What Causes a Garbage Disposal to Leak?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

What causes a garbage disposal to leak?
What causes a garbage disposal to leak?

What Can Causes a Garbage Disposal to Start Leak?

Got A Leaking Garbage Disposal?
Before you start wondering about the length of time a garbage disposal lasts or making a strategy to change your garbage disposal, there are three common places for under-sink disposal to leak. Here’s our breakdown of the likely perpetrator of each of these and what is needed to fix them.

Caution: Before trying any garbage disposal maintenance or repair work, make certain to disconnect the unit’s power cable from the outlet under the sink!

Garbage disposal is leaking from the top

leaking seal flange
leaking seal flange

Likely culprit: The sink flange
Garbage disposals are connected to your sink with a flange and/or plumber’s putty. This seal can rust and loosen in time. It can also leak if the garbage disposal is hit hard enough to loosen up the seal (most commonly from doing other basic plumbing work under the sink).

The repair: Re-seal the garbage disposal
Many waste disposal units are sealed using plumber’s putty. You’ll require to separate the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty, and reseal. Other types of disposals use just a flange that is tightened up and compressed with screws. This may require to be replaced. Either way, this can be a huge job if you do not know what you’re doing (it requires the disassembly of the drain pipes as well).

Garbage disposal is leaking from the side

Likely Offender: The drain lines
Another common location for garbage disposals to leak is where the drain lines link. You’ll see two connections on the side of your garbage disposal. The smaller-sized hose pipe is where your dishwashing machine drains into the disposal. The bigger pipe coming out lower down is the drain out of the disposal to your sewage system.

The fix: Tighten up or reseal the connections
The dishwasher is connected to your disposal with a metal clamp. You can attempt to tighten 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 up the screws and/or change the rubber gasket.

Garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom of the system

The likely culprit is: Busted seal within the waste disposal unit
If your garbage disposal is leaking out of only the bottom of the disposal, the most likely cause is the real garbage disposal itself. There are internal seals that wear in time. It’s also possible that silverware has worked its way down and poked a hold in the side, and some of the disposal bodies are made out of plastic.

The fix: Get a new garbage disposal
New garbage disposal is most likely your best option. (Naturally, 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 possibly take your garbage disposal apart and repair the internal seal, it’s probably not going to be worth it to try.

South End Plumbing specializes in garbage disposal replacement, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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