Leaking Garbage Disposal: What to do?
We all know that fall and winter seasons are full of family-oriented holidays, and if you plan to host a party this year, there are things you can do now to get your home ready for the company you’ll be having soon. One thing you can do is to DIY your leaking garbage disposal before it turns into a holiday plumbing nightmare.
There are three usual places for garbage disposals to leak. Here’s our breakdown of the likely culprit of each of these and what you can do to fix them.
Garbage Disposal Leaking from the Top
Possible Culprit: The sink flange
Garbage disposals are attached to your sink with a flange and a plumber’s putty. The seal can corrode and loosen over time. It can also cause a leak if you accidentally knocked the garbage disposal hard enough to undo the seal — this usually happens when doing other plumbing work under the sink.
Solution: Reseal the garbage disposal
Using a plumber’s putty, detach the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty and reseal it. Some other types of garbage disposals use only a flange that is tightened and compressed with screws. This rim may need to be replaced. However, this can be a complicated work if you don’t know what you’re doing as it requires removing and replacing the drain pipes, as well.
Garbage Disposal Leaking from the Bottom
Possible Culprit: Busted seal inside of the garbage disposal
If you are experiencing a leak out of the bottom of your disposal, the problem is most likely your garbage disposal itself. The cause might be one of the internal seals inside the disposal have slipped, chipped, or flat-out deteriorated. If one seal has failed, it means the others are on their way.
Solution: Buy a new garbage disposal
A new garbage disposal is your best option, but if your garbage disposal is still under warranty, that’s a different story. Garbage disposals aren’t that expensive, and it can last up to 5-10 years. While you could potentially take your garbage disposals apart and fix the internal seal, it’s probably more work that it’s worth.
Garbage Disposal Leaking from the Side
Possible Culprit: The drain lines
Another usual spot for garbage disposals to leak is where the drain lines connect. You’ll see two connections on the side of your garbage disposal (smaller = dishwasher, larger = sewer). Leaks can occur if the clamp on the hose is not secure enough.
Solution: Tighten or seal the connections
You can try tightening the metal clamp to your disposal with a screwdriver if it stops the leaking. If not, loosen the metal clamps on these hoses and ensure the rubber gaskets inside are not falling apart. If required, replace the gaskets. Reattach the hoses and re-clamp the connection with new metal clamps.
Preventing the Leak
One of the best ways to help your garbage disposal function correctly is only to put soft foods down the drain. Bones, starchy or fiber foods, and the stray utensils can destroy the motor or even cause seals or bolts to be out of order as the disposal can forcibly run when trying to compensate for these hard materials.
Another garbage disposal rule of thumb is to run cold water through the drain, especially when you’re using it. This method will prevent grease and fats to expand and harden in the drain hose to the sewer that can cause blockages and leaks. If your garbage disposal stinks, you can deodorize it by running warm water down it while you grind a quartered lemon.
And lastly, schedule a maintenance from a professional plumber or remember to perform a simple check-up for leaks. Use a dry paper towel and feel the areas where a leaking garbage disposal can lose water. If you discover a leak when it’s just a drip, it might save you from a lot of stress and costly repairs later on.
Need plumbing, water heater, or heating and cooling service? Contact Einstein Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling today at 888-671-7767 or email [email protected] to schedule a fast and reliable repair, installation or maintenance assistance in Oregon, Washington, and Nevada.
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