Garbage Disposal Leaking From Flange (Causes & Quick Fix)

There are several reasons why garbage disposal leaks. However, if it leaks from the top, it is almost obvious that the flange is the cause. So, what causes garbage disposal to leak from the flange, and how can this be fixed?

The good news is that there are only two causes, so you don’t have to keep guessing the issue. The better news is that you can fix the problem without assistance, unless, of course, you need the assistance.

So, ready for all this and more exciting tips on handling a leaking garbage disposal flange? Then, let’s get on to it!

What Causes a Garbage Disposal to Leak from the Flange?

How To Replace A Garbage Disposal, ...
How To Replace A Garbage Disposal, Remove And Install

There are a couple of reasons why a garbage disposal leak from the flange, namely;

A Faulty Flange

The flange may rust over time, which causes it to be quite ineffective. For this reason, it causes a leak that is evident from the top of the sink.

Other than corrosion, the nuts and bolts holding the flange to the drain may be loose. The loose bolts will affect the contact between the garbage disposal drain and the flange, hence the leak.

Worn Out Plumber’s Putty

The plumber’s putty is necessary in keeping the flange in place. Therefore, when it is worn out after long use or is of lower quality, this will affect the position of the flange. When the flange is not tightly placed, it will cause leaking garbage disposal at the sink area.

How Do You Know That the Garbage Disposal is Leaking from the Flange?

When a garbage disposal leaks, this does not necessarily mean that the flange is the problem. It could be the gasket, the p-trap, or the u-trap. Or, it could be the flange. So, how do you determine that the flange is the challenge?

When the garbage disposal flange or plumber’s putty is the problem behind the leak, the leak will be at the top of the sink. This is the primary red light, and you can confirm it by checking the flange first.

Once you are sure that the flange needs fixing, determine where the challenge is to buy replacements if necessary. You may need a new tin of plumber’s putty, a new garbage disposal flange, or both.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Leaking from Flange

Here is a quick summary table on fixing the garbage disposal leak from the flange;

CauseSolution 
Corroded garbage disposal flangeReplace the garbage disposal flange
Loose bolts/ locking ringTighten the bolts/ locking ring
Worn out plumber’s puttyReplace the plumber’s putty

How Do You Tighten a Garbage Disposal Flange?

The garbage disposal will start leaking if either the bolts, nuts, or locking ring is loose. To solve this challenge, you will have to tighten it and tighten the garbage disposal flange in the process. So, how to tighten the garbage disposal flange?

You will need a flathead screwdriver, which fits perfectly with both the bolts and the locking ring. 

Then, place the screwdriver on the bolts or ring and rotate it in a clockwise manner. Finally, tighten the bolts or locking ring until you feel complete resistance.

Finally, you can let the water tap run to see whether you have sorted the leaking problem.

How Do You Replace a Garbage Disposal Flange?

When the flange is rusted, you have no option but to replace it with a new one. Can you replace the garbage disposal flange yourself? Of course, you can. Here is a Do It Yourself guide that you should consider;

Turn Off the Power and Clear the Way

First, ensure that you turn off the garbage disposal power for a smooth fixing procedure. Also, turn off the water during the flange fixing duration. Then, remove any removable objects underneath the sink, which could block your view or access to the flange.

Disconnect the Drain Pipe

Using a pipe screwdriver, loosen the drain pipe from the dishwasher. If the pipe is too dry, you can consider applying some lubricating oil to smoothen the process. Finish by pulling the pipe away from the flange.

Disengage the Garbage Disposal

At the top of the garbage disposal where it connects to the flange are three screws. Using the flathead screwdriver, loosen these screws and remove them. There is also a lock-nut connecting the two, which you should also unscrew and loosen. 

Finally, loosen the locking ring, which locks the garbage disposal to the flange. Ensure that you are holding the garbage disposal to prevent a fall on the ground, now that it is free. Keep it gently on the floor and continue with the next step.

Remove the Flange

Once the garbage disposal is out of the way, push the flange upwards towards the sink. Sometimes the flange is difficult to push, especially when the plumber’s putty is still intact. In this case, you can use your working screw to pull the flange from the top of the sink area.

Replace the Flange

Unwrap the new flange, then prepare the putty’s plumber. You can mold the putty into a ball, then into a long strap. Wrap the strap into a wavy line around the new flange.

From the sink top, put the flange into the sink, ensuring that the plumber’s putty stays in place. Then, apply pressure on the flange to ensure that it secures a stable position.

Re-Install the Garbage Disposal

Re-attach the garbage disposal to the flange, using the screws from the first flange. If they were also corroded, you could use new bolts as well. It would help if you were holding the garbage disposal all this while. 

Then, screw in the locking ring, and you can safely release the secure garbage disposal.

Put back the drainpipe, and ensure that it is stable to avoid another leak.

Test the New Garbage Disposal Flange

Now you can power on the garbage disposal. Then, allow water to run freely from the tap to the sink. Look out for leaks, and confirm that the new flange is stable and working.

Can You Reuse a Garbage Disposal Flange?

Yes, you can. If the garbage disposal flange is still in good condition and not corroded, you can re-install it. If you already bought a new flange and want to use it, you can keep the old flange well for future use. You never know when you might need it.

Is a Leaking Garbage Disposal Dangerous?

A leaking garbage disposal may or may not be dangerous. If you notice the leak early, it might not be much, and there may be no damage.

However, a serious or longer leak affects the stuff under the sink. It may even cause damage to the cabinets, which will cost you much for repair or replacement.

On top of that, someone may slip over the spilled water and garbage fluid, fall and hurt themselves. They could even break a bone in the process, which is quite dangerous.

Finally, remember that this is a garbage disposal, and the components are not your favorite smells. Therefore, over time, leaking garbage disposal causes a foul smell in the kitchen or house. While a foul smell is not dangerous, it is too uncomfortable to live with.

Should I Call a Technician to Check My Garbage Disposal Flange?

Well, you can always get a technician to check your garbage disposal flange if you can’t do it. However, the process is quite simple and easy to follow. So, if you aspire to do some fixing in your house on your own, sorting the garbage disposal flange is a perfect start.

Bottom Line

Garbage disposal leaking from flange? True, if the garbage disposal leaks from the top, it is most likely leaking from the flange. However, you can quickly identify the cause and correct it with this guide.

When the challenge is putty, you only have to replace it to solve the leak. When the flange is loose, tighten the bolts, and when it is corroded, replacing it has a quick DIY right above you.

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