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Garbage Disposal Broken? Learn How You Can Replace It On Your Own

Has the motor died on your kitchen's garbage disposal? If so, you'll want to swap that broken unit out for a new one. While changing a garbage disposal is not as easy as changing a light bulb, it can be done on your own by following a few simple steps.

Tools & Materials

Get started by grabbing the following items

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Bucket

  • Rags

  • New garbage disposal

It helps to pick a similar garbage disposal from the same manufacturer that can utilize the same mounting ring.

Old Disposal Removal

The first thing to do is disconnect your old garbage disposal from the power, which can be done by unplugging it from the power outlet if you have a plug-in model. If it is hardwired, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. Loosen all pipe connections between the disposal and its drain pipe so that the unit is free from them. If you have a dishwasher connected, loosen that connection as well. The bucket should catch water that falls from the pipes.

Use two hands to push upward on the disposal and turn the unit counterclockwise, which should remove it from its mounting ring. Place the unit upside down on top of the bucket, which will let water inside the grinding canister drain out.

If you have a garbage disposal that is hardwired, you can access the wires beneath the unit. Cut all three wires as close as you can to the old unit, since you'll be using these on the new unit.

New Disposal Installation

For wired units, start with the disposal upside down so you can access that electrical panel. It will require that you strip the wires and attach them to the garbage disposal, and then put the electrical cover back over the connection box. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions to wire the unit properly.

If you are connecting a dishwasher, now is the time to remove any plug that is covering the area where the hose will attach. The new garbage disposal should secure directly to the old mounting ring. Push the disposal on the ring and turn the unit clockwise until it clicks into place. A seal should form without the need to use plumbers' putty.

Reconnect the hose from the dishwasher, the pipe going to the drain, and you should be all set. Plug the unit back in and test it to make sure that it is working properly.

If this seems too difficult for you to do on your own, contact a local plumber, like those at Cove Plumbing Inc, to handle the installation for you.