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Nothing is more frustrating than when your appliances stop working for you when they are needed most. One kitchen appliance that seems to be used all the time is the garbage disposal. If your disposal stops working the first thing you should try is press the reset button or clean out any clogs. However, if you have already determined that you need a new garbage disposal, you can install one without much difficulty. Here is a helpful guide to help you change your old, broken appliance out for a working new one.

Removing the Old Unit

Turn things off

This is the most important first step. In order to keep things safe while you are working under the sink, the power must be off. It is best to completely shut off the breaker to this part of the kitchen, ensuring the power to the garbage disposal is off. You should also turn off the water by turning your sink’s hot and cold water valves off. Usually these are located beneath your sink in the cabinet. Next, find the cover at the bottom of the disposal and take it off, loosen the ground screw and remove both of the wire connectors.

Remove all connections

The dishwasher hose clamp needs to be loosened so that you can disconnect the two parts. Pull the hose from the fitting and undo the drain crosspiece as well. At this point you should be ready to disconnect the unit and remove it. To do this, be sure you are holding the disposal as you rotate the mounting ring counterclockwise until it becomes unattached. The retaining ring will then have three bolts that need to be loosened to pull it off. Push the drain out up through the hole in the sink and scrape or rub away any remaining caulk or putty.

Installing the New Unit

Install the new drain assembly

You will need some plumber’s putty for the first step. Simply roll it until you have a ten inch long piece that is about a half inch thick. Stick this piece all along the underside of the drain part and push it down firmly in the sink, holding until it is secure. Grab the cardboard washer and backup ring and slide it up onto the underside of the sink hole onto the drain spud. Follow that up with the mounting flange and retaining ring. Snap the retaining ring onto the drain spud and tighten the bolts until the putty in the sink hole squeezes out and the entire assembly feels snugly in place.

Prepare the Disposer

Place the new disposal unit on its side and thread the old box connector into the base of the new disposer. Grab the circuit wires and conduit, bring them into the connector and then secure it. Join the circuit wires with the lead wires (with black to black and white to white) and put one colored grouping into a wire connector and the other groupings in the other connector. Bind the ground wire under the green ground screw and put the cover on. If you also intend to hook your dishwasher to the disposal, you will need to unplug the dishwasher fitting by poking it out with a screwdriver and then reaching in to remove it. If you do not plan on hooking it up, simply leave the plug in place.

Install the Unit

Lift the disposer to engage the tabs of the mounting ring, slipping a screwdriver into one of the tab slots and rotate clockwise. Continue to rotate it until you feel the unit bottom out. Next, you will attach the drain outlet by fitting the rubber washer over the flanged end of the plastic crosspiece. Slide the metal flange on, entering from the opposite end and tipping until it fits into its slot in the disposer. Then fasten it with a bolt through the flange’s top. The last thing to do is to take the crosspiece and trim it to the right length to connect it to the drain tee, installing the P-trap.

Just like that, you have installed a new garbage disposal. You should always turn the water on to ensure there are no leaks and then turn the power back on to make sure everything runs as it should. If you have any more problems, consult the directions in the box or call a plumber you trust.

When she isn’t showing off her DIY knowledge to help friends out, Amanda Peters is working on projects around her house and writing on topics ranging from home style and décor to do-it-yourself repairs and plumbing advice.


Questions answered in this post

How do you fix a broken garbage disposal?

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