Picking up where we left off: You tried initial troubleshooting steps to get your garage disposal working again . . . and nothing.
Time for a new garbage disposer.
Thankfully, installing or replacing a garbage disposal is a fairly easy task requiring no special skills. You won’t need to call a Staten Island plumber or plumbing contractor, unless you just don’t want to mess with it.
Replacing a Garbage Disposer
If you are replacing a garbage disposal with a similar model, your task may be super simple. Remove the old unit and put the new one in its place. Bam! Done.
If you replaced the disposer with a significantly different model or are installing one for the first time, the task still can be easy, especially if you’ve done a little homework before getting started. Note the size of the existing garbage disposer and the space underneath your sink. Take pictures with your phone, if necessary. Take these with you when you buy a new unit. You want to make sure that the new unit will fit in the available space.
A few precautions to start: Read all safety info before starting. Make sure the garbage disposer is shut off at the fuse box or circuit breaker. Better safe than sorry. Also: Note that for any installation a grounded electrical supply is absolutely required for your safety. Do not install a garbage disposer without proper grounding.
Overview of Replacing a Garbage Disposer
Details to follow.
Taking down, so to speak.
- Remove the old disposal
- Replace the sink flange
- Fasten the upper mounting assembly to the flange
- Punch out the dishwasher plug
Putting back, so to speak.
- Connect the electrical wiring to the new disposal
- Connect the disposal to the mounting assembly
- Make the plumbing connections
- Test the garbage disposal and check for leaks
- Reward yourself with a cold beer or soda and oversell what a tough job it was to your spouse and how you didn’t need to call a Staten Island plumber for repair.
Remove the Old Disposal
- Unplug the garbage disposal or turn off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box.
- Clear out all the junk underneath your sink, giving you room to work. Remove any chemicals and hazards to avoid accidents and injuries. There may be some water spilled, so place old towels under the disposer to soak up any water.
- Disconnect the drain trap from the disposal’s discharge tube. It should be fastened with a locking nut. You may be able to loosen the nut with your hands, but if you have not touched this nut in 10 years you may need a pair of adjustable pliers to loosen. Once loose you can unscrew the nut with your fingers.
- If you have a dishwasher drain connected to the disposal, remove that connection now. There should be a hose clamp securing the hose to the disposal. Loosen the clamp (twisting a set screw with your fingers, using a screwdriver, or a small wrench to loosen) and pull the hose off of the dishwasher inlet.
- The disposal is fastened to a mounting assembly on the sink and is secured with a mounting collar. Before removing the old disposal, stack old newspapers, magazines, books, towels underneath to hold it up. The disposer may be heavier than you think. When you disconnect the mounting collar, the support will prevent it from dropping. This is kind of obvious, but don’t lay under the disposal as it could unexpectedly pop off the mount and bonk you on the head.
- Insert the supplied wrench or a screwdriver through the mounting lug to turn the collar. Instead of a mounting lug, some models may use a tab like a wing nut. Support the disposal and loosen the collar. The mounting collar should turn clockwise (to the left) about 1/4 turn. If you cannot loosen the collar, use a mallet to gently tap the lug to break the seal.
Replace the Flange
If you are using a replacement disposal that is similar to your existing model you may be able to skip this step.
- Compare the supplied mounting assembly with the existing assembly. If they are the same, it is not necessary to replace the assembly and you can skip to the next step. However, if the visible part of the flange in the sink is corroded, leaks or you would prefer a shiny new flange, then proceed.
- Loosen the mounting assembly by turning the three screws enough so that the assembly hangs loosely. Remove the mounting assembly from the sink flange by prying off the snap ring. The snap ring sits in an indentation in the mounting assembly and has a small gap. Pry the ring off at the gap with a screwdriver. The assembly should now drop off of the flange.
- Lift the flange out of the sink. Scrape away the old sealant material and clean the surface before replacing the flange. Also remove any gasket or sealant from the underside of the sink.
- Roll about 4 ounces of non-hardening plumber’s putty into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. Apply the putty around the indentation in the sink to make a complete seal under the flange. Place the new flange over the opening and press it firmly in place. Trim away any excess putty with a screwdriver or putty knife.
- Slip the upper mounting assembly over the flange. While holding the assembly in place, install the snap ring by prying it into the indentation in the neck of the flange.
Tip: Place a few rubber bands around the neck of the flange to hold the assembly in place. This will free up both hands for installing the snap ring. Remove the rubber bands after the snap ring is on.
Install the Mounting Assembly
- With the snap ring in place you can begin tightening the assembly. Turn each of the screws in turn to create balanced pressure on the flange. DO NOT fully tighten each screw before going to the next screw. As you tighten the assembly, the putty will be squeezed out around the flange in the sink and under the sink. If putty is not squeezed out all the way around the flange in the sink, there may not have been enough putty at that point and may result in a future leak.
Knock out the Dishwasher Plug
If you are not connecting a dishwasher drain line to the disposal, then skip this step.
The disposal has two connections, one for the main drain line and another one for the incoming dishwasher drain hose. Because not all installations include a dishwasher connection, there is a plug in the disposal to prevent water from leaking out the dishwasher connection when no dishwasher is connected. Therefore, this plug must be removed before connecting the dishwasher drain hose
Refer to the instructions included with your disposal for the proper method of extraction. However, in several models, it is simply knocked out using a screwdriver and a mallet. Remove any pieces knocked out so that they don’t jam or damage the disposal.
Connect the Wiring
There are two ways your disposal may be wired; with an electrical cord or by direct wiring to your home’s electrical system.
- If you are replacing a disposal, then the task is simple, connect the new disposal in the same way as the old.
- If your old wiring is not grounded or you are adding a disposer for the first time and there is no electrical service under the sink, then it’s best to call a Staten Island plumber or plumbing contractor, who will be licensed for electrical work, or you can call a local electrician. Attempting electrical work can be tricky for many DIYers.
- If your disposal came without an electrical cord, disconnect the cord from the old unit. If it is in good condition use it on the new disposal. Otherwise, you will need to purchase one at a Staten Island plumbing supply store or local home improvement center.
- If your old disposal was direct wired, then wire up the new unit to the three terminals (hot, neutral and ground).
Mount the Disposal
- Find that old stack of newspapers, magazines, towels, or what have you and set the new disposal on it and align the drain port with the drain line under the sink. Lift the disposer to the mounting assembly, adding more papers or magazines if necessary. Turn the mounting collar so it engages the upper mounting bracket. Make certain the collar is secure all the way around. Once you are sure it is properly mounted, tighten the collar.
Make the Plumbing Connections
- Align the drain line with the drain port on the disposal. Slip the fastener from the drain line to the connector on the disposal and hand tighten.
- If you are connecting a dishwasher drain hose to the disposal, slip the a hose clamp over the hose and slide it down a couple inches. Slip the hose over the connecting barb on the disposal. Slip the hose clamp to within about 3/8″ from the end of the house and tighten it securely.
The disposal should be secure and steady when you attempt to shake it. If so, finish tightening the drain line connection.
Don’t Forget to Test for Leaks
- Plug in the disposal and restore power at the circuit breaker.-
- Turn on the cold water in the sink and turn on the disposal.
- Check under the sink for any signs of leaking.-
- Run the dishwasher and check again for leaks.
- High five yourself for job well done.
Do you need to call a Staten Island plumber or plumbing contractor to fix your refrigerator ice maker?