Leaky garbage disposal is not only inconvenient, but it is also a problem that can lead to other issues if left unaddressed. If you’re new to home improvement projects, identifying the cause of the leak can be difficult. Make your life a lot easier by using the information provided below.
How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?
The garbage disposal is the cylindrical unit that is placed under the kitchen sink. It is primarily made up of the hopper chamber, which is separated into two sections: the upper chamber and the lower chamber.
But first, let’s take a look at the upper chamber. The food waste is collected in the hollow section before being shred by the flywheel and shredder ring below.
The finer food particles then enter the lower hopper chamber, which is lined with insulation and houses the engine. They then exit through the drain pipe and into the sewers after passing through one section of the lower chamber.
You’ll see a power cord linking the garbage disposal to a regular wall or floor socket. This is what drives your garbage disposal’s motor as well as the processes that allow for proper food waste disposal.
What Causes a Leak?
The most likely cause of a leak from the reset button is a damaged internal seal. The seal is what keeps your unit’s motor protected. It will no longer do its purpose once it has broken. This leads the garbage disposal to deteriorate over time, resulting in drips from the bottom.
In short, a leaking bottom is caused by natural wear and tear. It means that your garbage disposal is nearing the end of its useful period if it hasn’t already.
If you don’t want to waste money on the new garbage disposal, at least not right now, you can unplug it, disassemble it, repair the crack, and reconnect it. If all goes well, you should be able to use the machine again. It should be noted that this is just a temporary solution. At the end of the day, buying a new unit would save you more money.
How to Find the Source of the Leak
It doesn’t take long to figure out if it’s leaking, at least in most cases. The presence of moisture within the cabinets under the sink is the most telling sign of a leak. So, every time you take out the garbage or pick up a couple of kitchen tools, take a closer look.
If the inside of the cabinets is damp and soggy, the moisture is most likely the result of a leaking garbage disposal unit.
Finding the cause of the leak is where things get a bit complicated. However, understanding the four most important sources of leaks is beneficial.
These four common places are:
- Sink flange
- Dishwasher hose
- Drain line
- Bottom of the garbage disposal
Here are the steps to finding the source of a leak:
- Remove the plug from your garbage disposal. Examine the socket for evidence of moisture. If you see any, turn off the disposal’s breaker.
- Remove everything from under the sink and put a bucket or a large tray there to collect the dripping water whilst the repair is being done.
- Make a tight seal across the sink drain.
- Pour water into the sink until it is almost half-full. Pour a few drops of food coloring into the water.
- Examine the sink flange, the dishwater hose, the drain, and the garbage disposal’s bottom for any leaks.
Leaky Garbage Disposal Solutions
One of the most common causes of a leaky sink is the sink flange. This is more likely so when the leak seems to be starting from the disposal’s bottom. A flange connects your disposal to your sink. Plumber’s putty is often used instead of or in conjunction with the flange. The seal may become corroded over time, causing substantial loosening. You will often loosen the seal by hitting the garbage disposal when doing another job.
In this case, resealing the garbage disposal is the best option. Once you’ve removed your garbage disposal, you’ll want to start scraping the old putty. You can then reseal the container. If your disposal just uses the flange and a few screws, it may need to be replaced. For this project, you will need to remove and replace the drain pipes. It can get complicated, so you may want to hire a professional.
Another notable culprit to be on the lookout for our drain lines. This common leak area can occur when these drain lines are connected. The smaller hose is the feature of your disposal that drains water from your dishwasher. The bigger pipe you’ll see lower down is the drain that connects your garbage disposal to the sewer. As you would imagine, it is not hard for this area to become troublesome.
The solution is a simple enough fix. You may simply tighten the connections or get them fully resealed. A metal clamp can connect your dishwasher to your disposal. The problem can be solved by simply tightening the clamp with a screwdriver. If that doesn’t work, you might need to tighten the screws that connect your main drain line. On the inside, there is also a rubber gasket. This piece may need to be replaced. In certain situations, you may need to replace the rubber gasket in addition to tightening the screws.
How To Use A Garbage Disposal Properly and Avoid Problems
Here are the precautions you must take to ensure that your garbage disposal lasts longer.
1. Clean the Disposal’s Interior Regularly
To begin with, cleaning the interior of your disposal unit is an excellent way to clear clogs, keep your unit tidy, and avoid wear and tear. Scrub the interior of the unit with a bottle cleaner at least once a week.
2. Use Cold Water
Garbage disposal units and hot water do not mix. This is due to the fact that hot water tends to melt food, allowing the resultant sludge to cling to the sides and ultimately cause clogs.
Coldwater, on the other hand, hardens the food, causing the garbage disposal’s blades to quickly break it up into tiny pieces that are more palatable to your drain pipes.
3. Throw Some Citrus in There for Good Measure
Citrus fruits will help you get rid of waste, minimize grease, and get rid of odors. So, do your garbage disposal a favor by tossing in some orange, lemon, or lime.
4. Use Your Garbage Disposal Regularly
A garbage disposal system is just like the human body. To stay in shape, it requires regular physical exercise. Long periods of inactivity can cause your garbage disposal to freeze, rust, or corrode, especially the blades and motor. Which causes the food to harden and get stuck, emitting foul odors.
So make use of it on a daily basis. And if you don’t have a legitimate excuse to use it, turn it on every few days.