When your garbage disposal unit starts to leak, your floor or stuff under the kitchen sink suffers the most. A foul smell sets in and the kitchen ambiance changes for the worst.
Regardless of the angle, the leak is emanating from, you’ll always have a hard time with leaking garbage disposal.
Luckily for you, if your garbage disposal is leaking, you can easily solve the problem without involving a plumber or an expert handyperson.
But before you learn how to fix garbage disposal leaking from the side, bottom, or top, you should learn what causes such leaks in the first place.
Reasons Why a Garbage Disposals Leak
Garbage disposal leaking from the bottom, top, or side can be a result of many associated problems with the sink drain lines or the garbage disposal unit itself.
If you’ve noticed dirty water continually accumulating under your sink lately, your garbage disposal may be leaking.
Here are the reasons why garbage disposals leak.
1. Worn Out Gaskets
One of the main causes of leakages in garbage disposals is a worn-out gasket. A gasket is typically found in between a sink flange and the rubber seal of your garbage disposal.
Once you find it, check whether there’s any discharge. The presence of discharge indicates you have a defective gasket and you need to replace it with a new unit as soon as possible.
A defective gasket is usually because of continual use for many years without replacement.
The gasket will also be defective when you rarely use it leaving it dry, which opens up space for leaks when you use it.
Also, always ensure the gasket is properly sealed to minimize the chances of leaks.
2. A Leaking Sink Flange
If you check closely at the highest point of your garbage disposal unit, you’ll find a sink flange, a region where the garbage disposal equipment connects to the sink and drain.
The sink flange’s main responsibility is to prevent dirt from blocking up your kitchen drain.
If you notice water leaking from this spot, you need your sink flange fixed for the garbage disposal to resume normal operations.
The typical causes of a leaky sink flange could either be loose mounting bolts or weak putty. You should start checking these two when working out the solution.
When changing weak putty, you should start by opening the bolts until a gap surfaces.
Insert new plumber's putty between the sink flange and the pipe then start tightening the pins until everything is solidly intact.
3. Loose Pipes and Seals
Loose seals and pipes are easily visible when you check closely under your kitchen sink.
Loose seals and pipes under your sink come about as a result of using the space beneath your sink as storage space.
While fixing stuff under there, you might mistakenly hit the disposal pipes and seals, hence loosening them.
Using extra force when fitting stuff down there can be more damaging to the garbage disposal. The pipes and screws will become loose as the holding bolts become free.
When you get under there on time before the screws drop and get lost, you can re-screw them and re-seal the seals to bring the entire garbage disposal back into perfect shape.
4. Loose Drain Lines
Drain lines are other weak spots you should check whenever there’s a continuous leak from your garbage disposal. You should check the point where the garbage disposal meets the line for any loose signs and leakages.
Be careful not to interfere with the thicker line which disposes of the sewer. Instead, go for the thin disposal line that is responsible for disposing of hard waste from your dishwasher.
Fixing the leak in the drain lines is easy. You’ll need to fasten the clamp that connects the garbage disposal to the dishwasher using a screwdriver. While at it, don’t leave the screws on the dishwasher disposal line untightened.
Another cause for leakage in the drain lines can be continuous wear and tear, and if that’s the case, you should consider replacing such fittings with new ones. You can call for help from professionals when things get tough.
5. A Leaking Reset Button
If you’re looking for a real solution that will help you save money when you have a leaking reset button, then repair should not be on your top list.
Once your garbage disposal starts leaking and you’ve attributed the cause to a faulty reset button, you should consider buying a new one.
Repairing the reset button only offers a temporary solution and you’ll have to get back to the same problem after a few weeks.
New garbage disposals with broken reset buttons shouldn’t worry you so much as they are covered with the warranty and you can have them replaced easily.
6. A Leaking Dishwasher Connection
Most of the garbage disposals are connected to the dishwasher through a hose so they can transport food remains from the dishwasher to the disposal unit. If the clamp tightening the connecting hose isn’t compact enough, you’ll inevitably contend with incessant leaks.
You’ll need to fully replace the dishwasher connection so it can get to work effectively.
How to Repair Your Leaking Garbage Disposal from Different Leaking Angles
Garbage disposal leaking from different angles is something you’ll always have to get prepared for any time you buy and install one.
More often, your garbage disposal will leak from the top, side, and bottom, and whenever you encounter either of these, you need ready tips to solve the problem.
Whether the garbage disposal leaking is from the top, bottom, or side, you’ll always need reliable solutions to solve the problem at hand.
Here is how to go about each garbage disposal leaking problem when they occur.
1. Garbage Disposal Leak from the Top: How to Repair it
Garbage disposal leaks from the tops are presumably the easiest to solve.
- Mostly the problem is never caused by your garbage disposal, but the flange connecting to the mounting ring of your garbage disposal.
- Most garbage disposals have their flanges sealed with a clay-like sealant known as plumber’s putty, which helps to prevent leakage. Some garbage disposals use screws to fix the flange in place, though not so common.
- With time, the screws become loose and the plumber’s putty breaks, leaving behind a weak flange that can no longer create a water-tight seal to hold dirty water inside.
- When you’ve established the garbage disposal leaking is from the top of the unit, you can always follow these easy steps to repair your disposal unit.
- Loosen the screw connecting the main drain pipe to the garbage disposal, then set free the metal clamp that fastens the dishwasher hose to the garbage disposal.
- Take the dishwasher hose and the drain pipe away from the disposal garbage.
- Get under the sink and disconnect the disposal from the mounting assembly by loosening the mounting ring screws connecting the two. Once you’ve removed the garbage disposal, place it somewhere safe on a dry surface.
- Loosen the bolts holding the mounting assembly to set it free so you can remove it. Once you’ve removed it, lift and remove the flange from your sink using a putty knife to pry it up.
- With the help of the putty knife, remove the plumber’s putty from the flange and clean up the entire area using a damp cloth.
- Roll a sizeable ‘rope’ of the plumber’s putty on your hands and make sure it’s long enough to cover the circumference of the flange. Once it’s ready, wrap the putty along the top of the flange and gently insert the flange into the drain opening until it firmly fits.
- Go ahead to install the mounting ring, mounting assembly, dishwasher hose, drainpipe, and garbage disposal, using the same instructions above but in the reverse order.
2. Garbage Disposal Leaking from the Side Holes and How to fix it
There are two possible causes for side leaks; the main drain line or the dishwasher drain problems.
Like with the leaking problems on the top of the disposal, these leaks are typically easy to solve and you’ll rarely need to call in a plumber to fix it.
Garbage disposals have two drain lines connecting to them; the main drain line and the dishwasher drain. Since some disposals lack the dishwasher line, you’ll need to concentrate on the main drain line if you’re using such disposal.
Here’s what you can do to bring your garbage disposal back to shape when it’s leaking from the side.
- Check if the metal clamp is tightly secured. If not, use a screwdriver to secure it firmly to ensure water is passing down the side of your disposal.
- If you’ve done this and there are still some leaks, check out if there’s a cracked horse fitting. If the hose is indeed cracked, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
- For the main drain line, you will need to tighten the screws on the metal plate connecting the hose to the unit.
- If that fails to work for the main drain line, you will need to check the rubber gasket behind the metal plate of the drain hose. If it’s worn out, you will need to replace it with a new one before everything gets back to shape.
3. Garbage Disposal Leaking from the Bottom Holes and How to fix it
If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, chances are high that you will be investing in a new unit sooner.
You need to have a closer look at your disposal to be sure water is actually dripping from the bottom of the unit. Begin by drying off the dripping water from the unit using a paper towel and watch closely to monitor where the water is dripping from.
The most likely reason for a bottom leak is the damage to the internal seal within the unit. These internal seals are great for protecting the motor and preventing the appliance from leaking.
But the seals wear out with time making it impossible for them to prevent water leakage, hence the need to replace them over time.
The only perfect solution is to purchase new garbage disposal. That way you will be sure to have solved the problem completely and evaded the risks of electric and water accidents.
Fixing a Garbage Disposal Leak – How Much Does it Cost?
One major concern for homeowners when it comes to fixing a leaking garbage disposal unit is always the cost involved.
Various factors affect the total cost of repairing a leaking garbage disposal. These factors include:
Your Home’s Age
Older homes with difficult-to-access plumbing or wiring will attract more costs than newer homes with easily accessible plumbing connections.
Level of Damage
When the disposal unit is extensively damaged, you will not only be dealing with a damaged unit, but also the associated damages.
More often you’ll have to pay additional costs to have your electrical and interior décor damages sorted.
Varying Plumber’s Rates
Plumbers’ rates vary from one plumber to another depending on their level of experience, special rates they offer, and the location.
If you’re contracting a plumber that stays far away, additional charges to cater for transport will apply. Equally, hiring plumbers on holidays, weekends, or for emergency operations may cost you more than when you hire them during their normal routine.
A plumber’s experience also significantly determines how much they charge you. Highly experienced plumbers will charge between $25 and $75 per hour.
A slightly experienced one will charge between $25 and $40 per hour while a beginner plumber will charge between $16 and $25 per hour.
On average it should cost you about $250 to fix the garbage disposal.
On the lower end you can spend as low as $70 for the entire exercise while on the higher end, you can spend up to $400 for the entire project.
Is Your Garbage Disposal Leaking? Get it Fixed Today
Having a garbage disposal leaking from the bottom, top or the side can be a potential danger not only to your kitchen but also the entire home. This is because electrical accidents may always occur where leaking water is involved.
With the help of the above tips, you can always repair the leaking garbage disposal or replace it with a new unit depending on the level of damage.
However, if things are more complicated than you can handle, you should consider getting help from professional plumbers for quick and reliable results.