If you’ve ever owned garbage disposal, you know how convenient it can be. But what you might not know is that these handy devices come with risks. They can leak, overflow, and break if they aren’t used properly. Disposals also tend to trap small pieces of metal that could clog up your pipes in the future. Fortunately for everyone involved, there are ways to mitigate these risks—and ultimately keep your kitchen tidy and bacteria-free all at the same time. Let’s take a look at why your garbage disposal could be leaking, how to diagnose a potential leak, and what you can do about it to keep things clean and safe.
Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking?
Garbage disposal is a wonderful convenience that can help save you time and cleanup effort. However, these units can develop leaks. When this happens, you need to know how to repair a garbage disposal in order to continue using the unit safely and efficiently. There are a few common causes of leaky garbage disposal. One is an issue with the drain pipe connection. Another common cause of leaky disposal is loose or damaged impellers (the blades that grind up food particles). You can replace these yourself or have a plumber replace them for you.
What Can Cause A Garbage Disposal To Leak?
You’re Using the Wrong Things
If you use the wrong things in your garbage disposal, it can cause a leak, and eventually, it can break. Disposals are meant to handle soft foods like vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of paper. They weren’t built for things like chicken bones and corn husks that can get caught in the blades. If you put these things at your disposal, they will jam, clog, and eventually break. For example, if you put too much food down the disposal at once, it will clog up the blades. If you put anything fibrous down the disposal, such as corn husks or celery leaves, it will wrap around the blades and cause the disposal to clog. These things are particularly problematic if you have a garbage disposal with a rotary blade. These are the blades that people see spinning at their disposal. Rotary blades are good at chopping up small amounts of soft foods, but they aren’t good at grinding up fibrous material. This means that if you put fibrous material down the disposal, it will wrap around the rotary blade and cause the disposal to clog.
The Disposal is Old
If your disposal is old, it might have gotten corroded and could have a leak. Before you try to troubleshoot a leak, make sure you’re using the correct disposal. The best way to do this is to turn off the power to your house, open the electrical panel, and write down your model number. If you’re not sure which model you have, there are a few ways you can figure it out. First, you can look at the model number printed on the bottom of your disposal. Second, you can turn on the disposal and look at the sound it makes. Disposals make sounds that are different depending on their model. Third, you can look at the shape of your disposal. While all disposals are different, they all have similar shapes, and the shapes are usually similar between different models. If your disposal is corroded and has a leak, you can replace it with new disposal that’s designed to last 10-20 years. When you do this, you’ll save money in the long run.
There’s Too Much Food at Once
If you put too much food down the disposal at once, it can clog, break, or create a leak. Even if you have a high-end garbage disposal, it isn’t designed to handle a large amount of food at once. This includes things like corn husks, celery leaves, and fibrous vegetables. If you put too much food down the disposal at once, the blades will clog and break, or the disposal will leak. The only way to fix this is to clear the clog, but it’s important to note that you don’t want to use a wire to unclog the disposal. While you can use a wire to unclog a sink, doing so could cause even more damage to your disposal. If you don’t want to call a plumber, you can try plunging the disposal yourself. This is a quick and easy way to fix clogged disposal, but it doesn’t solve the problem of too much food being put down the disposal at once.
How To Tell If Your Disposal Is Leaking?
The best way to figure out if your garbage disposal is leaking is to be on the lookout for signs of a plumbing issue in your kitchen. If you notice bubbles in your sink, a foul smell coming from your drain, or water collecting in your dishwasher, it could be time to take a closer look at your plumbing system and your garbage disposal. Leaky disposal will usually cause a mess beneath your sink. You may see bubbles in your sink or dishwasher and a bubbly, greasy substance in the bottom of your sink or underneath other nearby fixtures.
How To Diagnose A Leak?
If you think your disposal might be leaking, the first order of business is to shut the unit off and unplug it. Then, take a look at the drain to see if bubbles are forming there. The bubbles are likely the result of a clog in the disposal, but they could also indicate a leak. Next, you’ll want to look at the seal around the disposal. This is the gasket-like ring that secures your disposal unit to the sink. When it’s misaligned or worn out, a leak is often the result. You can check the seal by looking under the sink. If you see water, you’ll want to take a closer look to see where it’s coming from.
How To Stop A Garbage Disposal From Leaking?
Check the Drain Pipe
The most likely culprit when disposals start leaking is a leaky drain pipe. This is particularly true if you have an older model or disposal that’s been in service for a long time. While newer models of disposals are made with stronger materials, older units might have a pipe that’s worn away or otherwise compromised. If the end of your drain pipe is cracked or has been pushed up out of place, water can leak out and create problems. If your disposal is leaking, check the drain pipe first. You may be able to stop the leak or replace the pipe without replacing the disposal.
If the drain pipe is cracked, you may be able to repair it with a simple pipe repair kit. If the pipe is pushed out of place, simply push it back down into the drain. If it’s worn away, you may be able to repair it with a pipe coupling. If the pipe is broken or cracked, you’ll have to replace it. Fortunately, this is an easy DIY project, even if you aren’t an experienced plumber.
Install a Stopper
If the leak is coming from the wall of your disposal, a stopper may be able to stop the leak. This works especially well if the leak is from a flange made of rubber or another soft, flexible material. If your disposal has a metal flange, however, this trick may not work for you.
Find the place where the leak is coming from and place a rubber stopper or cork in the gap. This may block the water flow and stop the leak, or it may simply allow the water to rise up inside the disposal. The latter case means you need to open the disposal and clean it out as soon as you’re able.
Re-point or Replace the Flange
If none of these tricks work, you may have to replace the flange. This is a plumbing job that isn’t advised for beginners, though you may be able to find a plumber who will come out and do the work for a reasonable fee. In many cases, an experienced plumber can re-point the flange in the disposal to make it as strong as new. If the flange is worn or completely missing, however, you’ll need to replace it. You can find replacement flanges at hardware stores, home improvement stores, and online. Your disposal may come with a replacement flange, or you may have to purchase one separately.
Leaking garbage disposal is no joke. It is a flow of toxic water that will cause bad odors, and health hazards, and lead to clogged drains and other plumbing issues in your house. It’s important to know what is causing the leak and how to fix it before it gets worse. If you notice bubbles in your sink, a foul smell coming from your drain, or water collecting in your dishwasher, it could be leaky disposal that needs to be fixed.