My garbage disposal is leaking. How do I fix it?

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A leaking garbage disposal can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know where to begin to fix it. Adding to the frustration is the uncertainty of whether or not you have to replace it, potentially costing you hundreds of dollars. It would therefore be a good idea to attempt to diagnose and fix the problem. This is where we can help. Leaks can come from a number of places. We’ll go over some common reasons causing garbage disposal leaks and tell you how to fix your leaky garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal leaking from the bottom

If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, it might be time to replace the disposal, especially if you’ve been using it for a number of years. The most common cause for a garbage disposal leaking from the bottom is that it has rusted from the inside out. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem you can fix and we encourage you to replace the disposal as soon as possible to avoid any injuries. If you’ve only had your garbage disposal for a short time, and your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, then it could be a manufacturer’s defect which is possibly covered under your warranty. So we would encourage you to explain your problem to your manufacturer.

Garbage disposal leaking from the top

A common problem people have is a leaking garbage disposal from the top. More precisely, the leak is coming from around the sink flange where the disposal is connected to the sink drain. If this is the problem you’re having, it should be a relatively straightforward fix. Either the mounting system has come loose, the plumber’s putty has failed, the fiber gasket has cracked, or any combination of the three.

You can try to tighten the bolts on the mounting system to see if that will fix your problem. If it doesn’t, what we recommend is to remove the garbage disposal and examine the mounting assembly. Check the fiber gasket to see if it’s still in good condition and if not, purchase a replacement. Your local hardware store should have plenty of these readily available. Bring your old one along to help you find the right size. You can also try contacting your manufacturer to see if they are able to send you one under warranty.

Then, re-install the assembly by replacing the plumber’s putty around the sink flange and re-securing the mounting system, making sure that all the bolts are tightly secure. Sometimes people forget to install their garbage disposal with plumber’s putty, so this can be what contributes to their leaky garbage disposal. To do the garbage disposal re-installation safely, make sure you first unplug your disposal, turn off the power supply to your disposal and place a bucket underneath your pipes to catch any residue.  

Drain Pipe Leaks

It’s not uncommon for people to mistake a drain pipe leak for a garbage disposal leaking from the bottom because it can be difficult to determine where the leak is coming from and everything is so close to each other. This could be a scary thought. Sometimes there are cracks in the side of the garbage disposal body and you might mistake them for cracks from a drain pipe too.

Drain pipes can be a source of leakage because the garbage disposal vibrates a lot and there are probably other things under the sink that shift the pipes around. If you have a drain pipe leak, check and secure all the connections. You can also use plumber’s putty to fix any pipe leaks.

Dishwasher Hose Leaks

The part where your dishwasher connects to the garbage disposal can also be a common source of leakage. This could either be because the hose has a tear or a problem with the clamp. It could have come loose. So if this is the problem you’re having you just have to replace your hose or tighten the clamp.

What’s the easiest way to diagnose your problem? It can be hard to figure out where the leak is coming from and potentially dangerous to keep using your leaky garbage disposal. So here’s how you can diagnose your leak safely:

  1. Unplug your garbage disposal. Turn off the power supply.
  2. Clear the area under your sink and place a bucket to catch any water and residue.
  3. Insert the stopper and fill the sink with a bit of water. Look down. Is any water coming out? If yes, you have a leak at the sink flange. If no, continue to step 4.
  4. Remove the stopper. Observe where the water is coming out. Use a flashlight to assist you. Is any water coming out? If yes, you found your problem. If no, see step 5.
  5. You likely have a dishwasher hose leak. Replace and re-secure the connection. Still having problems? See step 6.
  6. Contact your manufacturer or call a plumber for assistance.

If you need to replace your garbage disposal, check out some of our recommendations for the best garbage disposal you can buy today:

Our Recommendations
5-Star Rating Review Price
KitchenAid KCDB250G garbage disposal

KitchenAid KCDB250G (1/2 HP)

 4.6 Read our review
Moen GX50C garbage disposal

Moen GX50C (1/2 HP)

 4.5 Read our review
Waste King Legend 3200 garbage disposal

Waste King Legend 3200 / Waste King Legend 9940 (3/4 HP)

 4.5 Read our review
InSinkErator Evolution Essential Garbage DisposalInSinkErator Evolution Essential (3/4 HP)  4.7 Read our review
InSinkErator Evolution Excel garbage disposalInSinkErator Evolution Excel (1 HP)  4.7 Read our review

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