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Home Care Library

Garbage Disposal

QUESTION FROM lstraughte

What is wrong with my garbage disposal: it leaks water from the base when water is draining, with or without the motor running?????


Dear lstraughte:

When you say that you have water leaking from the “base” of your garbage disposal, I assume that you mean where the garbage disposal connects to your sink?

Assuming that it is, then here’s how you can fix this leak:

1) Turn off power to the disposal at the electrical service panel, or completely unplug the unit.

2) Where the disposal mounts to the bottom of your sink, turn the disposal clockwise to loosen it, and then remove the unit from the mounting flange.

3) There will be three mounting bolts holding the flange on. Try to tighten these bolts. If they are loose, this could be the cause of your leak. But if they are already tight, then the leak may be caused by failed plumber’s putty that is there to seal this flange. Therefore, loosen the bolts and push the sink flange slightly above the surface of the sink. Squeeze some plumber’s putty between the sink flange and the sink, completely around the flange. When done, then tighten the mounting bolts drawing the sink flange tight to the sink surface. Wipe away any excess putty that oozes out.

4) Reinstall the disposal and turn power back on at the service panel.

5) Check for leaks.

Hope this is helpful.


I have water leaking from the bottom of my garbage disposal it seems to be coming through the motor and out the bottom holes of the disposal any ideas?


Dear Dan:

If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom through the motor, then the problem is likely that it is leaking through the flywheel seal and into the motor.

If you can, remove the garbage disposer from the drain system, disassemble the unit and replace the seal, or take the unit in for service.

Remember to DISCONNECT THE POWER before doing any work around your garbage disposal. And course never put your fingers inside the unit. Even when the unit is turned off, the blades can be very sharp.

Hope this is helpful.


The flywheel seal on our Insinkerator Badger 1 needs to be replaced. Water is leaking through the motor and out the bottom in three places. I removed the unit, but can't figure out how to disassemble the disposal. How do I separate the top unit from the motor housing in order to get at the seal?


Dear Brett:

Here is a link to a schematic drawing that shows how an Insinkerator Badger 5 garbage disposal is assembled (hopefully this is similar to a Badger 1):

It shows where the thru bolts are for the enclosure assembly (code #11 on the drawing). Have you already tried to undo these bolts?


I removed the four thru bolts. But there are two problems remaining: 1) looks like I need to remove the nut that holds the drive shaft that turns the flywheel, and 2) even with the thru bolts removed, the unit still has a strong seal around the the entire outside seam between the motor housing and upper unit. It may be glued

Is the nut holding the flywheel onto the drive shaft regular or reverse thread? I can't get it to move either way with any amount of exertion.

THX for your help.



The problem with disassembling a garbage disposal is that many units are not designed to be serviceable. In other words, it's more cost effective to just replace them when they fail, rather than take them apart and replacing individual internal parts (and then only to find that 6 month later, some other part of it fails!)

Here is the toll-free phone number for Insinkerator: 1-800-558-5700

You could call them and ask:

1) How to break the seal in the casing? Does it need some light raps with a rubber mallet? Or is it held with nut on the shaft?

2) If it is the nut on the shaft, yes, is it left-hand or right-hand thread?

3) Do they recommend repairing the unit (given its age), or replacing it entirely (although, you've already got it this far)? And just to confirm that they actually sell the replacement parts.

Hope this is helpful.


I hope you can help. I noticed that water is leaking out the very bottom of the garbage disposal. I did some research and it seems the seal might need to be replaced. Strange thing is, it only leaks when the washing machine is running. Turning on water in the faucet and letting it run does not cause the leaking to occur. Only when the washing machine runs does it begin to leak. Is this natural or should I be looking for something different?



Dear Mickey:

From what you've described, it sound like you have your washing machine and garbage disposal both connected to the same drain system. What could be happening is that if this drain is partially clogged then the high volume of water flow/pressure going into the drain from the washing machine discharge could be causing the water to back up into your garbage disposal unit, where is it able to leak out where the flange is not tight. And then when you are just running the sink by itself, the smaller volume of water is able to make it through the partially clogged drain, which is why you don't see the leak when you are just running the sink/disposal and not the washer.

Hope this is helpful.


Last night I discovered water under my sink and all over the cabinent floor after finishing the dishes. When I run water into the sink the water goes straight down and comes out from the bottom of my garbage disposal. The bolt/screw is not connected and water comes from that area and the red reset button and the 2 holes adjacent to one another. Is this repairable or do I have to replace the whole unit?


Dear Tina:

If the leakage is from underneath the garbage disposal, it is probably leaking through the flywheel seal and into the motor. In this case, you will need to remove the garbage disposal from the drain system. You would then need to disassemble the unit and replace the seal, or you can take the entire unit in for service. Depending on the cost, you might want to consider replacing the entire unit rather than having it serviced.

Hope this is helpful.

Garbage Disposal