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Can a Garbage Disposal Leak?

woman looking under sink at leaking pipes

Just like several other appliances, garbage disposals save a lot of our time. On the other hand, leaking garbage disposal can create a lot of problems. Lack of proper maintenance is, by far, the biggest reason for these leaks.

Given the fact that leaks can occur in different parts of the system, it can be difficult to diagnose the source. For this reason, you will need to eliminate each of the possibilities by performing a thorough search of your garbage disposal.  

Garbage Disposal Leaking From Bottom Screw

A discharge tube is screwed at the bottom of the garbage disposal. This tube connects to the drain of your sink with the help of a flange and seals. As time passes, the flange can become loose which results in a leakage.

One method of fixing this leak is to tighten the flange. You will require a plumber’s wrench for this purpose. If the leak continues, you will need to replace the seal between the discharge tube and the unit.  

Garbage Disposal Leaking From Bottom Holes

top view of plumber under sink cabinet with tools

If your garbage disposal is leaking from bottom holes, there could be some serious problems with your unit. The most common cause of this kind of leakage is the wearing out of internal seals. Although you can disassemble your garbage disposal to replace these seals, it is NOT a really effective solution.

The best possible method to counter this problem is to purchase NEW garbage disposal. Having said that, if your unit is still under warranty, you can claim the product.

Another reason that might cause a leak from the bottom is the cracks in the unit’s body. On average, the life of garbage disposal is 5-10 years. The interior lining of an aging unit can develop cracks in it that allow the water to seep through them. If there is a crack in your disposal’s bottom, you may face this issue. Once again, replacing the garbage disposal is your best bet.

Garbage Disposal Leaking From Reset Button

garbage disposal under sink view

Other than a crack in the body, the wear and tear of the flywheel gasket can also cause leakage from the reset button. In case of a crack, you have no other solution but to replace your garbage disposal. On the other hand, you can replace the flywheel gasket to stop the leak. For this purpose, you will need to manually remove the garbage disposal to change the worn-out seal.

Remove Garbage Disposal

You will begin the process by turning off the water and power supply to the unit. Remove the connections from the drain-pipe as well as the dishwasher. Now, you are all set to remove the garbage disposal.

Start by disconnecting the black hose with a hexagon nut driver. After that, disconnect the tubular pipe by loosening the holding screws. Then, use a hex wrench to loosen the rings by turning them counter-clockwise. Make sure that you are holding the bottom of the unit at all times to keep it from falling down. A garbage disposal can weigh up to 15 pounds so it’s better to put support (a small chair or stool) under it.

Replace the Seal

Once you have disconnected all these connections, you can remove the damaged flywheel gasket. Purchase and fit an exact replacement of this seal to stop the leakage. Re-install the garbage disposal and make all the connections. Turn on the water supply and check whether the garbage disposal is still leaking from the reset button or not.

Garbage Disposal Leaking from Top

The metallic sink flange is sealed around the top of the garbage disposal with plumber’s putty. It is a soft sealing that creates a watertight seal between the disposal unit and the sink drain. With time, this seal corrodes and causes a leak. Similarly, loosening of the bolts that hold the flange from under the sink can also lead to a leakage.

In order to fix this issue, we need to turn off the power and detach the garbage disposal. For safety purposes, it is important to disconnect the disposal unit from the circuit breaker as well.

After that, loosen the screws (by using a specialized wrench) of the main drain pipe and the dishwasher hose which are secured to the garbage disposal. You will also need to loosen the screws in the mounting ring to remove the unit. Here’s a video that might help you to remove your garbage disposal.

Once the garbage disposal has been removed, you will lift the sink flange from the top of the sink. Now, you will scrape off the traces of the old plumber’s putty before resealing. After completing the resealing procedure, re-install your garbage disposal and the leak will be repaired. If you are not confident about any of the details, it is BEST to get some professional help.  

Can You Run the Dishwasher if the Garbage Disposal is Leaking?

person opening dish washer

If you are looking for a one-word answer to this question, it would be YES. However, there are some technicalities that will determine your overall experience.

If your dishwasher and garbage disposal share a drain line, the usage of a dishwasher can create a lot of mess. This is because it will increase the risk of additional leaking as the water will travel to that common line.

On the other hand, if the drain of your dishwasher is totally separate from the garbage disposal, there are not many issues in running the dishwasher. Likewise, if you don’t hook water or any other liquid into the dishwasher, there will be no trouble.    

food scraps on cutting board with knife

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