A leaking garbage disposal is something you might run across from time to time. Just because a garbage disposal is leaking does not always mean you need a new one. Doing a little bit of detective work and troubleshooting before replacing a garbage disposal can save you money.
Here are the most common causes for a leaking garbage disposal and how to fix them.
Look closely to find the source of the leak. If the garbage disposer is leaking from the very top rim where the rubber seal mounts to the flange the cause could be the big rubber gasket on the top of garbage disposal.
- Reason why it may leak: When the rubber gasket gets old it can develop a leak. Long periods of disuse when there is no water in the drain and garbage disposal can cause the gasket to dry up and leak. If you remove an older garbage disposer for any reason and then put it back it may require a new rubber gasket to get a watertight seal again. Also, if the gasket is not locked evenly on all three sides then it will leak. The leaking garbage disposal gasket can be easily replaced. You can find a replacement rubber garbage disposal gasket at a local hardware or home improvement store.
- Getting the right seal: Depending on which type of garbage disposal you have it may need a special gasket. To ensure that you get the right gasket to make a note of the garbage disposal model of taking the old gasket into the store to match it up.
Replacing The Gasket
To remove the gasket and replace it you will first have to disconnect the drain and unplug the cord to the garbage disposal. Also, if you have a dishwasher you will have to remove the dishwasher drain hose from the garbage disposal. With the drains and cord removed you can now take hold of the sides of the mounting nut and twist it counterclockwise to unlock the garbage disposal. The disposal should drop straight down.
Set the garbage disposal down where you can work on and see the rubber gasket. Peel off the old gasket and put the new gasket in the same place making sure that it pops into the lip and sits flat. Now you are ready to set the garbage disposer back in place. Use your knee or a helper to lift the disposal into place while looking down at it from above the sink to verify that the gasket sits flat before locking it back into place. Then look underneath the sink to make sure that all three mounting grooves are locked in. Reconnect the drains and plug the cord back in to test it for leaks.
Another common cause for a leaking garbage disposal is the disposal flange. A leak at the very most upper area of the garbage disposal could be the garbage disposal flange which goes through the sink. A garbage disposal flange should be sealed with Plumber’s putty and then tightened from underneath the sink. If this is not tight enough or if it has managed to come loose (which can happen) then the garbage disposal will have to be taken down so the flange can be resealed and then the garbage disposal can be rehung.
Reseal The Flange
First, drop the garbage disposal down like in step 3. Loosen the 3 bolts that tighten the flange in place. Then locate the clip that holds the bottom flange in place. Use a flat screwdriver to pop the clip out of its groove. Then pull the top flange out from the top of the sink. Clean the area around the sink opening before reinstalling the flange making sure to remove any old putty.
Roll out a generous amount of Plumber’s putty to a uniform width making a nice snake-like gasket out of putty. Wrap the putty onto the rim of the flange. Push the flange back into position and put the bottom flange on with the clip holding it into place. Tighten the three screws evenly until all three are tight. Scrape off any extra putty from the inside of the sink. Now you are ready to lock the garbage disposer back in place, reconnect the drains and test for leaks.