How to Handle a Leaking Garbage Disposal Unit

If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to miss the earliest signs of a leaking garbage disposal. There may be some minor wet areas in the under sink cabinets that you need to wipe away. But, they tend to reappear regularly, and eventually, you may notice a musty and moldy odor. Over time, this partially hidden leak will cause a lot of water damage in the kitchen, and this type of damage is expensive to fix. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can handle this problem.

Why is the Garbage Disposal Leaking?

This is a tricky question to answer if you have no DIY skills, but even if you can unclog a kitchen sink, it’s a challenge to figure out the cause. When the garbage disposal is leaking, the cause is often one of the following three parts that are loose or failing:

1.   A Loose Hose Connection

If the leaks occur when the dishwasher drains, the source of the problem may be the shared drain connection. The metal clamps that hold the disposal drain line in place can work loose, and they need to be replaced or tightened. Another possible cause is a failing rubber gasket in the drain line that will require replacement.

2.   A Leaky Sink Flange

There should be a layer of plumbers putty around the sink flange to mount that hardware to the space between the sink and garbage disposal. If the putty is old and cracked or the supporting bolts have failed, this can cause leaks in that area.

  1. The Garbage Disposal is Cracked

If the water is dripping out of the bottom of the garbage disposal, this means that the interior seals around the motor and reset button are cracked. If the basket is cracked, this is a relatively simple repair, but in many cases, a replacement will be required.

Can I Fix the Water Damage?

A leaking garbage disposal can cause a lot of water damage in the kitchen in a relatively short period of time. Fast action is needed to limit the extent of this damage, and following these ten steps is advisable:

  1. Shut-off the main water supply valve.
  2. Remove the standing water with a mop.
  3. Assess the damage.
  4. Increase air circulation with fans to speed up the drying process.
  5. Clean and sanitize the affected floors, baseboards, and other surfaces.
  6. Check the drywall for water wicking at the base.
  7. Empty, clean, and sanitize low kitchen cabinets.
  8. Contact the local certified plumber for the garbage disposal repair.
  9. Consider remedial services to deal with the water damage.
  10. Run the fans and keep the windows open whenever possible for up to three days to dry the kitchen completely.

In Conclusion

If you notice an obvious water leak, place a bucket or other large receptacle underneath to prevent further water damage. If the cause is not obvious and/or you don’t feel confident fixing the problem, contact your local certified plumber, and they can resolve the underlying issue.