Garbage Disposal Installation Tips

Garbage disposals are handy tools that help us get rid of food waste. They come in different strengths, from 1/3 to 1 horsepower. Some can even work with septic systems. Knowing which kind you need for your home is important.

You can pick between batch feed and continuous feed models, but they’ll need special plugs and buttons.

To put a new garbage disposal in by yourself, it should take less than three hours if you have basic tools like a hammer and wrench. It’s also important to know a little about plumbing and electrics, so always be safe when dealing with wires and pipes.

The first step is taking out the old disposal safely. Next, follow seven simple steps to fix the new one in place. Don’t forget to check everything works well by running water through it when you’re done.

Keeping your garbage disposal clean makes it last longer. Try not to put tough or greasy foods down there either! If something goes wrong, there are easy ways to fix common problems.

This guide will make fitting your own garbage disposal seem easy! We’ve got lots of tips for all sorts of sinks – whether you have one or two bowls – plus advice on how to keep things running smoothly after installation too.

Let’s start fixing that garbage disposal right!

Choosing the Right Garbage Disposal

Selecting the appropriate garbage disposal for your kitchen involves assessing your household needs and understanding the various models available. This crucial step ensures that you invest in a unit capable of handling your food waste efficiently and fitting seamlessly with your plumbing setup.

Types of Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals come in different types to suit various needs. It’s key to know which one fits your home best.

  • Power Levels:

Understanding Your Needs

Think about how much waste you put down your sink. This will help you decide on the right horsepower for your garbage disposal. If you cook often and have lots of scraps, a more powerful unit is best.

Small households with less food waste might need a less powerful model.

Check if your home has a septic system before choosing your disposal. You’ll need to pick one that’s safe for septic systems. Always consider the manufacturer’s recommendations to find the perfect match for your specific kitchen needs.

Make sure there’s a power outlet under the sink and plan where to place the switch for easy use.

Necessary Tools for Garbage Disposal Installation

Garbage disposal installation requires specific tools. Gather these before you start to ensure a smooth process.

  • Hammer: Use this to help remove the old disposal unit and to tap parts into place gently.
  • Adjustable crescent wrench: This will be used for turning bolts and nuts during the install.
  • Screwdrivers: Both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers are needed for securing screws and adjusting components.
  • Wooden dowel or steel punch: Helps in dislodging stuck parts and assists with alignment.
  • Plumber’s putty: Essential for sealing the drain flange to prevent leaks.
  • Wire nuts: Connects electrical wires safely within the disposal unit.
  • Mounting ring, sink flange, fiber gasket, backup flange: These parts are vital for attaching the garbage disposal to your sink securely.
  • Electrical cover plate: Protects the wiring connection area under the garbage disposal unit.
  • Discharge tube: Directs waste from the disposal to the drainage system.
  • Power cord (if not attached): Necessary if your model doesn’t come with a pre-installed one; connects the disposal to electricity.
  • Bolts and screws: Typically included with your garbage disposal, they’re used to secure all parts in place.

Step-by-Step Guide to Garbage Disposal Installation

Embark on the journey of fitting a new garbage disposal with our comprehensive step-by-step installation guide. This section meticulously walks you through each phase, from removal of the old unit to securing and testing your new device, ensuring a seamless transition and reliable operation in your kitchen sink setup.

Removing the Old Garbage Disposal

Before you can install a new garbage disposal, you need to take out the old one. Make sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker to stay safe.

  • Locate your home’s circuit breaker and switch it off to cut power to your kitchen sink area.
  • Get under your kitchen sink and disconnect the drain trap and dishwasher drain pipe if one is connected.
  • Use a standard screwdriver to loosen and detach all pipes linked to the old disposal unit carefully.
  • Unscrew the rest of the mounting assembly that’s attached to your sink with care. Keep any screws or nuts in a safe place—they might come in handy later on.
  • Support the bottom of the old unit with one hand while twisting it counterclockwise with the other. This action will separate it from its mounting ring.
  • Pull out the snap ring with a screwdriver if necessary, and gently lower down your old disposal unit.
  • Conduct a leak test by checking for water around where it was mounted. If there’s moisture, now’s a good time to address it before putting in a new unit.
  • Clean up any gunk or old putty from around the sink’s opening where you’ll fit in your new garbage disposal.

Preparing for Installation

Preparing for garbage disposal installation is key. Make sure you have the right tools and understand the steps.

  • Clear out the area under your kitchen sink to make room for working.
  • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker to avoid electrical accidents.
  • Check if your sink has an existing garbage disposal or if this is a new installation.
  • For new installations, get a power outlet installed under the sink by a professional electrician if one is not present.
  • Gather all necessary tools including a screwdriver, plumber’s putty, hammer, and adjustable wrench.
  • Have your new garbage disposal, rubber washer, and other provided fittings ready nearby.
  • Read through the installation manual carefully to familiarise yourself with parts and processes.

Installing the New Garbage Disposal

Installing the new garbage disposal is a crucial step in upgrading your kitchen’s waste management system. Follow these instructions to ensure a successful installation.

  1. Check that the electricity is still off at the breaker box.
  2. Apply plumber’s putty around the new sink flange.
  3. Press the sink flange firmly into the drain hole of the sink.
  4. Place a towel inside the sink and set the new disposal on top to hold it in place.
  5. From below, attach the gasket and mounting ring to secure the flange.
  6. Hook up the dishwasher hose if you have one, or install a cap if not required.
  7. Rotate and lock the disposal onto its mount tightly.
  8. Connect electrical cords as per instructions, ensuring all connections are tight.
  9. Remove excess putty from around the sink flange within your kitchen sinks.
  10. Reconnect your P – trap to your drainage system, also adding a wye fitting if necessary for dishwasher drainage with an air gap to prevent backflow.

Testing the New Disposal

Now that your new garbage disposal is in place, it’s time to make sure it works correctly. Follow these steps to test your disposal without any issues.

  • Turn on the cold water tap fully and let it run into the sink.
  • Push the power switch or plug in the unit to turn on the disposal.
  • Listen for any strange noises which might mean something is wrong.
  • Let the water run while the disposal is working for a few minutes.
  • Drop a few pieces of food waste into the disposal to check if it grinds them up properly.
  • Watch for quick drainage; slow draining may indicate a problem.
  • Shut off the garbage disposal using its switch or by unplugging it.
  • Turn off the water and look under the sink for leaks.

Tips for Installing Garbage Disposal in Different Sink Types

Whether tackling a single or double sink setup, specific nuances must be considered to ensure your garbage disposal installation aligns seamlessly with your kitchen’s configuration.

Discover tailored approaches that cater to various sink designs, enhancing both functionality and efficiency in your space.

Single Sink Installation

Installing a garbage disposal on a single sink is straightforward. You’ll need to follow these steps carefully for a smooth installation.

  • First, gather all your tools and materials, including pipes, plumber’s putty, and safety goggles.
  • Turn off the power and water supply to ensure your safety during the process.
  • Detach the drainpipe connected to the old disposal unit or sink if there is one.
  • Take out the sink strainer and remove any old putty from the sink’s surface.
  • Apply a generous amount of plumber’s putty around the flange of the new disposal unit.
  • Place the flange in the drain hole of the sink and press down firmly.
  • From underneath the sink, attach the mounting ring and tighten it onto the flange. Make sure it’s secure.
  • Lift your new garbage disposal into place under the sink. Twist it onto the mounting bracket until locked in position.
  • Reconnect your drainpipe and dishwasher hose if you have one. Use sealant or Teflon tape to avoid leaks.
  • Check all electrical connections making sure they are safe and follow home improvement guidelines for DIY projects. Don’t forget to plug your unit into a properly grounded outlet.
  • Restore both power and water supply once everything is hooked up correctly.
  • Run water through your new disposal for a few minutes to test for any leaks or issues.

Double Sink Installation

Fitting a waste disposal unit to a double sink needs careful planning. Here’s how you can tackle this DIY project and get it right.

  1. Start by checking the space under your sinks to ensure enough room for the waste disposal unit.
  2. Turn off the power supply to avoid any electrical hazards while working.
  3. Remove the drain pipes connected to both sinks, keeping a bucket underneath to catch any water.
  4. Use a hammer and putty knife to disconnect the sink flange from the old disposal unit, if present.
  5. Clean the sink opening and apply plumber’s putty around it before setting the new flange in place.
  6. Hook up the mounting ring under the flange and tighten it until secure using safety glasses for eye protection.
  7. Attach the waste disposal unit to one sink following either EZ mount or 3 – bolt mount instructions provided with your model.
  8. Connect the discharge tube of the disposal unit with its counterpart in the second sink.
  9. Make connections between disposal’s dishwasher inlet and dishwasher drain hose if needed.
  10. Secure all plumbing lines and check for leaks by running water through both sinks.
  11. Reconnect power plugs cautiously, then test your installation by turning on power and running waste through disposals.

Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

Maintaining your garbage disposal is essential for ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. Regular attention to cleaning, appropriate use, and addressing issues swiftly will help keep your unit in prime condition.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning keeps your garbage disposal working well. It also helps it last longer. Here are some steps to clean your garbage disposal:

  • Turn off the power to your garbage disposal at the fuse box. This step keeps you safe while you clean.
  • Use tongs or pliers to remove any large objects that are stuck inside. Never use your hands!
  • Plug the sink and fill it halfway with warm water. Add a bit of dish soap to make suds.
  • Unplug the sink and turn on the disposal, letting the soapy water clear out grime.
  • Throw in a few ice cubes and a cup of salt into the disposal. Turn it on again. The ice sharpens blades, and salt scrubs away waste.
  • Cut a lemon into small pieces and drop them into the disposal. Run it for freshness.
  • Rinse with cold water for a minute while running the disposal to get rid of any remaining debris.

Proper Usage

To keep your garbage disposal running smoothly, always run water while using it. This helps move waste through the system. Be careful not to put fibrous foods, like celery or banana peels, into the disposal because they can cause clogs.

Also, avoid pouring grease or oil down the sink as these can solidify and block pipes.

For best performance, cut larger items into smaller pieces before dropping them in. This makes it easier for your disposal to break them down. Remember that hard objects like bones or fruit pits might damage the blades, so throw those away separately.

After each use, let cold water flow for a few seconds to clear any remaining bits.

Next up: Dealing with Common Issues

Dealing with Common Issues

Garbage disposals can have problems, but you can fix many yourself. Regular maintenance helps avoid these issues.

  • Clear clogs carefully:
  • Sharpen blades with ice cubes:
  • Grind lemon peels for freshness:
  • Use baking soda for cleaning:
  • Avoid certain foods:
  • Tighten connections if leaks occur:
  • Address noises immediately:
  • Conduct regular inspections:


Installing your own garbage disposal can be a rewarding DIY project. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you’ll have it up and running in no time. Remember to maintain the unit regularly for peak performance.

Trust yourself with this task; you’ve got all the guidance needed at your fingertips! Keep this article handy for quick reference whenever you tackle plumbing or electrical work under the sink.

If you’re also looking to upgrade your bathroom, check out our complete guide on toilet installation for helpful tips and techniques.


1. What tools do I need for a DIY garbage disposal installation?

For a DIYer, you’ll need pliers, a screwdriver, plumber’s putty, and wire nuts to install a garbage disposal.

2. Is it safe for me to install my own garbage disposal?

Yes, with the right tools and clear instructions, it is safe. However, always turn off the power at the circuit breaker before you start.

3. Can I use existing wiring for my new garbage disposal?

Check your user manual; if the specifications match, you can often use existing wiring which makes installation easier.

4. How do I avoid leaks when installing my new garbage disposal?

Apply plumber’s putty around the sink flange under the drain before securing it tightly to prevent leaks.

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