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Troubleshooting a Clogged Or Leaking Garbage Disposer

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Clogged garbage disposer

When the side of the sink with the garbage disposer is clogged or draining slow, while the other side of the sink is fine the problem is likely in the drain pipe connected to the garbage disposer. If running the garbage disposer does not clear the drain then you will have to disconnect the drain to clear the clog.

 

Unclog a garbage disposer:
  1. Start by removing the trap. Place a container under the drain pipes to catch water and then disconnect the trap. Then disconnect the continuous waste pipe. You should find the clog between the continuous waste and the garbage disposer elbow. Remove the disposer elbow if necessary to clear the stoppage.
  2. Put the drain pipe back the way it was making sure to tighten all the nuts. Test both sides of the drain with water then fill the sink up and test it with the garbage disposer running.
Leaking garbage disposer

When you have a leaky garbage disposer start by pinpointing the source of the leak first. Get some good light under the garbage disposer and verify the spot where it is leaking. It can be difficult to locate the source of the leak sometimes but this is very important when troubleshooting a garbage disposer.

Repair a leaky garbage disposer:

  1. If the garbage disposer is leaking from the very top rim where it mounts to the sink this could be the big rubber seal on top on the garbage disposer. This seal can be easily replaced. You can find the rubber disposer seals at a local hardware or home improvement store.
  2. A leak in the upper area of the garbage disposer could also be the garbage disposer flange which goes through the sink. This should be sealed with putty then tightened from underneath the sink. If this is not tight enough or if it has managed to come loose (which can happen) then the garbage disposer will have to be taken down and the flange resealed and then the garbage disposer rehung.
  3. Make sure the leak is not just from the drains under the sink. Just because it only leaks when the garbage disposer is turned on it doesn’t mean it is the garbage disposer leaking. The extra pressure from the garbage disposer could be making one of the other fittings under the sink leak.
  4. A leak can also come from the sides or even the bottom of the garbage disposer unit. Look for signs of rust around the outside of the garbage disposer when looking at it from underneath. On older units there could even be large holes where the housing has corroded. If the disposer is corroded and leaking it is time to shop for a new garbage disposer because there is no way to repair it.
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