Some jams you can free and get the motor to spin and sound like it is working, but the blades are stuck in one position and can’t spin freely to do their job properly. This is very common problem – the motor works so we think everything is working. Not the case! This can lead to stoppages, food trapped in the disposal and a bad smell. These blades can’t be repaired. The disposal needs to be replaced.
If the disposal’s still leaking, loosen the mounting bolts and push the sink flange up until it’s slightly higher than the surface of the sink. Apply fresh plumber’s putty to the threshold between the flange and the sink. When you’ve applied enough, re-attach the unit by putting the bolts back and tightening. Wipe away excess putty that squeezed out. Finish re-installing by replacing the disposal unit on the mount. Turn the disposal back on and look for leaks.
Proper use of a garbage disposal can stave off future leaks. So remember to grind only soft foods; hard items such as bones, apple cores, or raw potatoes can dislodge or damage the internal seals. Run cold water through the sink drain before and after food disposal to keep solid fats from congealing into gunk (which can deteriorate the sink flange and cause leaks). Finally, inspect your disposal for leaks—at least twice a year using the dyed-water test—to catch and repair minor leaks before they lead to water-damaged sink cabinets or kitchen floors.
Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.