Have you noticed water dripping down under your sink whenever you use your garbage disposal? While catching these drops in a bucket is a good short-term solution, matters are only going to get worse if you don't figure out what's causing the leak. Here's a look at three common reasons why garbage disposals start leaking—and what you can do about them.
The Sink Flange Is Loose
Your garbage disposal sits in the flared opening at the bottom of the sink, which is known as the flange. It's meant to fit tightly within this flange, but if there's a little space and the connection is loose, water can seep through. To determine whether a leaking sink flange is to blame, empty your sink and dry it out. Then, pour some water into the sink while watching from beneath it. If you see drops coming from the very base of the sink where the garbage disposal is connected, you have a leaky flange.
Luckily, this is an issue you can fix yourself in the span of about 10 minutes. Use a wrench, and tighten each one of the bolts that connect the disposal to the sink. This should tighten the connection and eliminate leaks.
Your Dishwasher Hose Is Worn Out
The dishwasher hose typically feeds into the disposal just below the sink level. Usually, this hose is made from rubber, so it can develop cracks or dry rot, which lead to leaks. Watch the hose closely the next time you run the dishwasher. Do you see water seeping out of it anywhere? If so, wait until the dish cycle is over, and then disconnect the hose. Purchase one of the same size at your local hardware store. (They can cut it to the proper length for you). Reconnect it—this often just requires clamping it into a metal holder.
There's a Crack in Your Garbage Disposal
Run the garbage disposal, and watch beneath as it operates. If you see a little water seeping through a crack in its plastic casing, then unfortunately, your garbage disposal itself needs some repair or to be replaced. Unless you're very handy, it's best to have your local residential plumber come replace it. This way, you're not risking injuring yourself on the sharp blades. In the meantime, do not run your disposal. Doing so could make the crack larger, leading to much more extensive leaks and water damage.