Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking?

Published: 23rd June 2010
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We've all been there - you are running your garbage disposal and something doesn't seem right. When you open up the cabinet below the disposal - you spot a puddle on the floor. A leak garbage disposal can cause a big mess under your sink while it encourages mold and mildew growth. There is no need to call a plumbing contractor right away, instead here are a few plumbing repairs you can try at home.

Start searching for the leak by turning on your garbage disposal. Get the water running, flip on the disposal and look under the sink; you will likely spot the leak's origin pretty quickly. There are a few common places your garbage disposal will leak - around the sink flange, at the connection with the dishwasher, at the discharge drainpipe, or from the disposal itself.

Sink Flange

The sink flange is the place where the disposal fits into the sink. When looking at the running disposal, you will see the leak under the sink and at the place where the sink and disposal connect.

If this is your leak, turn off the power to the disposal at the electric service panel or circuit breaker. Turn the disposal clockwise at the mount to loosen and remove the unit from the mounting flange. Once the unit is removed, tighten the three mounting bolts.

If the leak persists, you may need to replace the plumber's putty. In this case, loosen the bolts and push the sink flange above the sink's surface. Force new plumber's putty between the sink flange and the sink surface. Tighten the mounting bolts and screw the sink flange tight to the sink's surface. The putty will ooze out, so be prepared to wipe it away. Reinstall your disposal and turn the power back on to the unit.

Dishwasher Connection

The dishwasher connection is attached to the side of the disposal, a few inches below the sink. If you find a leak here, it is most likely coming from the hose between the dishwasher and the disposal. Tighten a clamp on the hose and look for cracks, splits or leaks. Consider replace the hose if you see any kind of dry rot, as this is likely the problem.

Discharge Drainpipe

The discharge drainpipe is another big garbage disposal plumbing problem. Make sure the bolts holding the discharge pipe to the disposal are tight. Any loose bolts can cause a leak. If the bolts are tight and you still see a leak, remove the bolts and pipes to replace the gasket. Once the new gasket is in place, reinstall the bolts and tighten - just be sure you do not make them too tight or you could cause more problems.


In some cases, the disposal itself will leak. If you notice water coming from the actual disposal, it is time to get a new one! You can take it apart and replace the gaskets, but this will only be a temporary plumbing repair; other parts of the unit will start to go soon. Be familiar with your pipe connections and garbage disposal type before visiting a plumbing supply store. There are a number of differences from machine to machine, so be sure you know your needs before going shopping!

If you are unsure where your leak is coming from or don't feel comfortable digging around under the sink, call the plumbing experts! They will be happy to stop by and get your disposal running properly.

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