“Why is My Garbage Disposal Leaking?!”

2014 Nov 19
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Water leaking from your disposal? It could be as simple as a broken seal or as complex as a bad disposal unit.

Here’s how to know.

Find the true location of the leak

Water travels to the lowest point before dripping, so even though water is dripping from the bottom of the garbage disposal, it might not be the actual source of the leak.

Here’s a helpful way to find the source of the leak:

  1. Unplug the disposal, for safety.
  2. Put a wide bucket or pan under the sink to catch the leaking water.
  3. Plug the sink. Fill it about a third of the way with water and put a few drops of food coloring in the water.
  4. Before unplugging the drain, look under the sink, are there any leaks? If so, it’s likely the seal between the garbage disposal and the sink.
  5. If all’s dry under the sink, the leak is elsewhere. Unplug the drain and quickly go under the sink and find the highest point where you can see water.

Where to look for leaks:

  • At the connection between the garbage disposal and the sink (1)
  • Where your dishwasher’s drain hose connects to the garbage disposal (2). If this is the problem, it will likely only leak when your dishwasher is running.
  • At the connection between the garbage disposal and the drain line (3)
  • At the bottom of the garbage disposal (4)

Common causes of garbage disposal leaks

Here’s a list of common causes of garbage disposal leaks, based on the location of the leak.

Leak occurs at the connection between the sink and the garbage disposal (called the sink flange):

Most likely, the plumber’s putty that makes the seal water-tight has cracked, causing the leak. You’ll need to remove the garbage disposal from the drain pipes and the sink and then reseal the drain flange with new plumber’s putty.

Leak occurs where dishwasher’s hose connects to the garbage disposal:

There is a problem with the connection. Dishwasher drain hoses are usually attached with a simple metal clamp. You can try removing and reattaching the hose as it may have come loose.

Leak occurs where the drain connects to the garbage disposal:

This is called the “discharge tube” and there is a rubber gasket that helps seal the connection. The gasket could be worn and leaking, or the screws may need to be tightened. (Careful not to overtighten, though, or you may strip the threads in the disposal.)

Leak is at the bottom of the disposal:

If water is coming out of the bottom of your garbage disposal, you will likely need a whole new disposal since seals inside of the disposal have worn out. You could try to replace those seals, but it’s a lot of work to take apart the disposal, replace the seals and then put it back together.

And there’s no guarantee that solution will work long-term.

Get a professional’s help

You could try to fix any of these problems yourself, but if you’d rather get the help of a trained, friendly professional, call George Brazil or contact us online.

We serve the entire metro Phoenix area, including the West Valley and the East Valley.