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What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal is Leaking From<

Woman kneeling in front of open under the sink cabinet with water on the floor, on the phone while cleaning up a leak

Leaks are annoying. They can mess up your perfectly clean kitchen or bathroom and they can be hard to find and repair. The same holds true with the garbage disposal. When that small appliance leaks, your kitchen cabinets can get moldy, wet as well as smell bad.

Stopping the leak becomes priority one and to learn how to stop a leak in your garbage disposal when that leak is at the bottom, just keep reading. Our article has the information you need to stop that leak and keep your kitchen cabinets dry again.

There Are 4 Places to Look

Spotting the leak can be difficult since there are 4 possible exit points the water can use. You will have to find the leak location first in order to know how to fix the problem. Here are the 4 locations you have to watch:

  1. The flange that connects the garbage disposal to the sink
  2. The connection between the dishwasher drain hose and the garbage disposal (usually only leaks when you run your dishwasher) if you do not have a dishwasher then there may only be 3 places to look
  3. The connection between the disposal and the drain line
  4. The bottom of the disposal

The last location is the hardest one to fix.

How to Spot the Leak’s Location

Garbage disposal with water dripped underneath it on the bottom of the cabinet

The first step you need to do is put the stopper in the sink and fill it about halfway full of cool water. Add some bright food coloring to the water. This will help you spot the leak’s location.

Then place a bag, bucket, or pail underneath the disposal and get ready to look for the leak. Get someone to pull the stopper from the sink drain and watch the disposal as the water empties from the sink.

Check all the connections you see underneath the sink in order to find the exact location. Once you do, you move onto the next step and try to fix the leak.

Fix the Leak at the Bottom

Hand holding a blue cloth under a leaking garbage disposal

This is a bit tricky to do as there are two repairs you can do. The first repair is to repair the reset button. This is where the water normally leaks from when the leak location is at the bottom of the disposal.

This would require some talent with tools and electricity so make sure you unplug the disposal before attempting this repair. However, some people have said that leaks at the bottom cannot be repaired.

You may want to talk to a plumber about that and see what they say. Most people recommend simply replacing the garbage disposal with a new one when the leak is at that location.

It is easier and safer to do. Plus, you get new disposal out of the deal.

Fixing Side Leaks

Person underneath the kitchen sink reaching as if cleaning beyond the viewing area

When the water is coming out of the two connection points, the repair is quite simple. First, you can take a screwdriver, most likely a Phillips head, and tighten the clamps. They may have worked loose due to the vibrations the disposal gives off when operating.

Or, you may have to remove the connections and add a little more Teflon tape to the threads. the worst-case scenario is that you will have to replace the drain lines and the connections, then add more Teflon tape to the threads.

Fixing a Leaky Flange

Man with pliers fixing garbage disposal under a kitchen sink

The flange is the part that holds the garbage disposal to the sink. If there is a leak there, most likely something happened to the seal, and you will have to remove the disposal and the flange.

If there is no physical damage to the flange, all you have to do is scrape away the old putty and then replace it with new. Once that is done, put the flange and disposal back into their proper spots.

Broken Seals

This is an internal problem that you may not see. The reason for not being able to see it is because the water will drip out the bottom of the disposal. Since water takes the easiest path, you may misidentify where the leak is coming from.

When you see a leak in the bottom, you should check the seals inside the appliance. If they are broken, there is not much you can do. Replacing the unit is best repair option you have.

It is possible to seal the crack, but you are just delaying the inevitable.

Some Final Words

Water leaked onto kitchen floor from area of the kitchen sink.

This repair is only tough when it comes to identifying the location of the leak. Once you have found it, you will know which repair option to take. Then it just becomes a matter of time as you get the right parts and make the repair.

Sometimes replacing the unit is your best repair. But how you fix your disposal will be up to you. Call a plumber if you do not want to do it

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