A leaky garbage disposal is not only a hassle, it’s also a mess and can also result in other problems if left unfixed. If you’re inexperienced in home improvement work, diagnosing the source of the leak may seem like quite a challenge. Make your life easier with the help of the information below. Once you start eliminating each possible option on your checklist, you should be able to identify the problem quite quickly.


Release the old disposal from the mounting ring. At the top of the unit you should see a thin metal ring with 3 separate lugs, or protruding arms. Take hold of these lugs with one hand and twist the entire ring counterclockwise about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) to dislodge the old unit. Set it aside on a sheet of newspaper or unfolded rag to keep from making a mess.[4]

Some types of food remains are not easy to grind in a disposer. Do not put fibrous food items into your disposal. Help grind these items by putting in a few small bones or large ice cubes to the disposal. If the disposer won’t grind it up then turn off the disposer and remove the item with a pair of tongs. When using your disposer, make sure that the disposal is running with good water flow. Good water flow carries the waste down the drain line. Using too little water can create a clogged drain.
First, – and this may seem obvious, but- make sure the disposal is plugged in. With that said, let’s get to the bottom of this. If it is plugged in then press the reset button, which can be found on the bottom of the unit and is usually red. You should see the button popped out- press it. If that doesn’t work, make sure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and turned off in the electrical service panel. If the breaker has not tripped and the reset button is not popped out, then it could either be a damaged switch or a damaged unit all together. If the disposal will still not turn on and makes no noise, the garbage disposal is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Unless you have a solid background as an electrician, we really don’t recommend you try replacing the switch yourself. Give us a call at John Moore Services first and make sure you take the proper, safe steps.
Even though a leaking garbage disposal is a fairly simple fix, there can be a few factors that can complicate the process somewhat. For example, there are a few different places within the connection system that may spring a leak, so often the hardest part of fixing a leaking garbage disposal is trying to determine where the leak is coming from.Aside from the obvious connections, possible areas for leaks include water inlets and outlets as well as rings and seals.
Some other kinds of garbage disposal units are powered by water pressure, rather than electricity. Instead of the turntable and grind ring described above, this alternative design has a water-powered unit with an oscillating piston with blades attached to chop the waste into fine pieces.[27] Because of this cutting action, they can handle fibrous waste. Water-powered units take longer than electric ones for a given amount of waste and need fairly high water pressure to function properly.[citation needed]
First, – and this may seem obvious, but- make sure the disposal is plugged in. With that said, let’s get to the bottom of this. If it is plugged in then press the reset button, which can be found on the bottom of the unit and is usually red. You should see the button popped out- press it. If that doesn’t work, make sure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and turned off in the electrical service panel. If the breaker has not tripped and the reset button is not popped out, then it could either be a damaged switch or a damaged unit all together. If the disposal will still not turn on and makes no noise, the garbage disposal is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Unless you have a solid background as an electrician, we really don’t recommend you try replacing the switch yourself. Give us a call at John Moore Services first and make sure you take the proper, safe steps.
I've always had Insinkerator garbage disposals so I just didn't know any better but now I do. Simply put, this is truly the king of garbage disposals. The amount of power it has is ridiculous and it will tear through just about any food I've thrown at it. Now, I have been hesitant to test it with some tougher items (I've heard stories of people feeding it chicken and rib bones) because I was always taught to be careful what you put down the disposal (a cheap wimpy unit in a relative's shore house seizes up with unpopped corn kernels and their home unit clogged with shredded zucchini). I have given it some things like apple cores though with absolutely no problem. I never would have put an apple core down my old Insinkerator. This king eats the core in about 3-5 seconds, if that. Completely gone. The thing that absolutely astounds me about this unit though is how QUIET it is. It's almost ridiculous. My old one, and most everyone else's I've ever heard sounds like an electric chain saw. This one sounds like someone is humming. When people come over I run it form them just to show off how quiet it is. I know. I'm weird. Add to that a lifetime warranty and this thing just cannot be beat for the money. Google it yourself and you will see how many people agree that this is the best value disposal available. The cheap Insinkerators will normally run you about $80. It's not that much more to get one of these and the benefits for the small price increase are totally worth it. For 50% more you get way more than a 50% better disposal. Of course you could spend $350 on the Insinkerator Elite but is that one going to be 300% better. I doubt it. If you found this review helpful please click yes below.
To be prepared, measure the distance from the outlet to the top of each disposal before you remove the old unit. If the new unit’s outlet is lower, you must also lower the tee that the discharge pipe connects to. Loosen the two nuts that connect the tee to the tailpiece above and the trap below. Try lowering the tee to see if the tailpiece is long enough. If it’s not, you’ll have to replace it with one that’s slightly longer.
If your garbage disposal is not running, first check to see if it is plugged in and receiving power. If so then check to see whether it will turn freely with your service wrench. Most disposers are sent with a self service wrench. The wrench is silver and should be located on or near your garbage disposal. (Check under your sink!) If it will not turn freely using the wrench, the disposal is most likely jammed. Check to see if the reset button has popped out.
Dispose orange peels, or any citrus rinds, to freshen the disposal and keep it smelling clean, but cut them into slices first as large pieces of citrus peel, e.g. half a lime, can jam a disposal. You can also use pieces of citrus fruit that may be too old to consume, as long as they're not too spoiled to smell nice. You can freeze these pieces first, if you wish.
The premise behind the proper use of a disposer is to effectively regard food scraps as liquid (averaging 70% water, like human waste), and use existing infrastructure (underground sewers and wastewater treatment plants) for its management. Modern wastewater plants are effective at processing organic solids into fertilizer products (known as biosolids), with advanced facilities also capturing methane for energy production.[20][21]
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.
As I have mentioned, garbage disposers for most people are just another kitchen appliance that we tend to take for granted, and this is one of the reasons I decided to bring this website to the internet. I have come across many customers over the years that only seem to notice this “gadget” when it goes wrong, and believe it or not, most of the time they go wrong is because they’re not cared for properly.
Our testers found that differentiating features you'll typically see at the store may not deliver the durability they imply. We also found that some models with fewer features and a shorter warranty cost more than relatively similar competitors. Home garbage disposers typically last about 10 to 12 years, according to InSinkErator, though not all reach the decade mark. A longer warranty does not guarantee longer life and can also make some models cost more than otherwise-similar machines. Here are the garbage disposer features to consider:

However, homeowners are often cautioned against using caustic drain cleaners. Some professional plumber believe that it will not always remove clogs and may even be quite harmful. The caustic nature of this and similar products should be a cause for concern because aside from not really needing it, the ingredients known as lye or caustic soda can result in severe burns and may cause damage to the pipes.
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.
Update: As an aside, I also learned from my research that the best way to clean my disposal is to use citric acid. Having previously had no idea what citric acid was used for, I decided to order some from Amazon, going with the brand my sister uses: Citric Acid Powder - Ultra Fine Pure Powdered Crystals - Natural Preservative Food Grade Quality (16 oz) and gave it a whirl after 3 months of using my disposal. I let the citric acid sit with some water in the disposal for about ten minutes, and then I let it run for a solid 2 minutes. I repeated the procedure a few times and after about 30 minutes—wow, all the leftover gunk and food was flushed out of the disposal, leaving it clean with a very mild citrus scent. I feel like I’m becoming a real DIY at home kind of guy.
Most garbage disposals are sealed using plumber’s putty. You’ll need to detach the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty and reseal. Other types of disposals use only a flange that is tightened and compressed with screws. This may need to be replaced. Either way, this can be a big job if you don’t know what you’re doing (requires removing and replacing drain pipes, as well).

You’ll need to measure the new discharge tube to make sure it fits into the existing drain assembly. In our installation, the garbage disposer doesn’t use the discharge tube, but connects directly to the drain. If this isn’t a replacement project, you’ll need to tie in a drain assembly to the existing sink drain, which might take reconfiguring the drain. Be sure to reach the manufacturer’s instructions, and check out our Frequently Asked Questions section on this site for more information on how to do this, or visit your local independent home improvement retailer for the products and advice you’ll need for this step of the project.
This thing is exactly as everyone else has described. I, like many others, replaced an old ISE Badger with this unit, and it's heads and shoulders above in quality, function, quietness, etc. It grinds everything in seconds (as opposed to batting it around in the chamber for multiple cycles like the Badger). The original plumbing from the Badger lined right up and worked the first time. I'm very pleased with this item... although, there is one thing that I want to note; I read somewhere that if you use the EZ mount system that comes with it, you won't need plumber's putty - one can just use the gasket. This is true ONLY if using a flat lipped SS sink, and even then the rubber seal is optional as opposed to the putty (you can use only one, the putty or the seal with a SS sink, but not both). It's better said that you WILL need plumber's putty, and if you have a stainless steel sink, you have the option to use the thin rubber gasket (I'd use plumber's putty). Other than that minor detail (which made me take an unexpected run to our local hardware store), this unit is great. The one last thing I will say is around quietness. I've read some reviews that talk about how quiet or not quiet it is. I don't understand the desire to have an ultra-quiet garbage disposal. I mean, one needs to run water while the run the disposal, and a full-blast of the faucet going into a spinning basket creates a notable level of sound anyway, plus I want to be able to hear the load of the disposal so I can know when it's clear. This unit is by no means noisy, but I just don't see the desire to go ultra-quiet. Again, this big-boy Waste King is awesome.
Because it’s out of sight, it can be easy for some homeowners to forget they even have a garbage disposal — especially if it was installed by a  previous owner. However, an unused unit can rust and seize up, which can lead to leaks and mechanical problems. Make a habit of running your disposal for a minute or so every couple of weeks, even if you don’t actually grind anything.

Today, we are living in the modern world of light-speed schedules and convenience. Garbage disposals have become a time-saving, convenience. Though garbage disposals make disposing of foods a simple task, they often go overlooked or under appreciated. Nevertheless, when something goes wrong, we cannot fail to notice the foul smell coming from our garbage disposal units.
For any major issues with the garbage disposal, you should leave the job to a professional plumber only. Reaching your hand into the drain is dangerous, even if you believe the power is shut off. A plumber can help you evaluate the state of your disposal, and decide whether or not you need a new unit. Upgrading to a faster disposal unit with a higher horsepower can help to protect your pipes and make cleaning up after meals even easier.
If you misplaced your wrench that came with the unit, don’t worry. The store you got your unit from should have replacements for as little as $3 to $5. An Allen wrench will usually work well, too. Replacing the motor is the most costly repair for a disposal, so replacing the unit may be your best bet. If the disposal is jammed and won’t budge after using your wrench, turn it off and call us right away.
As a general rule of thumb, the heavier and bigger that a garbage disposal is, the more quietly it will operate – so long as it fits properly underneath your sink. Even though the sound dampening technology used in the design of garbage disposals has improved dramatically in the last 10 years, it is unrealistic to expect your garbage disposal to operate noise free. Under specific sinks, some disposals will be noisier than others due to the amount of vibration they produce. Ideally, you should look for a garbage disposal that features a nylon, insulated grinding chamber, like those produced by WasteKing.
Another method for cleaning and deodorizing your disposal unit is to sprinkle some baking soda in your unit and rinse it with about a cup of vinegar. This will create the bubbling “volcano effect” that kids love to watch so invite them in on this cleaning project. After allowing your mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, run hot water down the disposal until everything is thoroughly rinsed.

Some higher-end units have an automatic reversing jam clearing feature. By using a slightly more-complicated centrifugal starting switch, the split-phase motor rotates in the opposite direction from the previous run each time it is started. This can clear minor jams, but is claimed to be unnecessary by some manufacturers: Since the early sixties, many disposal units have utilized swivel impellers which make reversing unnecessary.[26]
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