposal is leaking.

What To Do If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking at the Top

A top-end garbage disposal leak can mean a few things. In most cases, this means the sink flange or the putty sealant is worn out. The flange is what connects and seals the garbage disposal to the drain. Unfortunately, it can deteriorate over time.

You must first detach the garbage disposal appliance from your electrical circuit to fix the flange. Once you complete this step, you can proceed to follow one of two solutions:

  1. If the problem is with the flange, remove the piece and reseal it with a replacement.
  2. If the problem is with the worn-out putty, wipe it off and apply the plumber’s putty.

These remedies are usually cheap and relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, they can also be time-consuming and strenuous. Don’t be shy – hire one of our elite plumbing specialists to repair your flange today!

What To Do If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking from the Bottom

Water leaking from the bottom of your garbage disposal usually means the inner seals have degraded over time. We recommend inspecting the discharge pipe for cracks. It is almost always necessary to replace the entire garbage disposal if the inner seal is busted or worn out. Hire our team to perform an expert garbage disposal installation in no time. We’ll replace the appliance quickly and affordably.

What To Do If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking from the Side

Side leaks are often where the drain lines connect to the garbage disposal. You may be able to tighten (with a screwdriver) the metal clamps connecting the drain lines from the garbage disposal to the dishwasher. If the leak still appears after tightening the clamps, try replacing the rubber gasket.

Proactively Prevent Future Garbage Disposal Leaks

Nobody wants to deal with a garbage disposal leak. By hiring our plumbing technicians to perform regular maintenance, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of dealing with an emergency later.

You can also maintain your garbage disposal yourself. Some helpful tips for prolonging the lifespan of your garbage disposal include:

  • Run cold water whenever turning the disposal on
  • Avoid placing coffee grinds, eggshells, grease, meat bones, onion skins, hard foods, rice, potato peels, nut shells, or stringy vegetables down the garbage disposal
  • Seasonally inspect the disposal for leaks, cracks, and worn-out seals.

Need professional assistance with troubleshooting your garbage disposal? Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pomona Valley is happy to come to the rescue! Give us a call today!