How to Install a Garbage Disposal

Figure out what kind of garbage disposal you need. When you’re shopping for a new disposal, there are several factors to take into consideration. Think about who will be using the disposal, whether a noisy disposal is an issue in your household, and what kind of plumbing you have at your home.

  • If you have children who will be using the disposal, consider getting a batch feed disposal rather than a continuous feed disposal. Batch feed disposals, which are a bit more expensive, require the use of a stopper prior to operation, which can be safer in households with kids. Continuous feed disposals start running when you flip a switch and keep running when you switch it off. If someone drops a utensil down the drain or sticks their hand inside, this can be a dangerous situation.
  • Choose a motor that’s right for your household. Models with lower horsepower, usually about 1/3, are suitable for small households with a small amount of food waste. Models with 1/2 horsepower are better for larger households with more food waste.
  • Consider the features you want the disposal to have. For a higher price, you can buy a disposal made to function more quietly, one made from stainless steel, or one that connects to your dishwasher.
  • If your plumbing is connected to a septic tank, you need to buy a disposal made especially for septic tanks.

Gather tools and other supplies. In addition to an appropriate garbage disposal, you’ll need the following equipment to complete the installation:

  • A screwdriver
  • A disposer wrench
  • A hacksaw
  • Water pump pliers
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Electrical cord
  • Safety supplies, including goggles and a dust mask

Turn off the power. Make sure the power to the garbage disposal is turned off while you’re installing it. Cover the panel box to make sure no one can turn it back on until the job is complete.

Removing the Old Disposal

Detach the dishwasher hose. Not all disposals are connected to a dishwasher, but if yours is, use a screwdriver to loosen and detach the hose attaching the disposal to your dishwasher.

Detach the waste line. Remove the “P” trap waste line running from the disposal by using a wrench to unscrew the slip-nut connecting the disposal to the trap. You might want to place a bucket under the trap to catch any wastewater sitting in the bottom.

Take off the disposal. Remove the disposal by inserting a screwdriver into the mounting ring lug and turning counterclockwise until it comes loose.

Take apart the rest of the mounting assembly. Remove the ring on the sink sleeve, the sink sleeve, the flange, the fiber gasket, and the plumber’s putty. Finish preparing the sink for the new disposal by cleaning the sleeve, flange and sink opening.

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