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Home /  Appliance Maintenance / How to Replace a Garbage Disposal
last_updated_date Last updated: September 21, 2023

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How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

There are times that your garbage disposal fails and this could be based on how you use it or the age and wear and tear over the years. You cannot be too careful with your garbage disposal but you should learn how to clean the garbage disposal in order to ensure that it works well. A pro tip is to use ice to sharpen the blades.

How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is mainly used to shred food waste into tiny pieces so that it would not clog pipes. You should ensure that you run your garbage disposal regularly and use the garbage disposal cleaner.

Another important point is that you always run the disposal with running cold water so that its solidifies grease or oils which can be ground too.

Also, put ice cubes through the garbage disposal to sharpen its blades. The most important thing is to ensure that you do not grind anything that is not biodegradable.

Steps to Replace Your Garbage Disposal

Here are the steps that you should take to replace your garbage disposal in the best possible way:

Before you Begin

Before you Begin

You should ensure that you have all the parts listed in the instruction sheet. Then you should turn off the power of the disposal at the circuit breaker box.

It’s always good to check if the amperage of the circuit would not overload the disposal. This amperage should be shown on the breaker switch.

Remove the Drain Arm and Tube

The first step is to disconnect the drain arm from the disposal unit. All you have to do is use a pair of pliers to loosen the spring clamp that holds the dishwasher drain tube in place. You should then remove the dishwasher drain tube which is attached to the unit.

Remove the Disposal Unit

Remove the Disposal Unit

You should remove the disposal unit by simply twisting the mounting nut. Then you should drain out any remaining water and debris. After which you should turn the unit upside-down and remove the plate covering the electrical connections.

Next, you should remove the grounding screw and the wire nuts and take out the cable from the unit. You can choose to loosen the strain relief sleeve too.

Then you should remove the existing mounting assembly and the drain. Unscrew the mounting ring and then push the drain flange up through the drain hole.

Then scrape off the old putty from the sink. If your disposal is the same model as the old unit then you do not need to replace the mounting hardware.

Install New Hardware

To install the new hardware, you should place the rubber seal on the rubber seal on the underside of the drainage flange first. Simply push the drain flange into place in the drain hole.

After which you should place another rubber seal on the drain flange on the underside of the sink. Simply attach the metal backup ring on the flat side up.

In most cases, disposal units use a metal mounting hardware but there are some that use a plastic unit.

Attach the Mounting Ring

You should then attach the mounting ring loosely with three screws. Then you should push the mounting ring up and secure it with the snap ring. After which you should tighten the mounting screws until the assembly is even and tight.

Prepare the New Disposal

In case your disposal is connected to the dishwasher drain then you should use a hammer and a screwdriver to remove the knockout plug. You should then turn the disposal upside-down and shake it to remove anything that could be inside.

Next, you should remove the electrical plate and gently pull the electrical wires away from the unit. You should screw the strain relief sleeve into place and then push the electrical cable through the sleeve into the disposal and firmly tighten the sleeve.

Complete the Installation

Final Installation Procedures

You should connect the electrical wires by splicing the white to white and the black to black and this will secure the connection with the wire nuts. Then connect the ground wire to the green screw on the disposal and replace the cover plate.

Next, hang the disposal by twisting it on the plate and the mounting nut and then rotate the disposal unit until it is properly aligned. Then you should attach the drain arm and the dishwasher drainpipe.

After which you should run water through the disposal for a few minutes to check if the garbage disposal is leaking and turn the power on. If you find the disposal to be heavy then you should build a support base to hold it in place.

Take a look at this video of a garbage disposal from Home Depot on how to replace the garbage disposal:

Facts About Garbage Disposal Units

If you have a garbage disposal then you will know that they bring about a lot of convenience and conservation by simply grinding all kitchen scraps even meat and fat. This is then sent down to the drain to the sewage treatment plant or the septic system for treatment. Isn’t this much better than it going to landfills for slow decomposition?

Apart from the eliminating this mess, the garbage disposal moves food waste which would end up in your trash can to a wastewater treatment system which discourages bugs and other pests.

This has prompted a few cities to require disposer in new homes and this comes at a time when several town charges by the volume for waste removal. This is why nearly half of all American homes have a garbage disposal unit.

How to Choose the Right Garbage Disposal

When choosing a good garbage disposal, you should ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Can you use a garbage disposal in your area? In case you use the municipal sewer system then you should call the local sewer authority to learn about the disposer policy. While some need a permit, others discourage them because of limited water and the sewer capacity.
  2. Is your septic tank big enough? You may need to upgrade your septic tank to use the garbage disposal. Typically, you should ask your local building inspector or the environmental health official. You might need to empty the existing tank more frequently.
  1. Is it worth using excess water? You should know that there are about 2.5 gallons of water per minute for faucets or some 900 gallons per year based on the minute-per-day usage. Apart from a huge water bill, a disposal would add water consumption as a concern in dry areas.
  1. Can your plumber fix the garbage disposal correctly? You should not install a garbage disposer if the plumbing clogs or backups are common. This means that you should have the septic system fixed, emptied and enlarged before buying a garbage disposer.

Types of Garbage Disposals

There are two types of garbage disposals which are: Continuous Feed Models and Batch Feed Models. Disposals differ based on brand and product features. Here are the two basic types of garbage disposals:

Continuous-Feed Models

Pros: This garbage disposal unit is easy to use and you can put new waste as the old waste is being ground up and washed down the drain.

Cons: These units have open filler necks that pose a greater risk to hands. It allows bone shards and other scraps to fly out. Only an electrician should be able to hardwire and mount the power switch which is not corded. You should also hold the supplied stopper at the angle over the drain as a shield when it is running.

Batch-Feed Models

Pros: These batch-feed models require you to load them with waste before turning down the stopper to activate the blades. This is because the stopper keeps food in and fingers out. They are the safest for families with kids. This can simply plug into an outlet for power supply.

Cons: These usually cost more and require more time to finish the job.

Features of New Garbage Disposals

There are differentiating features that you will see in the store but it might not deliver the durability. Most garbage disposal lasts around 10 to 12 years. But a longer warranty does not guarantee a longer life as these models could cost more than other similar machines. Things you should consider in your garbage disposal:

Electric Cord

This electric cord allows the machine to be used in typical power outlets without the cord being hard-wired.

Auto-Reverse Mode

This will enable the garbage disposal’s spinning blades or the garbage disposal insinkerator to clear jammed waste and this is usually the bane of several disposers.

Horsepower Ratings

Horsepower ratings

There are models with a 1/2 hp motor which can handles bones and softer waste like carrots and corn. But if your kitchen waste is tougher then you can ask for a 3/4 hp or 1 hp motor. This will reduce the clogging of plumbing traps.

Quick-Mount Neck

There are several garbage disposals that have a quick mount neck that encourages a do-it-yourself installation. Since 3/4 and 1 hp models weigh from 16 to 30 pounds, putting one beneath the sink would be a two person job.

Safety Cover

There are a few models which prevent the unit to be turned on unless the cover is in place.

Stainless-Steel Grinding Chamber

These stainless steel garbage disposal units usually have increased durability, but they can be damaged by beef bones and other tough stuff and therefore there is no long-term guarantee.


Most coverages range from 1 year to 10 years or even the lifespan of the unit. But this warranty does not guarantee longer life or better performance and make it more expensive.

Home Warranty For Your Garbage Disposal

Apart from maintaining your garbage disposal repair, there is another home appliance that can break down and needs repair from time to time. In case your appliances are not new then there is a higher chance that there could be a breakdown. This is why you should review all companies before making a decision.

This is why you need a home warranty policy to fix all your problems. A home warranty covers the cost of the repairs and replacement of the range of home systems and appliances based on a service charge of $50 to $100 based on the policy that you bought into.

Usually, a home warranty costs anywhere between $350 to $500 American Home Shield do offer some good plans you should check out.. But it doesn’t mean that you should not maintain your appliances from time to time. Before you invest in a home warranty you should read the policy and the reviews from people like you that have signed up for policies from different home warranty companies.

In case you have any questions about figuring out the right home warranty policies and the items covered under it then HomeWarrantyReviews.com will give you the best information in terms of research, reviews, and ratings of home warranty companies.

How much does a plumber charge to replace a garbage disposal?

The average cost of a garbage disposal installation with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty is $185. The average amount of time taken to install a garbage disposal, including cleanup, is three hours. The hourly cost for labor will range from $20 to $40 — $28 on average.

How much does Home Depot charge to install a garbage disposal?

Home Depot charges $119 to install it. Sears also quoted a price of $99 for installation of a garbage disposal purchased anywhere.

Can I replace garbage disposal myself?

With silicone, there’s almost no chance-now or later-that the flange will leak. However, when it’s time to replace the disposal and the sink flange again as part of your garbage disposal installation, you should know that old silicone is much harder to remove than old plumber’s putty.

When should a garbage disposal be replaced?

If you should especially consider replacing your disposal if it’s been at least a decade since your last renovation or garbage disposal installation project. Most disposals have a life expectancy of about 10 years, after which they may start clogging more often.

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