How To – Choosing and Installing a Garbage Disposal

Be Sociable, Share! this HowTo we will remove an old frozen Badger Garbage disposal and replace it with a new 1/2 horsepower stainless steel garbage disposal.

    When choosing a garbage disposal there are a few considerations that you must follow for good operation.

    The Physical size of the garbage disposal is important because some homes and apartments do not have room for larger models that may have extra features. Always take measurements of height and width of the grinder assembly before you make your order. Most residential garbage disposals should have fittings that can be adjusted to fit attachments from old models.

    Horsepower is another consideration when picking a garbage disposal. If you are happy with the performance of your old model when it was working then you should stay with that horsepower disposal or possibly upgrade by 1/4 to 1/3rd horsepower. Commercial grade disposals should not be used in residential installs and the largest horsepower disposals will normally be too powerful for home use. Personally I would suggest that you stay under 1 horsepower for normal or even heavy home use. If you find things are not getting ground up well enough for this size disposal you really need to reconsider what you are trying to force down your sink. and Vibration is important for many home owners and with larger disposals will come more noise. If you have a standard stainless steel sink you should stick with a half horsepower or maybe less disposal because of the vibration. If you have a cast iron or heavy enamel sink you may be able to install up to 1 horsepower because these sinks are more ridged.

    Sound deadening means a larger casing on the disposal unit and although you might want a quieter disposal it is important that you measure and make sure it will fit correctly in your sink cabinet.

    Materials used in construction of your garbage disposal are very important for the extended life of the unit. After owning a few cheaper models I can say it is well worth purchasing a disposal that has a full stainless steel grinding unit. Many models will have stainless steel impellers but a galvanized disk. Eventually the galvanized parts will lose their rust protection and your unit will rust and freeze making it inoperable and un-fixable.

    Electrical Connections and Electrical considerations may dictate the size of motor and horsepower you can support. A one horsepower unit will often require 7 to 8 amps which is about about half of a 15amp circuit. A half horsepower unit will often come in around 4 to 5 amps which is one third of a full circuit.

    For the Unit to operate properly you may need to install a dedicated circuit which means running a single wire from your breaker box to the unit. Although you will need to install a wall switch for operation no other appliances or outlets will be connected to this circuit.

    If you were to install a 1 horsepower unit on a circuit that also fed your outlets you may find that having a toaster oven, small grill or other appliance running and some lighting plugged in will trip your breaker when you turn on the garbage disposal.

    You must consider the expense of adding an additional dedicated circuit if you are upgrading to a higher horsepower or installing a unit where you did not have one before. If an electrician is needed the cost could be a few hundred dollars.


    Plumbing Connections

    If you are replacing a garbage disposal then the existing plumbing connections to your waste pipe should support any changes between models or manufacturers.

    If you are installing a new disposal where you never had one you will need to buy a connection kit from your local plumbing supply center for about $10.

    If you want to connect your dishwasher to your garbage disposal you will need a sink vent, supply lines and you will need a hole saw to cut a hole in your sink top for the vent. Other then the hole saw attachment for your drill these parts are sold in kits in your plumbing or appliance store.

    The tools to install the vent and waste line connections are pretty basic. You will need a hacksaw to cut the pipe to length, tape measure and a screw driver to connect the hose clamps.
















    Installing your new Garbage Disposal so now that you have planned and prepared your electrical and plumbing for your new garbage disposal we can start the install process.

    In this demo we will be replacing a frozen badger brand garbage disposal with a Waste King half horsepower unit.

    The Badger unit was ok while it lasted but like mentioned above it did not have a full stainless grinding unit so after about 5 years it rusted and froze. Although the motor is probably still ok the grinding unit is beyond repair and no amount of force can break the rust free.

    First we need to remove the old unit. to your circuit breaker and turn off the power to the garbage disposal. DO NOT RELY ON TURNING THE POWER OFF AT THE SWITCH.. Garbage disposals are dangerous and you do not want an accident happening when you are working with an appliance designed to grind up meat and bone so turn the power off at the circuit breaker.

    Most units are hard wired, meaning the wire from the wall goes directly into the appliance rather then to an outlet using a plug.

    Depending on the positioning of the wire you will have to decide if you have enough room to remove the supply wires before removing the disposal from the sink. On our unit there is enough extra wire that we can remove the unit from the sink and then remove the wires.















    To remove the unit from the sink first remove the dishwasher supply line from the disposal.

    The hose is held in place by a hose clamp and will probably be stuck to the unit supply pipe. To remove the rubber hose do not pull on it. First twist the hose on the pipe and this will break it free then you can try pulling the hose off the pipe. If you have problems getting it free slight prying with a flat screwdriver may help but do not damage the hose. You will need to reuse it to connect to the new disposal. you can remove the waste line from the unit and it is a good idea to have a small tray to catch any water that may be in the line. Simply unscrew the pipe and pull back the compression washer far enough that the connection is loose. If you can slip the pipe out of the connection do so carefully and expect some water spillage if not you will need to unmount the unit from the sink to get the pipe free from the connection. Save all the parts you may need them for the new unit.

    Disconnecting the disposal unit from the sink mount is pretty easy. Although all designs are slightly different they all rely on the same method.

    To mount the unit to the sink basin the manufacturer provides a short piece of pipe that inserts through the top of the sink. On the bottom of that pipe is a mounting flange that accepts a twist on connection ring on the disposal unit.

    This mounting ring will need to be turned about an inch to unlock it from the mounting pipe attached to the sink basin. Some designs allow you to do this by hand and others will require that you tap the ring with a screw driver and hammer.

    Once the connection is free be careful that the unit does not drop off the sink because it is rather heavy. You definitely do not want your head under the unit or inside the cabinet or it won’t be pretty.

    Once the disposal is removed from the mounting pipe it will still have some water in it. You should place it in a plastic bag or bucket after you have removed any remaining electrical wires or pieces of the waste pipe needed for the new unit.

    To remove the mounting pipe you unscrew the large mounting nut under the sink. Threads are usually pretty long so it will take some time. If you are making an exact replacement of the same brand and model you can skip this part and mount the new disposal to the old mounting pipe if it is in good condition.

    Before you are finished you will want to screw wire nuts on each of the bare electrical wires.. don’t twist them together just put one nut on the white and black wires and the unshielded copper ground wire can be left as is as it is not a shock hazard.

    Mounting your new Garbage Disposal

    Mounting the new disposal is just the opposite of removing it. You will want to read the directions closely as to how to insert the mounting pipe and where the rubber gaskets are located.

    Some mounting pipes require use of plumbers putty while others use a rubber gasket. If your old unit has plumbers putty remaining on the sink basin you will want to wipe it off with a paper towel. If the new unit you are installing has a rubber gasket you normally wont use plumbers putty and if it remains on the sink basin it probably will cause a leak. .. basically you use a gasket or putty but not both.

    Install the mounting ring below the sink to make the connection secure.

    Prepare the new disposal for installing by following the manufacture’s directions.

    Our unit can be hardwired but comes with a plugin wire attached. To hard wire the unit we will need to remove the bottom cover and disconnect the cord from inside.

    The manufacture attaches the wire with barrel connectors that are crimped. You can use a pair of pliers to uncrimp the connection so you can remove the wire or cut the wires free. Remember to keep as much of the wire that is attached to the motor as you can.

    You will need to strip about a half inch of wire then use your wire nuts to make the connection within the disposal. This can be a tight situation so you need to take care and time making this connection.

    Install a stress relief connector on the opening where the wire passes through then insert the ends of the wires through it until the insulation is just at the opening. Screw down the connector to make the connection tight so the wires will not slip.

    The ground wire is connected to the green nut and must be looped at the end to provide a good ground.

    The red and the black wires need to be connected with wire nuts. The black wire of the disposal goes to the black wire from your wall and the red wire goes to the white wire. If you have a black and white wire within the disposal then the white wire goes to the white wire. Follow your manufacturer’s directions.

    Attach the bottom plate and the electrical connection is complete.
















    Preparing the Plumbing Connections

    If you will be connecting your dishwasher to your garbage disposal then the first thing you want to do is remove the knockout plug in the side of the disposal. A small plastic plug is placed where the pipe will attach and it needs to be removed by tapping it into the disposal from the outside with a screwdriver and hammer. Before you continue make sure you get the plug out of the inside of the disposal grinder area.

    next you need to attach the waste pipe and washing machine connector. These pipes are normally sealed with a rubber gasket and screwed into place. Secure them both but do not tighten so hard that you crack the pipe flange.

    Install the plastic nut and compression ring on the disposal’s waste pipe end first the nut then the ring with the angled edge towards the exit of the pipe.

    Now you can test fit the disposal on the sink basin pipe. If the connection to the waste line fits correctly during the test fit then just go ahead and complete the connection.
















    It will take a little muscle but position the disposal on the basin pipe.
    In one motion you need to slide the exit waste pipe from the disposal into the waste pipe that runs into your kitchen floor AND slide the disposal up and on to the mounting pipe.

    It is slightly difficult so take your time. Hopefully you remembered how it came off to make this go easier.

    Turn the locking ring to secure the disposal so it can hang on its own weight

    If you can get the waste pipe aligned correctly and no cutting needs to be done then you can go ahead and tighten the waste pipe connection lightly for now.

    Now you can install the hose from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal. Remember that the hose clamp goes on before the hose is attached.

    A little liquid soap on the inside of the hose will make it slip on much easier if you are having trouble.

    Once the hose is connected tighten the hose clamp and to make it easy on yourself make sure you position the clamp screw in a way that you can access it easy.

    Now that everything is in place go back and tighten the wast line nut to secure the connection. Don’t tighten so hard that you damage the threads this is not a pressure connection it just needs to be tight enough that things do not move or get loose when the disposal is running.

    Testing your disposal

    You can now turn on the circuit breaker and run your disposal without anything in it just to test the electrical connection and motor operation.

    Before you decide to run a tray of ice or food through your disposal you should fill the sink basin with water and let it sit for 30 minutes to make sure there are no leaks. Once you are sure the sink gasket is not leaking drain the water and watch for any leaks in the waste pipes.

    A good way to find leaks is to place a dry paper towel under the sink and pipes. This will let you spot leaks easier.

    Once you are sure the disposal is not going to leak on you fill the sink again with water then run the disposal while the water drains. This will give you an idea of any vibration you might get later.

    You can now put your disposal into use.

    Final Note

    The most important part of installing a new garbage disposal is the electrical service. You never want to install a new disposal where you did not have one by simply splicing in a line and switch off a current circuit without understanding the load the motor will place on the circuit.

    Sizing your disposal for your use is also important. Don’t go so big that you feel you have a monster under your sink that vibrates and is not nice to use every day.

    Keep your disposal clean after use by running plenty of water through it. This will reduce rust and clogs.

    Run old ice from your ice maker through the disposal with a full sink of water every once in a while to clean out old debris.

    Bleach can be used to remove odors but you must wash the bleach from the metal parts after your disposal is clean. If it remains on the metal it will corrode it.

    Never complete this task without reading your manufacturer’s instructions and understanding every step they give you. If you have question call or email before you begin.

    To be forthcoming we do not suggest Badger or Waste King or favor one over the other however in this case it was cheaper to install a stainless steel model from Waste King then a similar sized and featured model from Badger. Total Savings was about $35 which may not make a difference for you. However Waste King does lack one feature found on the Badger the under sink jam hex key. If you have jams you need to use the broomstick in the opening method which kinda really sucks.

    Our selection was on price and stainless steel grinder unit.. your selection will be on other options. So far this unit seems to work well however it does vibrate more and that could be due to the extra horsepower of the new unit.




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