Episode-53- Fix Garbage Disposer Leaks Easily – Don’t Buy A New One

before disposal repair
put on some plumbers putty
seal it up with duct tape


Are you tired of the high cost of having someone else do your home repairs? Especially the small ones like water leaks? I am. In episode 26 Home Buying For Dummies – Book Review I noted that that book gives a list of things to do after you purchase a home. A big point on the list is to continue to save money. This includes saving up to up to 1 percent of the purchase price of the home per month. This is necessary to help maintain and improve your residence. The best way to survive as a home owner is to learn how to fix things yourself or at least understand what needs to be fixed and how to do it. With that bit of knowledge you will be less likely to spend more time and money than necessary. When we first moved into our home three years ago I was afraid to do repairs myself because I did not have the knowledge or proper tools and equipment. That fear quickly dissipated in a short time as I learned from the first few home visits what a pain in the ass it is to have someone else come to home. You have to arrange for the visit. Call several places for estimates only to have them thrown out of whack after the initial visit. Above all it is a hassle trying to put things on hold on hold like work while my wife or I had to wait for someone to show up between the promised hours of 9 to 5.
Fixing the kitchen sink is one example of a time when I replaced the old faucet with a new one years ago. I purchased a decent faucet and was able to make the replacement myself but since it was my first time doing this it took quite a while. A few hours actually to remove the old one and replace it. Then there were problems with seals and some of the hose connections. But within a week we did have a new functioning faucet for the price of $80 and my time. If I had outsourced that to a plumber it would have cost $80 just to have them enter the home. Give me a break. Then they would have doubled the price of the faucet and charged me labor. The result most likely would have been close to $300 just for a new faucet. Maybe that coast is as high as it is because I live in northern Virginia but more likely it is that high because companies can take advantage of the less informed.
I’m here to inform you otherwise. Doing it yourself is not only a money saver but it is the right thing to do because you will increase your knowledge, experience as well as your ability to teach others. That’s what I’m doing with my family and neighbors and I wish to share my knowledge and experiences with you. In episode 30 Fix It – How To Repair Anything In Your Home Book Review I noted that we live in a throwaway society in which the health of the economy is dependent on built in obsolescence of products and services. The New fix it yourself manual has helped me change and learn to become more self-reliant for home repairs. I found the section on plumbing to be very useful. That section shows very clearly how to diagnose and repair or replace leaky faucets and pipes. It also teaches the best methods for clearing clogs. You can be charged for thousands of gallons of water that you never use with just one leaky faucet.
Which bring me to today’s to do list item Fix Garbage Disposer Leaks. The first picture on the todolisthome.com website shows the back of our garbage disposer and the crack that must have been there for long time. For quite some time we had noticed water accumulating beneath the garbage disposer but for some reason the leak could never be found. Sometime we saw just a little water accumulation and most times none so we didn’t think much about it. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I should have been more proactive and searched out the leak like a good homeowner. However, since it was not a constant leak other priorities always took precedence.
Finally about three weeks ago my wife noticed more than the usual amount of water accumulation. When I came home from work that day all of the items that are stored under the kitchen sink were removed and placed in front of the sink. I knew then that this was clear for me to show my worth and have a look for the culprit. Crawling under the sink is more difficult then contorting my body the way I must when inspecting the attic. This time instead of a fruitless search by hand for a hard to find water leak I laid on my back with flashlight in hand and found the old crack that you see in the picture.
I had that a hah! Moment and was quite glad I found something I could actually see. In all the other time I have had to crawl under the sink this crack was always elusive. But now I had found it. What do I do about that I wondered.
Going to the home store or online to purchase a new disposer was my first inclination but my overriding instinct is to try to fix something before throwing it away. This is one of the tenants of my four part plan for retiring early. Instead of thinking about throwing away the garbage disposer as my wife suggested I went online to do some research. After several searches for solutions to my problem I found it at e-how.com and I provide a link to that solution in today’s show notes at todolisthome.com.
The solution prescribed led me to believe that I had a good chance of patching this leak on my own for just the 2 dollar cost of some plumbers putty. This repair was very straight forward.

It’s been two weeks since I made that repair and there has been no leak since. We bought our home in as is condition and I understand that the repair I described may not be something permanent but it has extended the life of our current garbage disposer. For the 2 dollar cost of plumbers putty and my time I was able to initially save about $80 and a lot more time by avoiding a total unit replacement.
I hope you found this podcast useful and encouraging for you to diagnose the problems you encounter in your home, understand the solutions and make the best repair decisions. You owe it to yourself and your bank account to do your own home repairs. To aid you in home repair adventures I highly recommend the new fix it yourself manual by readers digest. The book has great pictures and useful diagrams that are worth the price of the book itself. More importantly the book will pay for itself the first time you repair something that you otherwise might have requested from a contractor for too much money. That’s if for today now go and do something useful and do it safely.

The 4 Part Plan For Early Retirement

  1. Save more and improve home production
  2. Assess and cut budget
  3. Develop income generating streams and assets
  4. Plan for future living

Fix Garbage Disposer Leaks Easily – Don’t Buy A New One 

  1. Don’t use the sink and disposal for 12 hours prior to repair.
  2. Pull out a chunk of the plumber’s putty big enough to cover the crack or hole.
  3. Soften the plumber’s putty by hand until it is pliable and soft.
  4. Insert the plumber’s putty into the crack or hole and smooth it around the crack or hole on the housing of the disposal for an inch around the crack or hole.
  5. Wrap the housing with duct tape over the spot with the plumber’s putty and completely around the housing of the disposal.


Song of The Day – Billy Joel –  Captain Jack – Live Video from 1976

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