How To Complete A DIY Garbage Disposal Installation

There comes a time in nearly every homeowner’s life that they wonder how to go about completing a garbage disposal installation. Will you be able to handle such a task? It certainly would be nice to not have to unclog your sink all of the time, right?

Chances are, if you live in some mansion in Los Angeles or in a beach house in Malibu, you probably have the money to hire someone to install your system for you.

However, if you live the way that the majority of the population does, this is a job you will probably complete yourself. It may not be the most glamorous project but installing a garbage disposer is certainly something that you can handle without paying someone else to do it.

There are various cost-effective models which you can find online – see the exact photos so you can choose the right unit for your kitchen. Having said that, you don’t want to have to deal with a garbage disposal repair – follow these steps to the tee, and you won’t need to!

Step 1. Disconnect and then remove the current waste assembly that is there from the trap to the flange. Be prepared and have a bucket and towels ready to catch all of the debris. Next, you can remove the mounting assembly of the disposal so you can install your new flange through the sink hole. Before you drop it into place, apply the plumber’s putty to the outer edges. Be careful – you do not want jammed garbage disposal.

Step 2. Place a heavy object like a phone book on the flange to hold it in place while you attach the upper mounting under the sink. All brands are a little different for this step so rather than have you read through a comparison of different manufacturers, just follow the instructions that came with the unit for this part of the installation. Slide the snap ring in place and tighten up the mounting screws until there is a nice tight seal up against the sink.

Step 3. Attach the discharge tube before you attach the actual disposal to the mounting. Inspect the P-trap and if there is any hardened waste present, clean it out. Next, you will prepare the dishwasher drain connection, which usually requires knocking the drain opening plug out of the nipple and then attaching the tip of the dishwasher drain hose to it.

Step 4. Perhaps you chose an incinerator garbage disposal? If so, position it underneath your mounting assembly, and make sure that the tabs are lined up properly to slide over the tracks. Insert the top into the assembly and then rotate the lower ring until all three of the tabs lock firmly over the ridges and into the ring. Use a screwdriver or a wrench to tighten the ring up once you are confident with the placement.

Step 5. Rotate your disposer, so the discharge tube is aligned perfectly with the drain trap. Keep in mind that you will have to re-plumb the waist line if you have a double-bowl sink. You may only need an extension tube, but in some cases, you may need an entire assembly replacement.

Step 6. Now you are at the end of your garbage disposal leaking installation, and all you need to do is connect the power. You can run a line yourself if you know how or should have an electrician come in and quickly install a switch receptacle if you aren’t qualified – wiring garbage disposal is an important step. Alternatively, you can even buy a remote control or air switch if your unit didn’t come with a plug.

Safety Considerations?

There is a lot of bad press on these units due to the implications on safety. You know what, you have to be careful – to be honest, a lot of the cases you would hear about are often through people putting tools into the units. Alternatively, there are often cases of children who have simply never been told how dangerous the units are. There are specific safety switches you can purchase having said that so that the units can simply not be turned on by an infant.

There is also a flood of cheap, unsafe units flooding the market – often, these are only available online. Now I am all for buying a recommended brand online, but I want to stress being very cautious about buying unknown brands online. The safety specifications are unlikely to be anywhere near the standards required in the US, for example. Tread with caution is my honest advice here.

If you are interested in reading more about unsafe garbage disposal leaking installation units – CNN recently wrote an article on the implications and a lawsuit that followed one example.