Why is Water Leaking Out Of The Bottom Of My Garbage Disposal?

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So, you’ve noticed water under your kitchen sink that seems to be coming out of your garbage disposal?

Here’s some things you should know:

The leak could be coming from multiple places on your disposal

While the water draining from your disposal may look like it’s coming out right from the
bottom, sometimes that’s not the case.

The leak could be coming from one of 4 common areas. on your garbage disposal, as pictured here:

Garbage Disposal in a Lake Havasu City home
  1. The sink flange — where the sink and the disposal unit directly connect
  2. The dishwasher hose — where the hose and the disposal connect
  3. The drain — where the drainage pipe and the disposal connect
  4. The bottom — water actually draining from the very bottom of the disposal

The easiest way to find the source of the leak

The best way to discover the actual source of the leak is simple. You can do it yourself without the need for too many tools. Just follow these steps:
  1. Unplug your garbage disposal. If the area around the electrical socket is in any way damp, turn off the breaker for that section of the house beforehand. Don’t risk getting shocked.
  2. Remove everything from under the sink and place a bucket, deep-bottom pan, or small trash can underneath the disposal to catch any water that may come out. No sense cleaning up twice.
  3. Get the plug for your sink and place it in the drain.
  4. Fill the sink with water until it’s a little less than halfway full (not even close to a majority of this will be coming out of the leak, don’t worry). Then, place a few drops of food coloring in the water. The color doesn’t matter, just so long as it makes the water stand out against the black of your disposal unit.
  5. Observe if there are any leaks coming from under the sink. If there are, you’ve found the problem: the sink flange.
  6. If there are no visible leaks, remove the plug from the sink and use a flashlight to observe where the water is coming from (checking the 4 places in the image above).
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The source of the leak usually determines how bad the problem is

Based on the location of the leak, here’s the usual problem and fix:

Sink flange (1)

Likely problem: If the leak is visible before you unplug the drain, it usually means the seal between the sink and disposal has broken.

Fix: You need to detach the disposal from the sink, remove the plumber’s putty and then reseal the flange.

Dishwasher hose (2) or drain line (3)

Likely problem: The seal between the disposal and one of these lines is likely broken.

Fix: You’ll need to replace the seal. This will vary depending on the disposal unit you have and the plumbing in your home.

Bottom of disposal (4)

Likely problem: Broken seals inside of the garbage disposal itself.

Fix: You can replace the seals inside of the disposal. However, if one is broken now, it won’t be long before another wears out and needs to be replaced. So it’s usually more economical and easier to replace the garbage disposal.

Fix the leak with just one click

Want a trusted plumber to take care of the problem? Pitzer’s Benjamin Franklin Plumbing can help. Whether you need a plumber in Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Bullhead City, Prescott Valley or elsewhere in Arizona, give us a call!

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