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How To Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

Waste Disposal Leak Under A Sink

Garbage disposal systems are designed to pulverize food waste so you can flush it down the sink and any water you use. Aside from adding this feature, garbage disposal systems leave kitchen plumbing relatively unchanged. So all of your pipes and tubes should work as they usually would.

A leaking garbage disposal should be a sign that something’s amiss. Proper resolution should help you stop the dripping mess from getting any worse. So what causes a leaking garbage disposal, and how do you fix it?

Here are some possible explanations.

  • Check that all its bolts and connections are tight and secure.
  • Replace any worn plumber’s putty.
  • If the unit is old and its rubber seals are worn, you might have to consider buying a replacement.
  • Call a professional if you need to replace your garbage disposal unit.

Your garbage disposal shouldn’t get in the way of proper plumbing and draining. So if it starts to leak, you should know that something’s not right. Fixing the issue as soon as you discover it should help prevent possible complications and expensive repairs.

How To Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal


See to it that the power is shut off. Garbage disposal systems use sharp blades that can easily lacerate your hands and limbs.

Therefore it isn’t enough to turn off the garbage disposal with its power switch. Cut the main switch in your circuit breaker and inform others in your home that you’ve turned it off to prevent someone from accidentally turning on the power as you work.

1. Tighten Any Loose Parts

A Plumber Laying Under A House Hold Sink Working On A Garbage Disposal.

The first and most obvious solution would be to tighten any loose parts. Remember that your garbage disposal moves fairly aggressively, causing vibrations and shaking as it crushes food into fine particles. This movement can loosen various parts over time, causing leaks as they become more pronounced.

Open the cabinets concealing your garbage disposal system and tighten any bolts you find. Check the mounting bolts that connect the garbage disposal to your drain, and make sure they’re tight.

2. Restore Worn Plumber’s Putty

Hand Holding Plumber's Putty,

For some parts of your garbage disposal system, like the flange, use some plumber’s putty to secure parts and close up gaps and cracks in the design. Inspect the plumber’s putty to ensure it’s properly applied and not worn away.

In case it is, you can reapply the plumber’s putty to the necessary parts. Give the newly applied layer a little time to partially dry up before you start using your sink and garbage disposal again.

3. Know When It’s Time To Replace

Male Worker Installing A New Disposer

Like any other appliance or electronic, garbage disposal systems have their limits. Sometimes, the system will start to leak when the various rubber seals that hold its layers together begin to wear away. While it is possible to call a professional to repair or replace these seals, replacing the entire unit is often better.

If you’ve got an old garbage disposal system installed, consider calling a plumber to give it a look and determine whether it’s time for a replacement.


Waste Disposal Leak Under A Sink, Broken Garbage Chopper

Your garbage disposal system shouldn’t get in the way of proper draining. So if a leak appears, you should know it’s time to act. Most of the time, a little plumber’s putty and some tightening should be all your garbage disposal system requires.

But if it’s gotten a little old and its rubber parts have worn away, you might consider switching it out for a newer unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Years Does a Garbage Disposal System Last?

It depends on the make and model. But most manufacturers recommend replacing their garbage disposal system after 10 years.

A good basis for when you should replace your garbage disposal system is by checking its warranty. Once the coverage has expired, you can start considering a replacement.

What Is the Best Sealant for a Sink Waste System?

Silicone caulk is the best way to go. While there aren’t necessarily any brand preferences, you will want to find a product that lets you use your sink even after just a few minutes from the application. This prevents any interruptions to your usual kitchen usage.

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