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How to Easily Replace Garbage Disposal: Step-by-Step Guide

To replace a garbage disposal, turn off the power and water supply, disconnect the old unit, and install the new one according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Garbage disposals help to keep the kitchen clean and odor-free by grinding food waste into tiny particles that can easily pass through plumbing.

However, after years of use, these units may break down and require replacement. The good news is that you don’t have to be a plumbing expert to replace a garbage disposal. By following a few simple steps and using the right tools, you can install a new unit in no time.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of replacing a garbage disposal and provide tips to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

How to Easily Replace Garbage Disposal: Step-by-Step Guide


Step 1: Gather The Right Tools And Materials

List Of Required Tools And Materials

Replacing a garbage disposal may sound daunting, but with the right tools and materials, it can be a relatively easy task. Here are the things you need before you start:

  • Screwdrivers: You’ll need a flathead and phillips screwdriver to remove the mounting assembly and electrical cover plate.
  • Pliers: Use needlenose pliers to remove any wire connectors and hold mounting screws in place.
  • Putty knife: You’ll need a putty knife to remove any old plumbing putty or debris from the mounting assembly or sink flange.
  • Plumbers putty: To secure the new mounting assembly to the sink, use a small ball of plumber’s putty.
  • Replacement garbage disposal: Make sure to choose a new disposal with similar dimensions, horsepower, and mounting system to your current unit.

Tips For Selecting Replacement Parts

With so many garbage disposals on the market, finding the right replacement parts can be overwhelming. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a replacement:

  • Size: Make sure the new disposal has a similar size and mounting system to the old unit to save yourself from additional work.
  • Horsepower: Consider the amount of food waste you typically generate and choose a horsepower that can handle your needs. A 1/2 to 1 horsepower model is typically sufficient for most households.
  • Continuous feed vs. batch feed: Continuous feed models are more common and preferred by many homeowners since they allow you to continue adding waste as it grinds. Batch feed models are a little safer since they only grind when a cover is in place.
  • Noise level: Check the decibel rating on the model you are considering if you are sensitive to noise. Lower decibel ratings are quieter.
  • Brand: Stick to well-known brands with a good reputation for quality and reliability.

By following these tips and steps, you can easily replace your garbage disposal. Happy diying!

Step 2: Turn Off Power And Disconnect Plumbing

Replacing a garbage disposal might sound like a daunting task, but with the right instructions, anyone can do it. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to easily replace a garbage disposal in no time. In this section, we’ll focus on the second step in this process, which is to turn off the power and disconnect plumbing.

Safety Precautions

Before you start replacing your garbage disposal unit, it’s essential to follow these safety precautions:

  • Turn off power: Make sure the power supply to the garbage disposal is switched off before you begin any work on it. You can unplug the power cord from the outlet or turn off the circuit breaker from the main panel.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from sharp edges and debris.
  • Clear the area: Ensure that there aren’t any objects around the work area and that there’s enough light for you to see.

How To Turn Off Power And Disconnect Plumbing

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to turn off power and disconnect plumbing:

  • Turn off the power: Switch off the circuit breaker connected to the garbage disposal from your home’s electrical panel. If you’re unsure which circuit breaker controls it, turn off the main power supply to be safe.
  • Disconnect drainpipes: Use pliers or a wrench to remove the drainpipe and the dishwasher hose from the disposal unit. Place a bucket or a pan beneath the pipes to catch any water that may spill out.
  • Remove mounting assembly: Release the locking ring if your disposal unit uses a mounting assembly. Hold the flange from underneath and rotate the mounting assembly until it loosens.
  • Disconnect electrical wires: Loosen the wire connectors that join the disposal’s wires with the electrical supply wires. Gently pull the wires away from each other.
  • Remove old disposal: Release the mounting assembly’s snap ring if present. Twist the disposal unit and remove it from the mounting assembly.

Explanation Of Electrical/Gas Connections

It’s important to understand the different electrical connections relating to your garbage disposal. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Most garbage disposals use a standard electrical plug, which can be plugged into a nearby outlet. However, some units may require hardwiring by an electrician.
  • If you’re unsure of the electrical connections, take a photo or make a note of the current wiring setup before disconnecting. This can help you rewire the new unit more easily.
  • Make sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a new garbage disposal unit or wiring it up to a power supply.

Now that you’ve turned off the power and disconnected the plumbing, you’re ready to install the new garbage disposal unit. Stay tuned for the next section, where we’ll guide you through the process of installing your new unit.

Step 3: Remove Old Garbage Disposal Unit

How To Safely Remove Old Unit

Removing an old garbage disposal unit can be overwhelming, but this step-by-step guide will walk you through it. Safety should always be a priority when working with electrical wiring and removing old units. Here are some tips you should follow to safely and efficiently remove your old unit:

  • Turn off the power: Before starting the removal process, turn off the power supply to the garbage disposal unit. You can do this by unplugging it from the power outlet or turning off the circuit breaker dedicated to the unit.
  • Disconnect the drain pipes: Disconnect the drain pipes that are connected to the garbage disposal unit. If your unit is hardwired to the power source, disconnect the wiring.
  • Loosen the mounting assembly: You should see mounting assembly holding the unit in place. Use a screwdriver or an adjustable wrench to loosen the mounting assembly and separate the unit from the sink.
  • Remove the unit: Once you have loosened the mounting assembly, carefully remove the old garbage disposal unit and dispose of it properly.

Troubleshooting Tips For Stubborn Units

Removing an old garbage disposal unit may be an easy process for some, but it can be quite challenging for others. Here are some troubleshooting tips for stubborn units:

  • Use a wrench: If the mounting assembly appears to be stuck, use a wrench to loosen it. Some units come with a special wrench that fits into the bottom and helps release the mounting assembly.
  • Apply penetrating oil: If you have trouble loosening the mounting assembly, use a penetrating oil like wd-40 to loosen it. Make sure to wear gloves and safety glasses while using this product.
  • Tap the unit with a hammer: Gently tapping the unit with a hammer can help loosen the mounting assembly. This technique should be used as a last resort since it can damage the sink if used too hard.
  • Call a professional: If you are still having trouble removing your old garbage disposal unit, seek the help of a professional plumber.

Removing an old garbage disposal unit may seem daunting, but with this step-by-step guide, you should be able to safely and efficiently remove your old unit with ease. Remember to prioritize safety and follow the troubleshooting tips to make your removal process a breeze.

Step 4: Install New Garbage Disposal Unit

How To Install New Unit

Now that you have removed the old unit, it is time to install the new one. Take the new garbage disposal unit and follow these steps to install it:

  • Mounting assembly: First, attach the mounting assembly to the sink flange. Align the three mounting tabs with their respective slots and insert the mounting screws into the mounting rings.
  • Wiring: Connect the wiring by matching the wires color to color. Twist the bare ends of the wires together, secure them with wire nuts, and then wrap the connection with electrical tape.
  • Tightening: Place the garbage disposal onto the mounting assembly and rotate it clockwise until it locks in place. Tighten the mounting screws, but be careful not to overtighten them.
  • Testing: Turn the power back on and test the unit by running water and turning on the switch. Ensure that the unit is running smoothly and there are no leaks.

Tips For Accurate Alignment And Tightening Connections

Proper alignment and tightening of connections is essential for the smooth functioning of the new garbage disposal unit. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the flange: Ensure that the sink flange is clean and free from debris before installing the new unit. A dirty flange can cause improper alignment and lead to leaks.
  • Positioning: Position the unit correctly before tightening the mounting screws to avoid any misalignment or wobbling.
  • Use a wrench: Use a wrench to tighten the mounting assembly and other connections. Hand-tightening may not be enough and can cause leaks or a loose connection.
  • Check for leaks: After installing and testing the unit, check for leaks around the unit, sink flange, and other connections.

Screw And Gasket Placement Tips

Screw and gasket placement is crucial for securing the new unit in place and preventing leaks. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Use the right screws: Use the screws provided with the new garbage disposal unit. These screws are designed to fit perfectly with the unit and the mounting assembly.
  • Place the gasket: Place the gasket between the sink flange and the mounting assembly. Ensure that the gasket is in the correct position and that it is not twisted or damaged.
  • Apply plumber’s putty: Apply plumber’s putty around the sink flange before installing the mounting assembly. This helps to create a watertight seal and prevents leaks.
  • Tighten the screws: Tighten the mounting screws slowly and carefully, ensuring that they are not overtightened. Over-tightening can cause damage to the unit and lead to leaks.

By following these simple steps and tips, you can easily install the new garbage disposal unit and enjoy hassle-free operation for years to come.

Step 5: Test And Final Adjustments

Replacing a garbage disposal can be a diy plumbing project that saves you money. By following this easy-to-follow guide, you won’t have to seek professional plumbing services. After going through the first four steps of our easy guide to replace a garbage disposal, it’s time to test and make final adjustments to the unit.

How To Test The Unit

After installing your new garbage disposal, it’s essential to test if it is working perfectly. Here are the key points to follow:

  • Turn on the power supply of the garbage disposal from the power outlet.
  • Run water through the sink and turn on the garbage disposal switch.
  • Check to see if the blades are turning and if there is any leakage from connections.
  • Listen for any abnormal noise while it runs, signaling that something might be stuck in the unit.
  • Turn off the unit and turn off the water disposal switch, and water supply.

Tips For Final Adjustments

To ensure your garbage disposal works effectively, you need to make a few final adjustments. Here they are:

  • Check if the unit is tightly mounted and that there are no loose screws.
  • If you notice any leaks or loose connections, tighten them appropriately.
  • Run cold water through the unit while in operation to prevent overheating.
  • Ensure you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when handling the unit.

Importance Of Proper Maintenance

It’s essential to maintain the garbage disposal to ensure it runs efficiently, lasts longer, and reduces incidences of clogging. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

  • Regular cleaning of the garbage disposal and the sink basin keeps it free from bacteria, bad odors, and extends its lifespan.
  • Avoid running starchy foods like rice, pasta, and potato peelings through the garbage disposal as they can clog it.
  • Appropriate disposal of items that have hard bones, fruit pits, and other kitchen waste is crucial as they damage the blades or cause it to jam.
  • Regular and proper cleaning of the blades and the entire unit prevents the accumulation of clogs.
  • Schedule an annual maintenance check by a professional plumber to identify any potential problems you may not be aware of.

Now that your new garbage disposal is installed properly, tested, and final adjustments made, it’s time to put it to use. With proper care and maintenance, it’ll run efficiently, serve you well for years and save you money in professional-piping and maintenance costs.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Replace Garbage Disposal

How Often Should You Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals can last for up to 15 years depending on use, but you should replace yours if it starts to malfunction or if it is leaking.

Is It Easy To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Replacing a garbage disposal can be done with the right tools and instructions, but it’s best to have a professional plumber to handle the job.

What Tools Do I Need To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

You’ll need a screwdriver, pliers, putty knife, plumbers putty, a new disposal, and possibly a wrench to replace your old garbage disposal.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

The cost to replace a garbage disposal can range from $100 to $800, depending on the model you choose and whether or not you do it yourself.

Can I Replace My Own Garbage Disposal Or Should I Hire A Professional?

If you have plumbing or electrical experience, you may be able to replace your own garbage disposal. Otherwise, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to handle the job.


Now that you have learned how to replace a garbage disposal, you can tackle this task with confidence. Remember to gather the necessary tools and materials, turn off the power source, and follow the steps outlined in this guide. With a little patience and effort, you can successfully replace your old garbage disposal and enjoy a properly functioning kitchen sink once again.

It’s important to note that proper maintenance can extend the lifespan of your new garbage disposal, so make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines. Additionally, consider hiring a professional if you encounter any complications or concerns during the replacement process. By taking these steps, you can avoid the hassle and expense of frequent repairs and replacements, and enjoy a clean and efficient kitchen for years to come.