A pool of water underneath your kitchen sink is not a sight you ever want to see. But leaks can happen, and sometimes the problem is not as big as you think. It’s important to find the source of the leak, then you can find the proper solution for you.
How to Diagnose a Garbage Disposal Leak
It takes a few basic steps to identify the source of a garbage disposal leak, but this part is crucial in determining what you need to repair. Before you start, make sure you unplug the electric cord of the garbage disposal, since water damage can make it dangerous. Once it’s disconnected, use a sink stopper to keep water from draining, and wipe dry the unit below.
You can do the leak test with simple water, but it can be easier to detect the leak when using colored water. You can use a few drops of food coloring to dye a potful of water. Get a flashlight and a light-colored rag closeby, then move on to the next step. Pour the water into the sink and then remove the sink stopper.
Carefully look below and watch for any leaks. If it’s one of those barely noticeable leaks that just leave smelly puddles underneath your kitchen, the light-colored rag will come in handy. Wipe the drain unit, the seals of the sink, and other areas and see where the colored water shows up on the rag.
Once you know where the leak is coming from, it’s time to move on to the repairing.
DIY or Call the Pros?
This depends on how bad the damage is. In most cases, tightening a few screws will do the trick.
If the leak is coming from the sink flange, try fixing it first by tightening the screws. If this doesn’t help, then the old plumber’s putty might not seal the drain properly. In this case, it’s time to disassemble the pipes, scrape off the old putty and apply a new one, according to the instructions of the package.
If the leak is coming from the dishwasher drain hose, you must find out if the hose is damaged or just loose. A broken, cracked hose should be replaced with a new one, but if it’s just a bit lose, then you can solve it by tightening it back in place.
If the leak seems to come from the disposal unit itself, it might not be cost-effective or worth the effort of repairing it. Buying a new garbage disposal system might be your best option, in this case.
As you can see, plumbing fixes can be done at home with some basic skills and tools. But it’s just as true that incorrectly assessing a problem or fixing it with no knowledge brings the risk of future damage or even bigger problems. When you’re not sure, call the professionals.