How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

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Garbage disposal is an electrically powered device, fixed beneath a kitchen sink. Usually, it is installed between the trap and the sink’s drain. If your Garbage disposal has some issues, it would be prudent to replace it as soon as possible. Sometimes, doing this can be a bit challenging if you are doing it for the first time. Luckily, in this article, we shall learn how to replace a garbage disposal suitably.

So, what are the steps on how to replace a garbage disposal?

1. Begin by removing the original disposal unit

a) Turn off the power to your garbage disposal 

Identify your home’s main circuit breaker then flip the corresponding switch to off position. Subsequently, you will be in a position to operate safely without bothering about unexpectedly getting a harmful shock. Note that this device has a live current flowing through it all the time when the power is on. This is precisely why you will need to switch it off before replacing it.

b) Identify your garbage disposal

Start by opening the door under your sink and keenly observe under the drain. Certainly, you will notice a large cylindrical object between the plumbing pipes and the bottom of the drain. This is the exactly the garbage disposal unit that you will be replacing.

Always take note of the model and the design of your disposal. Replacing your disposal with the same model will make things much easier. Indeed, it will just be like removing the current unit and fitting in a new one.

c) Detach the discharge tube

Find the pipe stretching from the part of the disposal right into the ground plumbing. Again, loosen any fasteners or nuts at the pipe’s connection section and give it a sturdy tug.

✔️ The discharge tube is meant to carry ground food waste products out of the disposal.

✔️ Traditionally, garbage disposals were connected to the dishwasher water supply through a second tube. However, this can also be disconnected using the same procedure.

d) Free the original disposal from the mounting ring 

Right at the top of your unit, you should observe a thin metal ring having 3 distinct lug or projecting arms. Hold the lugs with one hand while twisting the whole ring counterclockwise. You should twist it counterclockwise approximately 1.5 inches to remove the unit. Conveniently, set it aside on a sheet of unfolded rag or newspaper to avoid making a mess.

✔️ Notably, garbage disposal tend to be quite heavy (some weighing up to 15 pounds). Therefore, be set to catch and hold the unit as it comes away from its mounting ring

✔️ It is good to put some paint cans, a stack of phone books or some wood scraps under the device. This will work as a support base.

e) Detach the disposal from its power supply 

Try to turn your unit over and find a square or a round faceplate on its underside. In case you are not familiar with it, this is the electrical housing’s cover. Just unscrew the faceplate and slide the copper ground wire above the green screw. Subsequently, pinch the plastic wire jointers to separate the wires from the central power supply.

✔️ In some disposals, you might find a pair, needle-nosed pliers. This is for releasing wire connectors that are quite small to unclip using the hand.

Also Read: Best Kitchen Soap Dispenser

2. Substituting the worn-out mounting hardware

a) First, pull off the present mounting ring 

Peel off the rubber snap ring on the underside the mounting ring that is keeping in place. Ideally, the mounting ring should just slide off by its own.

✔️ In case there is a distinct gasket fixed above the mounting ring, ensure you remove it too.

✔️ Try to keep your current mounting hardware in case it appears to be in a good shape. Normally, this will quicken the installation of the new disposal.

b) Extricate the nut binding the rest of the assembly

Look right under the sink flange your drain discharges into the garbage disposal. Here, you will notice a circular plastic piece that appears like the mounting ring. Embed the tip of a screwdriver into at least one of the lugs on the piece. After that, twist it in an anticlockwise direction. Extract the nut away then set it aside.

c) Separate the sink flange

What is the sink flange? This is the rounded metal ring that encircles the drain opening. Push or wiggle on its bottom from underneath, then stand up to lift it out from the top. Again, the original flange can go into your pile components destined for disposal.

d) Fit the brand

New sink flange- use a ring of pure plumber’s putty around the sides of the bottom of the flange. This is the surface that will be against the sink basin. Further, fix the thinner end into the drain hole and press the flange securely into place. Preferably, hold it for about 30 seconds or a minute as the putty starts to set up.

e) Attach the brand

New mounting assembly- Doing it in a reverse way, push a rubber gasket over the base of the needed sink flange. Secondly, slide the other metal flange. Set the new mounting ring last then embed screws into each of the exposed screw slots. Keep the assemblies in place using one hand as you tighten up the screws on the lower flange.

3. Fitting the new disposal

installing a garbage disposal

a) Tighten the new disposal to the mounting ring 

Elevate the replacement system into place. While doing so, ensure you align the upper side with the lower margin of the mounting ring. Rotate the disposal to thread it into the visible grooves. Accordingly, hold the screwdriver into one of the metal lugs. Eventually, twist the mounting ring clockwise till you feel the disposal has locked in place.

b) Reconnect the electrical wires

Here; you will need to unscrew the faceplate on the underneath of the new unit.

Should the colors on the wires be matched while reattaching them?

Yes. You need to match the wires on the power source to those in the housing for the electric disposal. After matching them, you can join them using plastic wire nuts.

c) Reattach the discharge tube 

Subsequently; adjust the tip of the tube with the flip on the part of the new disposal unit. Finally, drive it till sits flush over the hole and toughen any nuts or other kinds of fasteners.

d) Cut the discharge tube as required

In case you have updated to bigger disposal or new model, you might need to make some adjustments. Actually, the discharge tube might not be the suitable length to attach to the ground plumbing plug. Favorably, this is a simple operation and you do it quite easily. Simply identify the point on the tube where it should align with your drain pipe. Lastly, trim it to size using a hacksaw.


Replacing a garbage disposal system can be a Do-It-Yourself task. Indeed, you can save some few coins by purchasing the necessary components and doing the replacement on your own. If you are keen enough to follow these guidelines, you will discover calling a plumber is not inevitable. However, if you find that a bit hard, you can still seek your plumber’s assistance.

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