How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal


The kitchen garbage disposal was invented in the United States in the early twentieth century and remains a popular appliance as of 2010. The disposal is mounted under the kitchen sink and consists of sharp cutting blades powered by an electric motor. When cleaning up after a meal, food items can be rinsed down the drain and the disposal takes care of the rest. Replacing a malfunctioning disposal with a new unit can be accomplished in about one hour.

Things You'll Need

  • No-touch electrical tester Towel Locking pliers Philips screwdriver Allen wrench set Hammer Flat blade screwdriver
  • Locate the electrical circuit from which your disposal operates. Turn off the circuit breaker at the main electrical box. Test whether the correct circuit is off by turning on the disposal or by holding a no-touch electrical tester near the disposal’s power switch.

  • Remove items from the cabinet under your sink to create room to work. Place a towel on the floor of the cabinet under the disposal to catch water spills. Loosen the drain fitting from the disposal with a pair of locking pliers in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the fitting slightly away from the disposal to make removal easier. Remove the dishwasher drain line (if your disposal is so equipped) by loosening the hose clamp with a Philips screwdriver and pulling the line straight out from the disposal.

  • Unplug the disposal power cord. Loosen the locking ring at the top of the disposal with an Allen wrench. Twist the mounting ring in a counterclockwise direction. Loosen the mounting ring with a slight rap from a hammer if it does not move initially. Twist the disposal in a counterclockwise direction and lower it from the mounting bracket at the base of the sink.

  • Knock out the dishwasher blocking plug on your new disposal with a flat blade screwdriver and a hammer if your old disposal was connected to the dishwasher. Push the new disposal into the mounting bracket. Make sure the three tabs in the top of the disposal line up with the cutouts in the mounting bracket. Twist the disposal if necessary to make sure the drain-line opening faces the existing drain line to make installation easier.

  • Hold the disposal in place while turning the mounting ring in a clockwise direction by hand until tight. Tighten the locking ring with an Allen wrench turned in a clockwise direction. Connect the drain pipe to the disposal and tighten the fitting with locking pliers. Push the dishwasher drain pipe onto the dishwasher fitting on the disposal and tighten the hose clamp with a Philips screwdriver.

  • Plug the disposal into the wall outlet. Turn on a water tap in the sink and observe the drain fittings on the disposal for leaks. Tighten the fittings if necessary. Turn the circuit breaker on and test the operation of the disposal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Garbage disposals do not come with power cords attached. Either reuse the power cord from your old disposal or purchase a new one. Follow the directions that come with your disposal for power cord installation.

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