So, your garbage disposal is leaking and you don’t want to call the plumber. Of all the things that can leak in your house, the garbage disposal definitely isn’t the worst. Many people who enjoy tackling DIY projects can fix this problem without too much effort or purchasing a bunch of specialized tools. We’ve posted this tutorial to help you solve this problem in your own home.
FYI: garbage disposals connect to the sink and pipes in various places and leaks can occur at all connections, so we’ve divided this post into separate tutorials to help you with different types of leaks you may encounter.
Leak at the Sink Flange
Leaks at the sink flange generally occur because the plumber’s putty that seals the sink flange has begun to disintegrate. To fix the problem, replace the plumber’s putty.
Garbage disposal wrench
Unplug the garbage disposal.
Disconnect the garbage disposal from the connecting pipes. You may need a wrench to loosen the joints, or you may be able to turn them by hand.
Insert the garbage disposal wrench into the holes at the connecting piece where the unit connects to the sink flange. Use the wrench to turn the connecting piece until it disconnects from the sink flange, then remove the garbage disposal.
Remove the sink flange. You’ll probably need a screw driver to remove the screws that hold the sink flange and garbage disposal connector together.
Wipe away the old plumber’s putty from the bottom of the sink flange. It should crumble away with little effort.
Cover the bottom of the sink flange with fresh plumber’s putty.
Replace the sink flange so that the words on the flange are facing the right direction.
Push down on the flange so that excess plumber’s putty is squeezed out the sides. Be careful not to push the flange down too far, because you’ll want to have some plumber’s putty left around the flange to create the seal.
Wipe away any plumber’s putty from the sides of the flange.
Reattach the garbage disposal, and then reattach the connecting pipes. This process will be the reverse of the process you used to disconnect the garbage disposal.
Plug the garbage disposal back in.
For a visual reference, take a look at this video online:
Leaks at Other Connections
Sometimes leaks occur at the connecting pipes–either the pipe that connects the garbage disposal to the dishwasher, or the pipe that connects the garbage disposal to the drain. This is often an easy fix, requiring little more than tightening the connection between pipes. In fact, the most difficult part of this problem can be identifying the exact connection where the leak is occurring.
Run the water in the sink, then bend down and watch the pipe that connects the garbage disposal to the drain. If you see no evidence of a leak occurring at this location, turn off the water in the sink and run the dishwasher. Watch the hose that connects the garbage disposal to the dishwasher for drops of water.
Use a screw driver to tighten the connection between the garbage disposal and the leaking pipe or hose.
Run the water or dishwasher again and watch once more for leaks, to see if you’ve tightened the connectors well enough.
This process has been documented on this YouTube video:
If you’re unable to fix your leaking garbage disposal personally, it may not be the garbage disposal that’s leaking at all. Either way, if you’re a resident of the Pittsburgh area, we encourage you to call Terry’s Plumbing, to repair all your leaks and other plumbing issues.