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Things to Consider Before Installing A New Disposal
Replacing or installing a new garbage disposal is fairly simple and today’s models operate a lot more smoothly and quieter than the older ones.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when replacing a garbage disposal is what horsepower (HP) will be best given your family size and needs.
Not all garbage disposal are created equal and as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for” and this definitely applies when it comes to buying a garbage disposal.
Not only will you need to decide on what HP you’ll need but also which brand will work best for you. By far the most popular and best-selling brand is the InSinkErator.
There are other popular brands on the market like Kitchenaid and Waste King but the InSinkErator brand offers the most value when you take into consideration it’s durability, quality, and price.
And last but certainly not least a major consideration is your budget. You can buy a very reliable 1/2 HP InSinkErator for about $80 with a 2-year in home warranty on Amazon.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a garbage disposal with a one year manufacturer’s warranty is $185. The average time needed to install a garbage disposal which would include cleanup is 3 hours. The hourly cost for labor will range between $20-$40 an hour with $28 being the average.
Learning how to replace your own garbage disposal could easily save you a few hundred dollars so decide on a budget and let’s get started.
Garbage Disposal Horsepower Ranges:
Continuous vs Batch Feed
You’ve decided on a budget, you’ve chosen the HP that’s best for your needs and now you need to decide on whether you want a continuous feed or a batch feed.
If you’re just replacing an existing garbage disposal then you’re most likely going to buy the type you’re currently using.
If not, here’s a quick summary on batch vs continuous disposals.
As the name implies, a batch feed allows you to feed the food waste into the disposal into batches.
The food chamber is filled up with any food scraps and a cover is placed on top. The unit won’t be activated unless the cover is in placed on top of the hopper so it’s somewhat safer than a continuous feed.
When the unit has finished grinding the food you lift the cover and repeat the process as many times as necessary until all of the food waste is gone.
As you can imagine if you have a lot of food scraps to grind this can seem like an arduous process.
Since batch feed units are not very popular among homeowners, as a result, these units are priced higher than continuous feed because of their low demand.
With the continuous feed model, food waste can be fed into the disposal while it’s in operation.
A wall switch controls a continuous feed model and since you can throw food in while the disposal is running you can grind food waste a lot faster.
These models are also less expensive and perhaps the only drawback is there is a risk that someone is your household could be hurt if they stuck their hand or finger down the disposal.
Since the sink drain is not covered when the disposal is running you must take any necessary precautions to operate it properly when in use.
- New disposal
- Work light
- Pocket knife or utility blade
- Phillips and slotted screwdriver
- Plumbers Putty
- Plastic Putty Knife
Installing A New Garbage Disposal – Step-By-Step
Step 1: Always review the safety and installation instructions that came with your garbage disposal before you begin.
Step 2: As you unpack your disposal be sure to remove any parts that may have been packed inside the unit.
Step 3: Remove flange and other fasteners from the bottom of the garbage disposal.
Step 4: You can use the included gasket that comes with your garbage disposal or plumbers putty. Plumbers Putty tends to provide a better seal and lasts longer than a gasket.
Step 5: Clean out your sink where the disposal will be installed to help prevent any debris from interferring with the seal under your drain.
Step 6: Insert the drain and press down to make sure you have a tight seal.
Step 7: Get someone to hold the drain in place above the sink while you work underneath to attach the fastening system. However, if you are installing this by yourself then you’ll need to place something heavy on top of the drain to hold it in place.
Step 8: Once the drain is in place slide the fiber gasket and the backup flange into position and attach the mounting ring. Tightening the fasteners screws down with a Phillips screwdriver. Don’t overtighten.
Step 9: If you used the Plumbers Putty instead of the gasket clean off any excess putty from around the garbage disposal’s drain with the utility knife.
Step 10: Install the rubber gasket onto the tailpipe of the garbage disposal.
Step 11: Slide the included metal flange onto the discharge tube and attached to the rubber gasket as shown.
Step 12: Place the discharge tube onto the rubber gasket that was installed inside of the tailpipe. Fasten the metal flange to the disposal to form a watertight leak-free seal between the tailpipe and discharge tube.
Step 13: At the top of the disposal you will see a small barbed pipe sticking out. If you have a dishwasher installed the small pipe sticking out is where you will connect the dishwasher drain hose.
This outlet is sealed with a knockout plug so remember to knock it out with a screwdriver and hammer if you need to.
Be careful when you remove the knockout plug from your disposal because there are some sharp pieces inside. If you don’t have a dishwasher then leave the knockout plug in place.
Many garbage disposals come with the power cord already attached. If the one you purchased does not have one you will need to purchase this item separately and connect it to the disposal. You will often hear this cord referred to as a “pigtail” and it can be purchased for a few dollars.
The pigtail can easily be connected by removing the electrical access panel on the bottom of the disposal and connecting the coordinating wires inside.
Step 13: Once the electrical work is done it’s time to install the garbage disposal. Hanging a garbage disposal can be a little challenging and a little heavy as you try and hold it up and get it aligned.
You want to align the three mounting tabs with the slide up mounts on the mounting ring. The mounting tabs will need to rotate to all three tabs and lock into position.
Step 14: Before the tabs are completely locked make sure your disposal is lined up properly and the drains are pointing in the proper direction.
Sometimes you may need to cut the plastic discharge tube depending on where your trap is underneath the sink.
Attach the garbage disposal to the P-trap and make sure the screws are good and hand tightened.
Step 15: Test your connection by running some water down your garbage disposal drain. If no leaks are present plug in the garbage disposal and test it.