Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom?


Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you will notice water under your sink. Don’t panic! There are many reasons why water could be under your sink. One of them is the garbage disposal malfunctioning. Malfunctions usually include leaking or improper seal on the flange, drain issues, and issues with the whole unit.

Before calling the plumber, there are multiple options that you can try on your own. In the following chapters, we will explain how to fix leaking garbage disposal and what causes it. So, let’s start.

What To Do If Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom?

So, What To Do If Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom? If the bottom unit of the garbage disposal is leaking, replace the disposal. It’s usually because of the cracks that are inside of the device. Buying a new unit is preferred in this option. Cracked garbage disposals are sometimes very hard to seal up completely and will do the job only temporarily.

If a garbage disposal is maintained correctly, you will avoid leaking problems. The most common leak problem is the one that occurs from below, and this is also the most difficult to repair. If your device is leaking from the bottom, it is recommended to buy a new unit. The good thing is that garbage disposal is not expensive, and its price usually ranges from $100 up to $400, and with good maintenance, it can last almost ten years.

If you want to know more, you can also read our article Kitchen Plumbing Systems | Diagrams & Types.

How To Find The Leak On Your Garbage Disposal?

Reason Why Your Garbage Disposal Leaking

Before starting to investigate the garbage disposal issue, it is essential to undertake some safety measures. Safety precautions might seem irrelevant, but they are necessary because your safety should always come first, no matter what the issue is. Here they are lined up in chronological order:

  1. Make sure to turn off the garbage disposal and unplug it from the electrical outlet/socket. Turning off the electricity will prevent you from getting shocked by electricity.
  2. Place a large container of some sort underneath the sink. This can be a garbage can, bucket, or even a plastic bag. By using a bucket, you will prevent water from running everywhere.
  3. Let the water run until the sink is a little less than half full.
  4. Pour a few drops of light-colored food coloring into the sink water.
  5. Review your sink from the bottom up to see if there are any leaks. If it leaks, you will notice it very easily.

Once you have gone through these five steps, you can quickly determine the problem with your garbage disposal. After you’ve figured out where the leak is, it’s time to fix it.

What You’ll Need When Inspecting Leaks

Here are items you will need to investigate where the leaking is coming from:

  • A bucket, a deep-Bottom Pan, or a sturdy plastic bag
  • Light-colored food Coloring
  • A Flashlight

Here are even more detailed instructions on finding a leaking place and what you need to pay attention to. The primary step in fixing almost anything around the house is an examination of where the issue is centered. Be aware that the leaking can originate from not just one but multiple places in your garbage disposal. The best place to start looking is where the garbage disposal connects to the sink.

That’s where most leaks originate from. Another commonplace is the drain hose. To examine the leak within the drain hose, you should turn on the dishwasher. That will start the water running so you can see where it might be leaking. The third place to look is underneath the garbage disposal system where the drain line and garbage disposal meet.

Step-by-Step How To Fix Leaking Garbage Disposal

Now that we have gone through how to determine the leak’s location and what you need, it’s time to fix it. Based on where the garbage disposal is leaking, here are ways to fix it:  

1. Garbage Disposal Is Leaking From The Top

When the garbage disposal is leaking from the top, it means that an issue has occurred in the connection of the sink, the flange and/or plumber’s putty. This usually happens because the seal connecting those two corroses or loosens with time. It sometimes even happens if the garbage disposal was accidentally hit hard doing other plumbing work under the sink or while taking out the trash.   

To fix this issue, you should:

  1. Turn off the power on the garbage disposal and plug it out of the socket.
  2. Disconnect the disposal from underneath the sink. For this, you might need a screwdriver or a wrench.  
  3. Carefully take out any remaining putty or seal in the connection area.
  4. Close the connection area.
  5. Place screws using a flange to tighten and compress the sealing area. 
  6. Once the area has been resealed, connect the garbage disposal back.

Call a professional if you have never endeavored in home improvement and repairing projects and you feel incompetent to follow through with the steps. Calling a maintenance specialist is costlier, but you do not have to worry about doing something wrong and creating more damage.

2. Garbage Disposal Is Leaking From The Bottom

If the garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom of the unit, that’s usually because of cracks that are inside of the device. Cracks appear after time because of basic wear and tear reasons. Average garbage disposal lasts somewhere around five to ten years. Some well-made units might last even longer.

To fix this issue, you have two options:

  1. Buying a new garbage disposal
  2. Fixing it by sealing the cracks

Buying new garbage disposal is costlier, but it definitely is simpler than attempting to fix it yourself. This option is better, because cracked garbage disposals are very hard to seal up completely, and they aren’t that expensive to purchase.

If you do prefer trying to fix it yourself, these are the steps:

  1. Disconnect the unit
  2. Dissect it
  3. Seal the cracks
  4. Reattach the garbage disposal

3. Garbage Disposal Is Leaking From The Side

If the garbage disposal is leaking from the side, it’s probably because of poorly attached drain lines. They experience wear and tear over the years, which leads to cracks and leaks. Check underneath the sink where the drain lines connect to the garbage disposal to ensure this is the case. You should see two lines. The small one is the disposal line, and the thicker one is the sewer disposal line, also called the discharge tube.

To fix this issue, you should:

  1. When the garbage disposal is leaking from the side, you should tighten or seal the connections. For this, you will need a screwdriver to tighten the clamp holding the garbage disposal attached to the dishwasher. That’s because it is connected with screws.
  2. Tighten the screws and replace the gasket as well if it’s damaged or worn. Gaskets can be purchased in most home improvement stores for affordable prices.
  3. Make sure to replace drain lines as well if they are worn. To repeat once more, if you aren’t experienced with fixing projects, call a professional to deal with the problem.

4. Garbage Disposal Is Leaking From The Reset Button

The garbage disposal leaking from the reset button is one of the worst cases. That is usually an indicator to get a new garbage disposal system, especially if it’s old. If it’s new, looking into options of repairing the reset button. If you have a valid warranty, that shouldn’t be an issue. The company repairman should come and fix this at the manufacturer’s cost. This fix is very dangerous because the reset button is very close to electricity, so buying new garbage disposal is advised.

How to Prevent Garbage Disposal Leaks?

Preventing garbage disposal malfunctions is always better than fixing them. Taking care of your home appliances is simple and will save you a lot of trouble. Here are some more tips:

  • Flush Food With Cold Water

Coldwater does a better job of flushing out the garbage than warm water does. Running it for around 60 seconds should flush out anything smoothly and efficiently.

  • Don’t Use the Disposal Unit For Fibrous Foods

Fiber-filled leftover foods clog up drains very often and ruin the blades with starch. The starch hardness of the blades making them dysfunctional over time. 

  • Avoid Tossing Hard Items

Hard food and items should never be tossed down the drain but thrown in the garbage can. Some examples of hard foods are eggshells, bones, large pits, and so on. These types of leftovers are destructive to the disposal system. To be even more sure what to place up for grinding, read the instruction manual.

What To Do If Garbage Disposal Leaks From The Sink Flange?

Fixing this problem can sometimes be difficult, especially if you never worked with plumbing. To repair garbage disposal leaking from the sink flange, you’ll need to remove the unit and re-seal the sink flange by using the plumber’s putty. While this sounds easy, many people opt for hiring a professional to do this job. However, if you’re an avid DIY’er and you love to do this, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  • Loose the screw that is connecting the disposal with the drain pipe. Now you need to loosen the metal clamp that is securing the dishwasher hose to the garbage disposal.
  • Make sure to remove the dishwasher hose and drain pipe from the garbage disposal.
  • Now, you need to loosen the mounting ring screws and remove the disposal. Loosen the bolts on the mounting assembly. Make sure to remove the sink flange from the sink. (use a putty knife)
  • Scrape off the old plumber’s putty by using a putty knife, and be sure to clean up the area with a damp cloth.
  • Lastly, you need to roll your plumber’s putty between your hands. This should be around ¼ of an inch wide and long enough to line the sink flange. Around the top of the flange wrap the putty snake and place the glange into the drain opening. Push it until it’s snug.
  • By following these instructions in reverse order, install the mounting assembly and mount the ring. After that, install the garbage disposal, drain pipe, and dishwasher hose.

What You Should And Shouldn’t Do With Your Garbage Disposal

If you want your garbage disposal to last longer, you need to maintain it properly. Therefore, we recommend the following:

Should:

  • While grinding up leftover food or anything else, flush cold water down the drain.
  • Make regular inspection on the unit to make sure there aren’t any leaks or damages.
  • Only drain soft foods down the drain.

Shouldn’t:

  • Never grind hard foods down the drain, such as eggshells, potato peels, coffee grinds, pasta, rice, plastic, and paper.
  • Never place bleach in the garbage disposal. 

By following these directions, you will most probably have your garbage drain up and running efficiently for years. 

If you decide to buy a new device, we have made a list of the five best garbage disposal units on the market. Take a look:

Garbage Disposal Model Warranty Operation Mode Available:
1. InSinkErator Essential XTR6 yearsQuietCheck Price
2. Waste King Legend L80005 yearsRelatively quietCheck Price
3. InSinkErator Evolution Excel7 yearsSuper quietCheck Price
4. Moen GXS75C GX Series ¾ HP5 yearsRelatively quietCheck Price
5. Waste King Legend L10016 yearsQuietCheck Price

FAQ: People Also Ask

1. Can you run the dishwasher if the garbage disposal is leaking?

Yes, you can run your dishwasher if your garbage disposal is leaking. Leaking while the dishwasher is running can also indicate that the issue is a result of a malfunction in the flange, pipe connection, worn-out seals, or the whole garbage disposal.

2. How much does it cost to fix a leaking garbage disposal?

Garbage disposal repair prices vary between 70 to 400 dollars. The price usually amounts to around 250 dollars. In that price, the replacement parts are included as well as labor. The plumber’s hourly pay is usually around 80 dollars.

3. How hard is it to replace a garbage disposal?

Replacing garbage disposal isn’t difficult. Especially if you have done some repair work around the house. If you do not feel confident enough to do it, ask someone in your family or your friends. If they aren’t either, call the plumber.

Final Thoughts

Garbage disposal leakage rarely happens if the unit is handled correctly. If it does happen, the repairs aren’t extremely costly, especially if done on your own. In the article, we have explained how to stop leaking from your garbage disposal based on the location from which the leaking is coming.

It would help if you mainly searched for wet spots on the body of the unit. If there are any, the best option is to get the garbage disposal replaced, especially if the wet spots result from large cracks. If the wet spots are only a result of mispositioning any of the elements, putting them back in place should do the job. If you have any more questions, comments, or information to add, feel free to reach out!

Mario

I'm the CEO and founder of Home Hacks DIY. I have been involved in home improvement since my early age. I will try to pass you my knowledge and expertise in this industry in which I have been involved for the last 10 years.

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