How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is one of the most useful appliances in your kitchen. These appliances are designed to last for several years but at some point in their lifetime, they also need replacing. Fortunately, the installation process is not as hard as it sounds. However, you need to have some plumbing and wiring skills to carry out the installation correctly.

You can carry out the replacement as a DIY project, but if you’re not confident enough, you could always get a professional to do the installation for you. There are different reasons as to why you may need to replace your garbage disposal such as when it is leaking, clogged, or jammed.

The garbage disposal attaches to your kitchen sink and has a discharge attached to the drainpipe. Moreover, the garbage disposal can also be attached to your dishwasher’s outlet.

Tools and materials required to replace a garbage disposal

  • A new garbage disposal
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Silicone sealant
  • Sink flange
  • Teflon pipe joint compound or thread seal tape
  • Hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Hex wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • A clean and dry towel

Step-by-Step – How to replace a garbage disposal

1. Turn of the power of your garbage disposal

Before you replace your garbage disposal, the first thing that you need to do is turn off the power of your garbage disposal from the main switch. You need to know that garbage disposals have electrical wiring. Trying to replace or repair them without turning off the power puts you at risk of getting electrocuted. As a result, you must turn off the power of your garbage disposal to cut off the live current.

2. Identify your specific garbage disposal

Before you consider replacing your garbage disposal, it is imperative that you establish the specific model that is in your kitchen. While out in the market shopping, you will find many models and brands, which means that you need to replace the old one with the exact model. If your broken garbage disposal is a Badger 5, for instance, you have to be sure to get a new Badger 5 for replacement purposes. You can identify the specific model by looking at the cylindrical object located between the plumbing pipes and below the drain. The make and model should be indicated there.

3. Detach the discharge tube

Next, you need to disconnect the discharge tube. This is the long pipe that extends from the side of your garbage disposal to the ground piping. To disconnect it, you need to loosen the nuts that hold the pipes together before pulling it. The role of the discharge tube is to carry ground organic garbage to the disposal. If your garbage disposal is also connected to your dishwasher, you should follow the same procedure to disconnect it.

4. Remove the old/broken garbage disposal from the mounting ring

Usually,  garbage disposals are designed with a mounting ring that is situated at the top of your unit. The mounting ring is a thin metal ring that has three separate arms. You should twist the protruding arms anticlockwise to release the garbage disposal. It is wise to have objects to support the old garbage disposal because most are usually heavy.

5. Release the garbage disposal from the power supply

There is a square or round faceplate located on the underside of your disposal. It covers the disposal’s electricals. You need to unscrew it to release the wiring, then use the pliers to release the wire connectors.

6. Remove the mounting ring

Next up, remove the mounting ring and the gasket above it. The process is easy because it involves peeling away the rubber at the bottom of the mounting ring. You could consider keeping it if it’s still in perfect shape.

7. Unscrew the nut that holds the remaining parts

Use a screwdriver to remove the rest of the assembly. Some effort may be needed to remove the mounting nut under the sink flange.

8. Remove the sink flange

You will notice a round metal rim around the opening of the drain. That is the sink flange, and you should remove it by pushing it from the bottom and pulling it from the top.

9. Place the new sink flange

Apply plumber’s putty around the edges of the surface where the sink basin sits, then push the sink flange into position.

10. Connect the mounting assembly

Put the rubber gasket and another metal flange before screwing in the new mounting ring. If the old one is still in good shape, you can still use it.

11. Attach the new garbage disposal to the mounting ring

Carefully bring in the new disposal. Be sure to align all the parts together, and then rotate the mounting ring clockwise until it locks securely into the new garbage disposal.

12. Connect the wiring

Using basic electrical skills, unscrew the faceplate on your new disposal before connecting the wires. Remember to turn off the electricity at the main unit before connecting the wires. Some wires are color coded to make the connections seamless, but the majority of disposals have two sets of wires.

13. Reconnect the discharge tube

Connect the discharge tube to your new unit and be sure to fasten any nuts around the area. Fastening the nuts will prevent leaks.

Do you really need a garbage disposal?

Before you decide to replace your garbage disposal, you need to ensure that you really need to have one in your kitchen. In previous years, garbage disposals were regarded as a luxury, but over time, people have come to appreciate their importance. However, people who are environmentally conscious tend to opt for other methods to dispose of their organic garbage.

It has come to the attention of people that the organic waste that goes into the sewer system from their kitchens has an impact on the waste treatment facilities. That’s why some people have opted to dispose of their organic garbage in trash cans instead of flushing it down the drainpipes. In fact, there are communities that have banned the use of kitchen garbage disposals while others have come up with programs to manage organic wastes without flushing it into the sewer system.

This is to say that it is imperative for you to establish whether a garbage disposal is the right way to go. It is also unwise to use a garbage disposal in areas that rely on a drain field and a septic system to process wastewater. This is because it could put a strain on the maintenance of the wastewater system.

That aside, a garbage disposal is an efficient appliance that can help you manage your organic garbage better. If you wish to replace or install a new garbage disposal, then you have to follow specific procedures to ensure it functions properly. The following video illustrates how you can go about the replacement of a badger 5 garbage disposal:


The advantages of using garbage disposals

A garbage disposal is an appliance that helps you to manage the waste that you produce in your kitchen. Here are some of the main benefits of having a functional garbage disposal in your kitchen.

Garbage disposals are pocket-friendly

One of the key benefits of a garbage disposal is that it is affordable. Additionally, they can help you save a significant amount of money. They are also designed to last for a couple of years, and they eliminate the costs of paying a plumber every time to come fix your drainage system when it clogs.

Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality garbage disposals that you can find to install in your kitchen. A good garbage disposal allows you to avoid clogging your drainpipes, which means that you will not need the help of a professional plumber.

Easy to clean

Another upside to garbage disposals is that they are very easy to clean. Even when organic waste gets clogged in the garbage disposal, you can easily solve the issue by cleaning the motor. You’ll be surprised at how efficiently it will operate after you’ve cleaned its motor.

They eliminate foul orders

Another reason for you to consider installing a garbage disposal in your kitchen is to eliminate bad odors. Organic waste starts to decompose after some time, releasing a bad smell. If you use standard trash cans in your kitchen, you will definitely smell the bad odor that will have filled your kitchen.

If you have a garbage disposal, however, you have little to worry about foul odor. This is because it grinds the waste into small pieces and flushes it down the drain instantly. Organic waste doesn’t have to stay a minute longer in your kitchen to decompose. What’s more, a garbage disposal eliminates the need for you to keep taking the trash out to avoid the foul smell.

They prevent pest infestation

Another benefit that garbage disposals present you is preventing pests from coming into your kitchen. If you put organic waste in a trashcan in your kitchen, there is a high likelihood that pests such as cockroaches and rodents will be attracted into your kitchen. However, if you have a garbage disposal, you will hardly see any because the pests have no food to eat in your kitchen.

They are an excellent option for the environment

Garbage disposals are excellent appliances because of their environmental benefits. If you are wondering how they are environmentally friendly, here’s how. They help to keep the environment clean by preventing the accumulation of organic waste, which over time becomes a pile of trash. Moreover, the trash emits a foul smell that pollutes the environment.

Additionally, garbage disposals eliminate the need to use plastic bags to dispose of organic waste. The plastic bags have to be transported by garbage trucks that cause greenhouse gas emissions. However, if you have a quality garbage disposal in your kitchen, all these troubles could be avoided.

Easy maintenance

Maintaining garbage disposals is an easy and seamless process. You don’t have to call a professional to carry out maintenance tasks. You just need to run some vinegar and baking soda every week to maintain a good scent. To keep the impeller sharp, you just need to put some ice cubes in the disposal occasionally.

The downsides of having garbage disposals

Here are some of the major drawbacks of garbage disposals.

Extra cost

When you decide to have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you should be prepared to spend more money in your kitchen. This is because the disposal system will cost more than trashcans, and they come in different sizes. If you have a lot of organic waste to dispose of in your home, therefore, you’ll need a larger appliance that will cost more.

They breakdown eventually

Over time, your garbage disposal will breakdown. This means that you have to be sure to conduct proper maintenance tasks to keep it in perfect working condition. After it breaks down, you need to do some replacement.

They clog

Garbage disposals cannot handle all types of foods. As a result, they clog easily, and the accumulated foodstuff could result in a foul smell.

Conclusion

A garbage disposal is an effective kitchen appliance that helps you manage organic waste. Since they are machines, garbage disposals have a lifespan too, which means that they will need replacing eventually. When replacing the system, you have to ensure that you have the right tools to detach the old unit and attach the new garbage disposal. To carry out a successful replacement, you also need to have basic plumbing and wiring skills. Moreover, be sure to follow the right procedures when replacing your garbage disposal.

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Peter Mattson
Peter Mattson / Senior Contributor
A professional plumber. Spent 11 years helping people with their problems. The only author on this blog who wants to share his experience with people and help find the best answers for any question about garbage disposals.
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