Last night, after a 10-hour work day, feeding my cranky kids and getting them finally into bed, I opened the cabinet under my sink to grab some cleaning supplies. (You got it, a mom’s job is never done.) Much to my surprise, each bottle that I reached for was covered in water. Plus, the wood cabinetry was damp. (Ugh!) Turns out there was a drip coming from my garbage disposal.
Unfortunately, leaking is one of the most common garbage disposal problems. Here's what to know about spotting and troubleshooting a garbage disposal leak:
You might not realize your garbage disposal is leaking immediately, but puddles in your cabinet or irritating dripping sounds will be a dead giveaway. Inspecting the unit itself and the areas where the garbage disposal connects to your pipes will help you differentiate whether the leak is coming from the sink or somewhere else.
The potential causes
If you have a leaking garbage disposal on your hands, the reason could be due to a faulty component that's allowing the water to escape. The key to troubleshooting the issues is determining the source of the leak.
Remember that your safety comes first, so be sure to turn off the garbage disposal and unplug the unit. Also, if your detective work leads you to find a clog in your garbage disposal, that's an entirely different issue. You can learn how to unclog it here.
Learn More About Home Warranty Plans Near You
Some of the common causes of garbage disposal leaks you may come across include:
1. The top of the garbage disposal is leaking
This leak typically comes from a faulty sink flange, meaning the seal or plumber's putty that attaches the garbage disposal to the sink has worn away.
The fix: Detach the garbage disposal and scrape away the old putty. H2ouse.org suggests you reseal the area with fresh putty and reconnect the unit.
2. The garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom
If water is dripping from the bottom of your garbage disposal, it's likely due to a broken seal or cracks inside the unit. Leaks coming from the reset button are especially risky and indicate that the garbage disposal is likely at the end of its life.
The fix: Replace the unit. You can complete the installation on your own, or according to Bob Vila.com, you can pay about $400 for a professional.
3. The side of the unit is leaking
There is a problem with your drain lines if the leak is coming from the side of your garbage disposal. You'll see two lines, a smaller one that connects to the dishwasher and the main sewer pipe.
The fix: If the leak is coming from dishwasher hose, use a screwdriver to tighten the screws in the metal clamp. Leaks from the drain pipe usually require a rubber gasket replacement.
Once you fix the leak, follow the tried-and-true garbage disposals do's and don'ts and tricks for always-fresh drains to make sure everything continues running smoothly.
In the event that your garbage disposal issue requires professional help, it will help if you are prepared with a home warranty plan. See how plans from TotalHome Warranty by HomeServe can help with the costs of covered appliance and home system repairs.