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How Do I Replace My Garbage Disposal?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Learn the Steps to Replace Your Garbage Disposal on Your Own

When your garbage disposal starts acting up or becomes inefficient, replacing it can breathe new life into your kitchen’s functionality. The idea of replacing a garbage disposal may seem intimidating, but it can be a straightforward DIY project with the right guidance and a little know-how. We’re here to help you set up your new garbage disposal.

In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions and essential tips on how to remove and replace a garbage disposal. From gathering the necessary tools to disconnecting the old unit, installing the new one, and ensuring proper functioning, we’re here to guide you. With the knowledge you learn here, you’ll be equipped to handle the installation on your own.

Step-by-step Garbage Disposal Replacement Instructions
Check out John’s instructions for DIY garbage disposal replacement.

8 Steps to Replace a Garbage Disposal on Your Own

You’re wondering, “What do I need to replace my garbage disposal?” “What steps do I need to take to install a new garbage disposal in place of my old one?” Well, read on to learn all the details to ensure a successful garbage disposal replacement.

1. Gather the Tools and Materials Required

Before you begin the replacement process, it’s a good idea to gather all the necessary tools and materials. This way, you can streamline the process and ensure you have everything you need in one place. The following is a list of tools you will need:

  • New garbage disposal unit
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Hammer
  • Bucket
  • Towels
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts
  • Pipe wrench (if necessary)
  • Pliers

2. Turn Off the Power

Safety should always be a top priority when working with electrical appliances. Before you start the replacement process, turn off the power to the garbage disposal at the main circuit breaker. This will ensure no electricity is flowing to the unit, minimizing the risk of electric shock during the installation. Double-check that the power is indeed off by trying to run the disposal switch and ensuring it doesn’t turn on.

3. Disconnect the Existing Garbage Disposal

Underneath your sink, locate the connection point between the garbage disposal unit and the drain pipe. You’ll find a slip nut connecting the drain pipe to the disposal. Using pliers or a pipe wrench (if necessary), loosen the slip nut and detach the drain pipe from the disposal. Have a bucket ready to catch any residual water that may be in the pipe.

Next, you will need to disconnect the electrical wires. Find the wire nuts connecting the disposal’s wires to the electrical supply. Remove the wire nuts, separate the wires, and use electrical tape to cover the exposed ends of the wires. This step ensures that the electrical connections are safe during the replacement process.

Disconnecting Garbage Disposal
Once everything is disconnected it’s safe to remove the old unit and fit the new.

4. Remove the Old Garbage Disposal

Once the drain pipe and electrical connections are disconnected, the next step is to remove the old garbage disposal unit. Most disposals are secured to the sink with a metal ring. Use a screwdriver and a hammer to remove the ring, rotating it counterclockwise until it releases. After it releases, carefully lower the disposal unit and set it aside. Make sure that you remove any remaining mounting hardware or brackets that were holding the old disposal in place.

5. Install the New Garbage Disposal

With the old disposal unit removed, it’s time to install the new one. Start by preparing the new disposal unit for installation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the mounting assembly to the sink.

This typically involves placing the mounting ring over the sink’s opening and securing it with screws. Next, create a watertight seal between the sink and the new garbage disposal by applying a thin layer of plumber’s putty around the sink flange. This should help prevent any leaks from occurring.

Carefully position the new disposal unit onto the mounting assembly. Align the disposal unit properly and ensure it is centered in the sink opening. With the unit in place, rotate the metal ring clockwise until it locks the disposal into place. Use a screwdriver and place a hammer to secure the ring tightly. This will ensure that the new disposal is securely fastened to the sink.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, outlines how to replace a faulty garbage disposal yourself, along with all his pro tips and .

6. Connect the Drain and Electrical Wires

Now that the new disposal unit is installed, the next step is to reconnect the drain pipe. Slide the drain pipe back onto the disposal unit, ensuring you align it properly. Tighten the slip nut by hand and give it an additional quarter turn with pliers to ensure a secure connection. Check that the rubber gasket is properly seated to prevent any leaks.

Moving on to the electrical connections, rejoin the electrical wires. Match the corresponding wires (typically black to black and white to white) and twist them together. Secure the connections with wire nuts, making sure it’s a tight fit. Wrap electrical tape around the wire nuts for added security and to insulate the connection.

7. Test the New Garbage Disposal

Before completing the installation, you must test the new garbage disposal first to ensure it is functioning correctly. Turn the power back on at the main circuit breaker and then run water in the sink. Flip the switch and listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations. A properly installed garbage disposal should operate smoothly and without any issues.

Next, check the area around the drain pipe connection for any leaks. If you notice any leaks or unusual noises, turn off the power and double-check the connections. It is crucial that you address any issues before you finish the installation.

8. Complete the Installation

Once you’ve confirmed that the new garbage disposal is functioning properly, clean up any debris or water around the area. Take a minute to ensure all connections are tight and secure. If necessary, use a plumber’s putty to seal any gaps between the new garbage disposal unit and sink. This will provide protection against any leaks.

Replacing a garbage disposal can be a straightforward process when you follow the steps above. Gather all the necessary tools and materials in one place, disconnect the existing disposal, install the new unit, and test its functionality. With these simple steps, you can successfully replace your garbage disposal and enjoy a more efficient kitchen.

Check Connections Before Testing New Garbage Disposal
Check all the connections and drain are in place before final testing.

Garbage Disposal Installation FAQs

How often should I replace my garbage disposal?

The lifespan of garbage disposals differs based on usage, maintenance, and quality. On average, they can last 10 to 15 years if well-maintained. But if you notice yours frequently break down, leak, or perform poorly, it may be time to replace it.

How do I choose the right garbage disposal for my needs?

When selecting a new garbage disposal, consider factors such as noise level, horsepower, and durability. Higher horsepower disposals are generally more powerful and can handle tougher food waste. Quieter models with noise insulation are also available. Additionally, choose a disposal that suits your household size and usage patterns. Reading customer reviews and seeking recommendations can help you make an informed decision.

Do I need to replace the mounting assembly when replacing my garbage disposal?

In most cases, the existing mounting assembly can be reused if it’s in good condition and compatible with the new disposal. But if it’s damaged or incompatible, you may need to purchase a new one. Ensure that the mounting assembly matches the specifications of your new disposal for a proper fit.

Hire a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Remember, when working with water and power safety is paramount. When unsure, we advise consulting with an appliance repair expert or plumbing pro for safe and correct garbage disposal replacement. You can contact a local contractor by calling our phone number or filling out our service request form.

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