Installing a Garbage Disposal

Why pay someone to install a garbage disposal? Here are step-by-step instructions for doing it yourself.

Materials and Tools:

View of Sink Pipes

View of Sink Pipes

Help keep your kitchen drain free of clogged food particles by installing a garbage disposal.

Help keep your kitchen drain free of clogged food particles by installing a garbage disposal.

Phillips- and flat-head screwdrivers
large and small slip-joint pliers
measuring tape
PVC primer and glue
plumber's putty
PVC saw
safety glasses

The garbage disposal will require a dedicated electrical switch and power supply. You'll probably want to have these installed by a professional electrician.


1. Determine whether you have enough room underneath your sink to install the disposal.

2. Turn off the water and remove all of the existing drainpipes except for the pipe coming from the wall.

3. Remove the large nut from the sink strainer where you will be installing the garbage disposal, and push the strainer basket up through the drain hole.

4. Clean the area well.

5. Place a rubber seal on the underside of the drain flange. If your new disposal doesn't include a rubber seal, you'll need to use plumber's putty. Push the drain flange into place in the drain hole.

6. Place a rubber seal on the drain flange on the underside of the sink.

7. Attach the metal backup ring, flat side up.

8. Loosely attach the mounting ring with three screws. Push the mounting ring up, and secure it with the snap ring. Tighten the mounting screws a little at a time until the assembly is tight and even.

9. If your disposal will be connected to the dishwasher drain, use a hammer and screwdriver to remove the knock out plug.

10. Turn off the power to the disposal at the circuit breaker box.

11. Remove the plate on the back of the unit.

12. Feed the electrical cable through the strain relief sleeve into the disposal.

13. Connect the electrical wires. Connect the ground wire to the green screw on the disposal, and splice white to white and black to black. Secure the connections with wire nuts, firmly tighten the strain relief sleeve, and replace the cover plate.

14. Push the disposal into the mounting bracket, and turn the locking ring until all three housing pins catch. Turn the locking ring as tightly as possible. Use slip-joint pliers to finish tightening the locking ring; you should be able to hear the pins snap into place.

15. Attach the 90-degree disposal drainpipe to the unit.

16. Reattach the tailpiece to the other bowl of the sink.

17. Attach an adjustable coupling to the main drainpipe.

18. Attach P-traps both to the disposal and to the tailpiece from the other sink bowl. Adjust the P-traps so that they are level with each other, and rotate the disposal so that the pipes are aligned properly.

19. Use straight pipes and a "T" fitting to connect both drains into one line, and route the drainpipes into the main drain line. Use a PVC saw to cut pipes to the proper length. You may need to use angled fittings to align the drainpipes properly.

20. Dry fit the pieces of the drain assembly, and then secure them in place with PVC glue. Spread the PVC glue on the outside of the pipe and the inside of the fitting. Set the pieces in place, and give them 1/4 turn. Hold them in place for approximately 20 seconds to allow the glue to set. PVC glue melts the PVC material to create a strong weld.

21. Tighten all adjustable connectors, and connect the dishwasher drain line.

22. Turn the water back on and run water through the disposal for a few minutes to check for leaks. If there aren't any, then turn the power back on. Your disposal will probably include a jam breaker wrench. As its name implies, the jam-breaker wrench can be inserted into a hole in the bottom of the unit and rotated to loosen a jammed disposal.

Tip: Feed a lemon into the disposal once every month to keep it smelling fresh. Feed small ice cubes into the disposal to keep the blades clean and sharp.

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