How do I Install a Garbage Disposal?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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When preparing to install a garbage disposal, it is a good idea to walk through all the steps associated with the task. This includes assembling all the tools necessary to complete the task, prepare the work area, and test the new disposal once it is installed. For people who are facing this task but have no prior experience with installing a garbage disposal, here is what you need to do.

One of the first things you should understand is that the task of putting in a disposal will be much easier if there are two people involved. For this reason, it is a good idea to arrange ahead of time for a friend or family member to be on hand. If the individual knows a little about how to install a garbage disposal, that is all the better. However, even someone who can hand you tools at the proper time and help balance the unit during installation will be a major asset during the process.

With help secured, you can turn your attention to gathering your tools and supplies. Along with the disposal unit, you will also need a length of board, crimping scissors, electrical tape and covers, a small jack, hammer, drill, handsaw, and assorted screwdrivers and wrenches. There is also the possibility you will need additional tools, based on the design of the unit you are installing. Consult any instructions that come with the unit before you attempt to install a garbage disposal.


Because the disposal unit will require a power source in order to function properly, there is the need to run wiring to the area under the sink. Unless you are a certified electrician, it is best spend the money and have the job done professionally. If you prefer to stay away from the electrical side of the task altogether, have the electrician connect the wiring between the power source and the garbage disposal. This will make it much easier for you to manage the remainder of the installation process on your own.

With the unit properly connected to the power source, you can turn your attention to the actual installation of the unit. Being to install a new garbage disposal by removing the section of plumbing directly under the drain. This will allow you to use the jack and the cut section of wood to maneuver the unit into position and connect it to the drain. Adjust the platform on the jack until the unit is in place, then use the wrenches to connect the unit to both the water pipes and the bottom of the sink’s drain. Make sure each of the connections are secure and watertight.

In order to line the disposal perfectly with the drain, it will likely be necessary to have your assistant peer into the drain from above and help you bring the mouth of the disposal and the drain opening into perfect alignment. Since this may require inserting a hand into the drain to guide the mouth into place, make sure the power is off while you install a garbage disposal.

Many disposal units will come with a retaining ring that makes it possible to turn and lock the disposal and the drain in sync. Turning the ring with a wrench will help seal the connection. However, it is important to note that some designs use other methods to make the connection. Before you begin to install a garbage disposal, always sort through all the supplies that come with the unit and make sure you understand how to use them as part of the installation process.

For the final task in the installation, restore the power flow and test the unit. Run water into the drain while also dumping in some small amount of leftovers into the disposal. If the unit does not appear to have any problem handling the leftovers and the water flow does not back up into the sink, there is a good chance you are done. Remember to check under the sink for any apparent links at the points of connection and tighten them as needed.



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