A clogged garbage disposal unit can leak when you try to operate it without removing the clogging. What clogs up garbage disposals? Normally this would be expandable food like rice and pasta. Even large animal bones can also result in clogging and possible leak. Although coffee grounds help eliminate odors, allowing it to accumulate in the drain of the disposer will result in clogging and potential leak.
We hate to say it, but stoppages in garbage disposals are generally due to “operator error”. Either we have put too much in at one time or tried to force something through, smashing it with a spoon (there is that pesky spoon again!). Pasta, rice and salad are killers of garbage disposal drains and really need to be put down the drain in small amounts; if you put half a pot of rice in at the same time you definitely stand the change up plugging up the pipes under your sink.
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.
So I know next to nothing about buying a garbage disposal, for the past ten years I’ve lived in huge cities and haven’t had any room (or necessity for that matter) to purchase one. Having recently bought a house, all that has changed. From dishwasher to washer to dryer to garbage disposal, I’m having to educate myself about them and purchase them with informed decision making skills. Yikes.
If the unit is hardwired to the house then you have to use a screwdriver to remove the plate covering the wire connections on the disposal. Disconnect the exposed wires and then remove the plate covering the junction box on the wall. Untwist the wire caps securing the disposal wires to your home wires and set the disposal’s wires on the side. Twist the wire capes over the exposed wires in the junction box, put the wires into the junction box and reattach the junction box plate.
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While you were testing the red switch at the bottom of the unit, you may have noticed a small opening in the center. If the unit is clogged or humming, you can try to free up the unit by using the wrenchette (Hex-Torx key) that came with your unit or a 1/4 inch allen wrench. Simply place the wrench into the center hole and move it back and forth until the whatever is clogging your unit is dislodged. Once your unit is moving freely, turn it back on to test. If the unit still won't turn on, it may be necessary to take the unit apart.
If the source is not a connection from above then your disposal needs to be replaced. Try cupping your hands around the very top under the sink while running water. The ring that seals the gasket turns clockwise to tighten. The only other repairable leak would be where the piping comes out the side. There can also be a smaller dishwasher drain hose above that.
After you install the new sink flange, you don’t want it shifting around when you’re assembling the parts underneath. Movement of the flange could break the seal between the flange and the sink, inviting a leak. Your best bet is to ask a helper to press down on the sink flange, or if you’re working alone, find something to weigh it down, such as the old disposal. Place an old towel under the weight so you don’t scratch the sink. If the bottom of your sink is quite concave, the old disposal might not contact the flange. In that case, place a can on the flange, then weigh down the can.
With so many different models of garbage disposals to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which one will best suit your needs, especially when you begin looking at all of the different features each model has to offer. Reading garbage disposal reviews will be much easier if you know what you are looking for. Here is a glossary of common features found on most modern garbage disposals:
If your garbage disposal is making a clicking or rattling sound, there may be some food particles that will not grind up inside. Remove power from disposer, reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove anything that is still down in the disposer. Test your disposer to be sure the noise is gone. If not continue troubleshooting your disposer issue (see below).