How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal | Water Leaking from Garbage Disposal

How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

water leaking from a garbage disposal

The garbage disposal is an invention that's been around for nearly 100 years, so chances are you grew up with one in your household and took its convenience for granted. Also referred to as a food disposer, it's hard to understate how much easier it makes life, cleaning up after cooking. If you have water leaking from the garbage disposal, then you need to take care of the issue as soon as possible. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to fix a leaking garbage disposal. To correct the problem, you must locate the source of the breach.

Find the Source of the Leak

You're going to need to get under your kitchen sink, and you probably need a flashlight (although some new fancy models come with a light). One nice thing about the investigation process is that the culprit is almost always one of these four components:

  • The top of the disposal, where it connects to the sink drain.
  • On the side, where it connects to the dishwasher hose.
  • The side of the disposal that connects to the drainpipe.
  • The bottom of the disposal.

The best way to narrow down your search is to follow these steps:

  1. Wipe down everything, so there is no water on it on the chamber, hoses, etc.
  2. Mix some food coloring with water, then pour the concoction into the sink bowl.
  3. Use a paper towel to wipe the components of the garbage disposal one at a time and check after each swipe.

When you see food coloring on the paper towel, you'll know you found the culprit. Now you're ready to tackle the problem. That may be overkill. You may not require food coloring to locate the source. Check out this InSinkErator video for a simplified explanation.

detaching garbage disposal to fix leak from top

Garbage Disposal Leaking from Top

If this is the source of the problem, count your blessings. The fix is cheap and easy. All you have to do is re-seal and tighten the disposal flange. Either the plumber's putty used to seal the connection has gone bad, or the bolts need to be tightened (or both):

  1. Detach the whole garbage disposal from the sink, dishwasher hose, and drainpipe.
  2. Remove the mounting assembly from the sink.
  3. Now you can pull the flange out from the top of the sink. Scrape and clean off all the old putty.
  4. Do you know how kids make snakes with play-doh? You will need to make a thin snake (about 1/8" - 1/4" thick) with the plumber's putty. Wrap it around the flange and insert it back into the sink drain.
  5. Put the mounting assembly back together, securely installing it.
  6. Re-attach the garbage disposal and connect it to the drainpipe and dishwasher hose.

Garbage Disposal Leaking from Side Holes

This is another lucky result because you don't have to replace the disposal. If the problem is the dishwasher inlet, then tighten the connection (there is a metal clamp that may have come loose). If the problem is the drain outlet, you need to inspect the gasket (loosen the drainpipe connection to see what you're working with). Replace the gasket, if necessary, and tighten the connection.

Garbage Disposal Leaking from Bottom/Reset Button

If you have a garbage disposal leaking from the reset button, this is the worst-case scenario. You need to replace the entire disposal because you either have broken interior seals, or the actual housing of the chamber is cracked. Although seals can be fixed, the fact that it deteriorated in the first place is usually a sign of age, and you're probably going to see more of this same issue in the near future.

Turn to the Experts at PlumbersStock

If you need to replace your garbage disposal or buy disposal parts, then you're in the right place. We have great deals on your favorite brands, like InSinkErator, as well as Waste King. If you have any questions about your DIY project, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Related resources:
Garbage Disposal Buyer's Guide
How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?
How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
What Can You Put Down a Garbage Disposal
Installing an InSinkErator Garbage Disposal
How to Unjam a Garbage Disposal
How to Wire a Garbage Disposal
What If My Garbage Disposal Won't Spin?

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