How to Find and Fix A Leak In Your Garbage Disposal

Depending on what’s wrong, a leaky garbage disposal can be a challenge to repair. Before you can fix the issue, you’ll first need to find the source of the leak. At Terry’s Plumbing, we handle these problems on a regular basis. If you’re an experienced DIYer who is confident with your ability to work with your home’s plumbing, the steps below will help you fix the problem and repair your garbage disposal.

Know the Anatomy of Your Garbage Disposal

Before you can identify the source of your leak, you should first know the anatomy of your garbage disposal. Look underneath your sink. The garbage disposal unit connects to the underside of the sink via a flange. The flange is sealed with putty to prevent water from leaking out of the bottom of the sink. Coming out of the side of the garbage disposal, you should see two connections. The flexible hose runs to your dishwasher, while the pipe connects to your drain line.

Find the Source of the Leak

To find the source of the garbage disposal leak, you’ll need to start by drying the area under the sink as well as the garbage disposal itself. When everything is completely dry, do the following:

  1. Plug the hole in your sink that leads to your garbage disposal.
  2. Fill your sink with water.
  3. Take a look at the underside of the sink, above the garbage disposal. If the underside of the sink has begun to leak, this is an indication that the putty that seals the sink flange has begun to deteriorate. If everything is still dry, pull out the plug in the sink and let the water run from your sink into your garbage disposal.
  4. Watch for water droplets to form on or around your garbage disposal. If the rubber hose that connects to the dishwasher is dripping water, this is an indication that the hose is deteriorating or the clamp that connects the hose to the garbage disposal is not tight enough. If the drain line is leaking, this is likely because the rubber gasket that connects the drain line to the garbage disposal has begun to leak.

You may notice that the water isn’t coming out of a pipe or a hose, but from the garbage disposal itself. If this is the case, you likely need a new garbage disposal, as the garbage disposal is now cracked or broken in some way.


Once you’ve determined the source of your leak, you’ll need to do what you can to repair the problem.

  • Leaking sink flange: If your problem is a leaking sink flange, loosen the sink flange mounting bolts, lift the flange from the sink and insert new putty beneath the edge of the flange. When you’re done, put the sink flange back down onto the sink, wipe away the excess putty and tighten the bolts again. If this doesn’t work, you may need to remove the entire flange to clean off the old putty and start over.
  • Dishwasher hose: A leaking dishwasher hose can be fixed by tightening the clamp that connects the hose to the dishwasher. If this doesn’t work, the hose likely needs to be replaced.
  • Drain line: If you determine that the problem is a connection with the drain line, use a plumber’s wrench to tighten the connection. If this doesn’t work, the seal between the garbage disposal and the drain line may need to be replaced.
  • Garbage disposal: If the garbage disposal itself is leaking, then it’s time to get a new garbage disposal.

Terry’s Plumbing Can Help!

If you’re in need of a new garbage disposal, Terry’s Plumbing can help. We’re the plumbing experts in Pittsburgh! To make an appointment, contact us today at (412) 364-9114.