Can I use my dishwasher if my garbage disposal is leaking?

Issues with the sink, dishwasher, or toilet are all intimidating issues. Here is what you need to know if your garbage disposal is leaking!

Many dishwashers can run just fine even if the garbage disposal is malfunctioning. A lot of newer dishwashers are not connected to the disposal in any way and a broken or leaking disposal will not affect the dishwasher’s efficiency.

Before you run your dishwasher, make sure you know whether or not your disposal needs fixing. Here are a few tips.

Dishwashers/Disposals and how they work

Oftentimes, some will assume that when the garbage disposal is broken, the dishwasher is also broken. This is a very common misconception that a lot of people have. If your garbage disposal is broken, chances are the dishwasher is totally fine and will run fine for the most part. The bad news is, a broken garbage disposal can and will affect drainage. If unchecked for too long, the problem can escalate into something far more disastrous and expensive so get your garbage disposal fixed as soon as possible. If you are unable to get a new disposal right away, you can still run the dishwasher when necessary, as long as you are extra vigilant in scraping as much food as possible into the garbage before loading the dishwasher.

The disposal and dishwasher are connected to the same pipe and although the dishwasher may run fine, food and gristle stuck in the disposal will remain inside the pipe and prevent the water and waste from draining properly. The body of the dishwasher holds many of the interior parts of the disposal’s system including the motor (the motor controls the impeller blades).

The impeller blades crush food and waste into tiny tiny pieces which are then drained out through the pipe with the water. If, for any reason, you need to restart the disposal, the button is located on the bottom under the sink. If the button is not working, check the electric circuit or breaker box. If that too fails, consider getting your garbage disposal checked by a professional.

Disposal maintenance

Obviously if your garbage disposal is having severe and constant issues, you should probably hire an electrician or plumber or both to help you figure out what the problem is. However, if the problem is on a smaller scale, there is a high chance that you will be able to fix it yourself which will undoubtedly save you money. First, here are a few things to do and not to do in order to keep your disposal working at optimal performance.

When loading the dishwasher, always ALWAYS rinse your dishes thoroughly before putting them in. The dishwasher does not work the same way as a garbage disposal does and it will not dispose of leftover food. If too much food is put into the dishwasher, it will clog the pipes. You also will want to avoid putting hard foods like raw rice or bones down the drain. These things will wear down the blades more quickly and could even break holes in the pipe.

When using the garbage disposal, always rinse with cold water. This will keep the disposal clean and well-functioning. Additionally, cold water prevents the disposal from overheating too often which can actually extend its shelf life!

A common issue with garbage disposals is leaking. This can be caused by a series of things including worn out gaskets, a leaky sink flange, loose drain lines, loose seals and/or pipes, cracked body, or a leaking reset button. Any of these problems is easily easily remedied. For leaky gasket all you really need to do is buy replacements. Replacing them isn’t terribly difficult, but if you are not handy, you may want to call a friend or a professional. A flange will need to be removed from the disposal and inspected for leaks. Remove the putty from the top of the previous flange and clean that area with a warm cloth. You will need to buy new putty and a new flange.

If your pipes are leaking, they either need to be tightened or replaced. Tightening the pipes can ensure fewer leakages around the pipe connections. If the pipe has been punctured, however, you will either need to seal it or replace the pipe. If the disposal’s body is cracked, this is likely the result of people knocking and bumping into it when they retrieve items from underneath the sink. In this instance, purchasing a new disposal will probably be necessary.

Dishwasher maintenance

Taking care of the dishwasher is just as important as taking care of the garbage disposal. Careful maintenance of both appliances will result in longer life expectancy.

The first is a tip that has been mentioned already. Thoroughly scrape and rinse your dishes before putting them in the washer. Failure to do so will eventually result in clogged drainage pipes and that can cause flooding and sometimes leaks.

One of the most common and irritating issues with a dishwasher is the smell. If not used and cleaned properly, it is likely your dishwasher will develop a pretty nasty odor from bacteria and waste buildup. This can be remedied in various ways. One option is to run the dishwasher through a cycle with vinegar, lemon juice, or another acid.

Running the dishwasher with one of these will remove the buildup and get rid of the stench. In severe cases involving mildew or mold, consider using bleach. However, DO NOT use bleach if your washer has a stainless steel door or interior.

If your dishwasher is leaking, consider checking the door, tub, and valves. A leaky door could very well be the source of the problem. This is an easy fix so be sure to check for that first. Also check your drain hoses to make sure they are properly tightened and leak free. In severe cases, professional help will probably be required, which is okay. Just try to find the source of the problem first before you run up a large repair bill.

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