A: A leaking garbage disposal often goes unnoticed until you confront a sopping cabinet, a foul-smelling puddle, or an audible drip-drip-drip from the unit. The fix can be frustrating, too, because the leak can stem from a number of components in the system. Fortunately, with a little sleuthing, you can zero in on the leak and—depending on the exact location—stop the icky oozing and repair the component that caused it. Worst case scenario, if it turns out that the garbage disposal must be replaced, installing a new one is a reasonable do-it-yourself task for those with basic plumbing skills. Read on to keep the cash you’d otherwise hand over to a pro.

I bought this two years ago when planning a kitchen remodel for our retirement home. Since I was doing the remodel myself, it took two years, working part time. During that period I managed to lose the instructions for this air switch. Thank you for providing them. Now I can install it on the front of my Ikea kitchen sink cabinet. When/if I ever am in a wheelchair or walker, I will still be able to easily reach the disposal switch. WARNING: If you have a toddler, mount this where they can't easily reach it and send a matchbox car down your sink disposal in an imaginary carwash.
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.
Your electrical supply wires should include a black (or hot) wire, a white (or neutral) wire and either a green or a bare wire, which is the ground wire. First remove the electrical cover plate on the bottom of the new disposer. Then move the new disposer into the cabinet. Screw the threaded end of the cable connector into the round hole on the bottom of the disposer. You’ll run your electrical supply wires through the cable connector and up through the access hole.
What's up with that scary loud noise when you turn it on? There are some reviews that make this sound like it is eating a spoon (a LOUD, disturbing, and/or startling snap or click noise, etc.). I have to say that was one of my biggest reservations when I ordered this thing, having read the reviews. A fairly large slice of reviewers commented negatively on it. Here's my take... The motor is 3/4 HP compared to my little dinky 1/3 HP motor on my old one. That is a lot more horsepower and, consequently, a lot more torque. The little "teeth" that do the waste grinding that sit in the base of the chamber spin freely. When you turn it on, the little grinders snap into place like how your head gets whipped back on one of those crazy spinning carnival rides. It's just from centrifugal force setting the blades into place. The fine print in the directions tell you that it is part of the anti-jam mechanism. It's not startling or even disconcerting to me or my wife. We didn't blink an eye. I couldn't scare my children by turning it on. It just makes a bit of a click when you turn it on. No biggie. Full disclosure here - ours is mounted to the bottom of a heavy, porcelain coated cast iron sink. Our sink may be better at handling the torque and may dampen the sound and vibration more than a thin stainless steel sink. Our sink weighs probably 75 pounds. A stainless steel sink weighs 7 pounds. A heavier sink can probably handle a garbage disposal operating under full load better than a flexible, lightweight sink. That's not why we got the sink but I think it's probably a benefit to damping sounds and vibrations.
If there is nothing visible clogging your disposal unit, the flip switch on your garbage disposal unit may have turned the unit off. This little red switch is located underneath your unit and protects against overheating and arcing situations. You can try pushing the red switch to reset the garbage disposal unit. Test your unit by turning it on. If it still won't turn on or makes a humming noise, unplug the unit or turn it off at the breaker box, and move to step 4.
Only put biodegradable food items in your garbage disposal. The number one rule when it comes to garbage disposals is to avoid putting anything down there which is not biodegradable. The garbage disposal is not a trash can, and using to get rid of unsuitable items is a recipe for disaster. You can minimize damage and cut down on cleaning time by only using the garbage disposal for biodegradable food items. Things you should avoid putting down there include:
The easiest way to apply that force is to squeeze them together using tongue-and-groove pliers, such as Channellocks. You’ll need medium or large pliers to do this. Unlike prying on the lower ring with a screwdriver or hex wrench-the method recommended in most instruction sheets-squeezing can’t disturb the position of the sink flange and cause it to leak. Plus, it’s easier on the wrists.

Physically remove lodged objects. If a large object has become lodged in your garbage disposal, you will need to remove it before proceeding with the cleaning process. First, it is important that you turn off the fuse that supplies power to the disposal unit. This is to ensure that it does not turn on during cleaning. Alternatively, you may be able to unplug it from under the sink, depending on the design.
I thought that this might be underpowered (my last one almost had double the power, after all), but it has plenty of power to eat through whatever you throw at it. I don't dump EVERYTHING down the drain, but it takes what I give it with no problems. And the last garbage disposal was loud and raucous--yes, raucous. But this one is a pleasure. When you flip the switch, it makes a reassuring hum. It sounds more like a fine piece of machinery than a couple of animals fighting to the death inside my sink (like my old disposer).

Running the garbage disposal without water or accidentally dropping items, such as flat wear or jewelry, can cause the disposal to jam. Food items, such as corn husks and potato skins, can also cause your disposal to jam. When the disposal motor jams, it can overheat quickly and cause the red button to pop from the bottom of the disposal. This stops the flow of electricity to protect the motor. When the reset button doesn’t work, you need to free the grinding plate or wall to release the jam.
The quick resolution of the Kuchino problem was covered favorably in the Russian media, but hardly represents a systemic response to the problem of municipal waste disposal. In fact, Putin’s recognition of what he called “the legitimate negative reaction of people” to widespread problems with trash disposal may have emboldened protesters near other landfills.
Garbage disposals first appeared in households in the 1930's and 1940's. These appliances, which are installed under a kitchen sink, can make a cook's life easier by trapping and shredding food waste items, allowing it to pass through the plumbing system. Although these popular appliances make cooking and cleaning much more convenient, they do require regular maintenance to keep them running at optimal performance. When it is time to replace your garbage disposal's blades, you can save time and money by doing it yourself.
Turn off the garbage disposal at the breaker box. Remove the drain pipe if it is leaking there. Most attachment clamps are wire clamps with two protruding wires that are pushed together to release the drain pipe. Push the wires together and remove the clamp. Pull the pipe off and inspect the seal for any debris that may have lodged between the seal and the pipe. Wipe the seal with a damp rag to remove any dirt, debris or food particles. Sometimes the wire clamp loses tension. In that case, tighten the hose clamp down in its place, which may secure the pipe leak-free.

While it certainly isn’t always necessary to replace your disposal just because you’re getting a new sink or updating your kitchen appliances, it may be a good time to do so, especially if your unit is over ten years old. Since you already have professionals on the site, it may be more cost efficient and convenient to go ahead and replace an older unit instead of waiting for it to fail at a future date.
Disposers range between $45 and $250, and most hold up fairly well under normal use. It's common for a $50, 1/3-hp disposer with a 1-year warranty to last 10 to 12 years. So what does more money buy? Increased longevity, longer warranties, more power and less aggravation. The better units have stainless steel components, auto-reversing starts and bigger motors. Units that reverse direction with each start greatly reduce stoppages, while larger motors can chew through larger and more varied food loads.
Reason Why It May Leak: When the rubber gasket gets old it can develop a leak. Long periods of disuse when there is no water in the drain and garbage disposal can cause the gasket to dry up and leak. If you remove an older garbage disposer for any reason and then put it back it may require a new rubber gasket to get a watertight seal again. Also, if the gasket is not locked evenly on all three sides then it will leak.
Disposals can leak at a couple different places. Start by turning off the disposal at its base. Then, find the disposal mount and remove the unit by turning it counterclockwise from the bottom. Once the disposal has been removed from the mount, you should be able to see the three mounting bolts. Tighten these bolts to make sure they’re not leaking.
Should your disposal suddenly cease to work, check its overload protection. A red button on the bottom of the disposal trips when the disposal becomes jammed or overloaded to prevent damage and motor burnout. Unplug the disposal, push the button and remove the jam. Some high-end models can sense a jam and will automatically reverse the direction of the blades.
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