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How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

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If your garbage disposal is starting to give you problems, it may be time for a replacement. Replacing the unit yourself is a simple project that those with a few mechanical skills can do in an hour or so.

Before you begin, make sure you have the correct tools on hand. Doing the job correctly can save you time and money in the long run.

Installing the Drain Flange

Drain flanges are vital to your home’s plumbing system, preventing leaks around drains. They are also simple to maintain, usually needing only a light scrub to keep them looking new.

The flange is typically made of metal and comes in several sizes to match various fixtures. Replacing drain flanges as needed is a good idea, mainly if you regularly use corrosive materials in the sink.

To install the drain flange on your garbage disposal, remove the old one by disconnecting all drain connections. Then, loosen all the mounting screws and pry off the snap ring that secures the garbage disposal to the mounting bracket.

Once you have removed the old flange, wrap a small rope of plumber’s putty (about half an inch thick) around the lower edge of the new flange. Then, insert the flange into the drain hole and press it firmly into the putty.

Mounting the Disposal

Before you mount your new garbage disposal on your sink, ensure the drain pipe is appropriately lined up with the P trap and securely connected to the baffle tee using plumbing slip nuts. Then, turn off the circuit breaker in the kitchen or unplug the disposal’s power cord.

Once the drain flange and the baffle tee are in place, you can install the disposal mounting assembly. It has three screws, a mounting ring, and a gasket to create a water-tight seal between the flange and sink.

After installing these, wrap a rope of plumber’s putty around the flange and press it into the drain hole beneath your sink. Then, find something heavy to weigh down the flange and keep it in place while you attach the mounting ring under the sink.

The lower mounting ring has three tabs that engage with grooves in the top of your disposal; line these up and turn the call until the tabs lock into place. Next, tighten the upper mounting ring and connect the unit to the flange.

Reconnecting the Wires

A garbage disposal must be connected to a power source before working correctly. If yours doesn’t come with one, you must run a power cord from a wall receptacle controlled by a switch.

You may be able to do this yourself, but if it’s more complex or you have a plumbing issue, you might want to hire a licensed plumber or electrician. They can also help you hardwire your disposal into your home’s electrical system and install a switch to control its operation.

You can reconnect the wires of your new garbage disposal by running an electrical cable through the access hole at the bottom. You will need to follow the instructions from your manufacturer for this step.

Resetting the Disposal

Almost all garbage disposals have a button designed to reset the unit if it gets clogged, overheats, or something goes wrong. When this happens, the red button pops out about a quarter of an inch and needs to be pushed back in before it can start working again.

The first step is to unplug the disposal and locate its power switch. It should be located where it’s plugged into the electrical outlet underneath your sink.

If the disposal hums when you flip it on but doesn’t grind anything, some blockage in the flywheel or impeller plate can be dislodged by spinning the motor or grinding plates.

Try manually rotating the motor and impeller plate or cleaning out any clogs with baking soda, vinegar, or hot water to see if this solves the problem. If these methods don’t work, it’s time to replace the disposal.