Garbage disposals are incredibly convenient devices to have in the modern kitchen. When they are working right, they make short work of just about any leftovers or mess in the sink, which really helps to make cleanup a snap. When something goes wrong, however, a broken disposal can clog the whole system, both literally and metaphorically. That’s why it’s important to know what to do when something goes wrong. Among the many problems a disposal can have, a leak is the most likely scenario. You can hire a local professional near you for a garbage disposal repair. However, if you choose to diagnose and fix it yourself, knowing how to do so the right way is important. Read on for more information.
How To Identify the Leak Location
The first thing to do is to identify where, exactly the leak is coming from. To do this, take a towel and dry the entire outside of the disposal. Then, put the stopper in the sink and fill it with about three inches of water. This will test to see if the leak is occurring near the top, where the disposal connects to the sink. If the outside of the disposal remains dry, then pull the stopper and let the sink drain. With the outside of the disposal dry, it should be easy to spot where the water is leaking from the disposal — and this will determine what to do next.
If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking from the Top
If your disposal is leaking from the top, you probably noticed it even before you drained the sink. A leak in this area usually means there’s a problem with the how the disposal is connected to the sink. Either the mounting has come loose, the the gasket has cracked, or the plumber’s putty has somehow stopped working correctly.
Either way, the first thing to do is to check the mounting assembly to see if it needs to be tightened. A few twists of the bolts, and then you should recheck using the same test as before. If it still leaks, then the next step is to disconnect the entire disposal from the sink. Once you’ve done that, and it’s completely off, you can examine the various points where the disposal and sink meet. Is there a crack in the gasket? Does it need a reapplication of plumber’s putty? Are the bolts stripped or not getting tight enough? Once you identify the problem, then replace the part and reattach.
If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking from the Side
If your disposal is leaking from the side, it’s not going to be as easy as a poor connection to the sink. This is because a leak in the side usually indicates a serious concern, such as a crack in the body of the disposal itself. Another problem that could cause this is a leaking seal around the motor itself. If either of these turns out to be the problem, the bad news is that this is typically an unfixable solution. The bottom line is that if your disposal is leaking from the side, then you’ll probably need to replace the entire thing.
If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking from the Bottom
Similar to the problems above, a disposal leaking from the bottom is usually an indication of a more serious concern. Typically, garbage disposals that leak from the bottom do so because they are older and have developed a rust problem. The rust eventually eats through the bottom of the unit until you get a leak.
If the disposal is a newer model, then a leak could indicate a faulty unit, which should still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. The best bet at this point is to call them and work to get a replacement model.
If Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking When the Dishwasher Drains
For our final problem, we’re going to discuss the most likely and common scenario: a disposal that leaks where the dishwasher hose connects to the unit. In this case, the culprit is usually one of two things: a leaky hose or a loose-fitting clamp. If the hose has a leak, then it’s an easy fix of buying a new hose and attaching it. If the hose is fine, then most likely the clamp is simply not attached correctly. Typically, a poorly-placed clamp means the clamp is too far away from the disposal. Simply loosening the clamp and tightening it up closer to the unit will fix this problem
As you can see, a leaky garbage disposal doesn’t automatically mean a new unit. Depending on the location of the leak, the problem can often be fixed quickly and cheaply. However, in some circumstances, a new unit is required. Thankfully, removing the old unit and installing the new one is not that difficult of a task, and once it’s in correctly, you’ll be glad you did it! Check out our best garbage disposal review.