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How to Install a Garbage Disposal

It’s easy to get overzealous and rush through a garbage disposal installation, but it’s important to slow down and take the time to go step by step for a proper disposal installation. If you don’t follow these steps carefully, you may create a larger plumbing problem for yourself. And remember, for a novice, replacing a garbage disposal can easily turn into an all day project. But an experienced Roto-Rooter plumber can do the job quickly and professionally - guaranteed. However, if you want to take on the task yourself, here are the typical steps:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker for your kitchen.

  2. Place a bucket under the P-trap (the J-shaped trap underneath your sink) and disconnect the kitchen sink drainpipes. Remove the basket strainer and any excess plumber’s putty or caulking that may have been used to seal the strainer to the sink bowl where you intend to install the disposal.

  3. You will need to purchase a garbage disposal flange kit if your new unit didn’t come with one. Apply plumber’s putty around the flange and press it into place. Put a washcloth in the sink and place the disposal on the flange to keep it from moving.

  4. Under the sink, stack the rubber gasket against the bottom of the sink, then the mounting bracket and snap the snap ring into place.  

  5. Tighten the three bolts on the mounting bracket until snug.

  6. Use a hammer to knock out the drain plug from the dishwasher drain hole on the disposal. DO NOT knock it out if there isn’t a dishwasher in the kitchen.

  7. Remove the wire cover plate and connect the electrical cord to the power supply. Push the wires back in and reattach the plate.

  8. To connect the drain, place the gasket in the discharge outlet. Attach the discharge tube with the flange and bolts.

  9. Align the three tabs with the mounting ring. Use a wrench to turn and lock the tabs over the ridges. Connect the dishwasher drain. The discharge pipe should be lined up properly, then you can reconnect your drainpipes.

  10. Next, test the disposal.

There are also plenty of things you can do after the disposal installation to make sure your garbage disposal runs smoothly and operates reliably for a long time.

  • Keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour some dish soap inside and let it run for about a minute with cold water after usage.

  • Run your garbage disposal regularly. Using it often prevents rust and corrosion.

  • Rinse food down with a strong flow of water,

  • Don’t put glass, plastic, metal or paper down the disposal.

  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your disposal or drains.

  • Don’t grind large animal bones or expandable foods such as rice and pasta.

  • Don’t put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They can amass in drains and pipes, eventually causing clogs.

  • Don’t pour in bleach or caustic drain cleaners. These can corrode some types of pipes and some of the parts inside your disposal unit.

  • Ice can also be used to clean your garbage disposal, as it sharpens the grind ring and impellers while loosening grease buildup.

  • To reduce odors, take a lemon or orange, peel it, remove the seeds and toss it into the running disposal along with a cup of ice and a sprinkle of baking soda.

If these steps seem daunting, consult a professional plumber to help you install  any new plumbing fixtures or repair any old ones. Roto-Rooter is always available—simply call 800-768-6911.

Why Choose Roto-Rooter?

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