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How to Install a Garbage Disposal

How to Install a Garbage Disposal

The modern kitchen has tools and appliances that make our culinary journey more efficient and enjoyable. One such unsung hero is the garbage disposal. Though only suitable for some kitchens, having one can ease your dishwashing process and minimize kitchen waste.

Whether you're planning to replace an aging unit or considering an installation for the first time, this guide will assist you step-by-step.

Understanding the Importance of Garbage Disposal

A well-functioning garbage disposal can last up to 12 years, significantly reducing kitchen waste going into landfills. Besides its environmental benefits, it offers a hygienic way to dispose of food scraps. But, like all appliances, understanding its setup is crucial, especially regarding the necessary wiring and plumbing that can be somewhat intricate.

Pre-installation Preparations

Safety First: Always ensure the electrical connections are off and the workspace is dry. Safety should never be compromised.

1. Necessary Materials & Equipment

  • Materials:

    • A brand-new garbage disposal unit
    • Plumber's putty
    • Plug-in power cord and strain relief fitting
    • Wire nuts
    • Drain pipe extension pieces (if necessary)
  • Tools:

    • Channel-type pliers
    • Screwdrivers
    • Hammer
    • Cleaning rag

Step-by-step Installation Process

2. Disposing of the Old Unit

Before integrating a new unit, the older one (if present) must be safely removed.

  • Disconnect the power supply. If it's plugged into an outlet, unplug it. For hardwired units, switch off the circuit at the main service panel.
  • Detach the drain connections linked to the disposal. Use a bucket to catch any water
  • Finally, unlink the disposal from the flange assembly.

3. Setting up the Drain Fitting and Mounting Assembly

The unique drain fitting for garbage disposals encompasses a sink flange and a mounting ring, which will securely hold the unit beneath the sink.

  • Apply a consistent, 1/2-inch-thick layer of plumber's putty around the sink flange
  • Insert the new disposal sink flange into the sink, pressing down firmly, and weight it down.
  • From beneath the sink, slide the fibrous gasket and triangular attachment ring onto the sink flange's tailpiece.
  • Affix the ring using the snap ring into the flange tailpiece's groove.




4. Perfecting the Mounting Ring Assembly

Evenly tighten the three mounting screws to ensure a snug fit. Ensure the sink flange adheres to the sink's bottom and wipe off excess plumber's putty.


To connect to the dishwasher drain, use a hammer to knock out the drain plug and remove it from the inlet on the disposal.



5. Connecting the Power Cord

  • Remove the disposal's electrical cover plate.
  • Set up a strain relief fitting in the designated hole, securing it with pliers.
  • Feed the power cord through the strain relief.
  • Utilize wire nuts to connect the respective colored wires.
  • Replace the cover plate once connections are secured.



6. Preparing for the Dishwasher

For kitchens where the dishwasher drains through the disposal:

  • Identify the dishwasher inlet nipple.
  • Use a screwdriver and hammer to remove the plastic disc from inside the nipple.
  • Retrieve the plastic disc from the grinding chamber.

7. Mounting the Garbage Disposal

Align the disposal with the mounting ears on the sink assembly. This may require a bit of muscle, but ensure it's held in place. Adjustments can be made before firmly locking it in place.

8. Finalizing the Drain Connections

Connect the discharge tube to the waste trap. Extension pieces can be used if necessary. If your dishwasher line runs through the disposal, secure it with the provided clamp.




9. Ensuring Everything Is in Place

Rotate the cam collar on the disposal using a screwdriver or a special wrench to lock the disposal securely.

10. Testing Your Installation

  • Turn on the water to check for any leaks. If found, tighten the connections.
  • Plug in the disposal and switch on the power.
  • Test its efficiency by tossing in a few food scraps.

Pro Tip: Maintain freshness by occasionally grinding up a lemon slice in your disposal. This naturally combats potential odors.

In conclusion, installing a garbage disposal, while intricate, can be accomplished with careful preparation and attention to detail. Regular maintenance will ensure its longevity, making it a valuable asset in your kitchen for years to come.

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