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November 30, 2020
Is your garbage disposal leaking?
Before you start wondering how long a garbage disposal lasts or making a plan to replace your garbage disposal, there are three common places for an under-sink disposal to leak. Here’s our breakdown of the likely culprit of each of these and what it requires to fix them.
Safety Note: Before attempting any garbage disposal maintenance or repairs, make sure to unplug the unit’s power cord from the outlet under the sink!
Garbage disposal is leaking from the top
Likely culprit: The sink flange
Garbage disposals are connected to your sink with a flange and/or plumber’s putty. This seal can corrode and loosen over time. It can also leak if the garbage disposal is hit hard enough to loosen the seal (most common from doing other general plumbing work under the sink).
The fix: Re-seal the garbage disposal
Most garbage disposals are sealed using plumber’s putty. You’ll need to detach the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty, and reseal. Other types of disposals use only a flange that is tightened and compressed with screws. This may need to be replaced. Either way, this can be a big job if you don’t know what you’re doing (it requires removing and replacing drain pipes as well).
Garbage disposal is leaking from the side
Likely culprit: The drain lines
Another common place for garbage disposals to leak is where the drain lines connect. You’ll see two connections on the side of your garbage disposal. The smaller hose is where your dishwasher drains into the disposal. The larger pipe coming out lower down is the drain out of the disposal to your sewer.
The fix: Tighten or reseal the connections
The dishwasher is connected to your disposal with a metal clamp. You can try tightening this with a screwdriver to see if it stops the leaking. The main drain line is connected with screws and has a rubber gasket on the inside. You may need to tighten the screws and/or replace the rubber gasket.
Garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom of the unit
Likely culprit: Busted seal inside of garbage disposals
If your garbage disposal is leaking out of only the bottom of the disposal, the most likely cause is the actual garbage disposal itself. There are internal seals that wear out over time.
The fix: Get a new garbage disposal
A new garbage disposal is likely your best bet. (Of course, if your disposal is still under warranty, that’s a different story.) Disposals aren’t terribly expensive and will last you 5-10 years. While you could potentially take your garbage disposal apart and fix the internal seal, it’s probably more work than it’s worth.
Still Have Plumbing Questions? Ask Pippin Brothers!
If your leak has turned into a failing disposal, and you are wondering what causes a garbage disposal to stop working, our team is here to help. We can assist in determining if there are any other underlying plumbing issues that are causing your disposal problems, like a clogged drain.