Do it yourself: How to buy and install a garbage disposal in your home

Install a Garbage Disposal

Many American homes utilize a garbage disposal, as they rely on the machine to grind up food scraps. This helps avoid clogged pipes and damaged plumbing. A garbage disposal works by using centrifugal force to make food particles enter a grinder. Insinkerator explains how contrary to popular belief, a typical garbage disposal doesn’t use any blades, but rather a grinding ring that virtually liquifies foods. The liquefied food then flows through your waste pipe to a water treatment plant or to your septic system.

When you are accustomed to using a disposal, living without one can be tough. Sometimes garbage disposals die of old age, sometimes people put the wrong items down the sink and that kills the machine, and some units die for other reasons. Whatever the reason is that your garbage disposal needs replacing, we can help.

Our guide to how to install a garbage disposal includes instructions on how to replace a broken disposal, garbage disposal tips, as well as our picks for some of the best garbage disposals you can buy in 2018.

Things you will need

  • New garbage disposal
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Exacto knife
  • Bucket
  • Rags

How to install a garbage disposal

Step 1a: Exam your old unit and choose a new disposal. Look under your sink and take note of the size and voltage of your current disposal, its horsepower, how it is connected, and how much space you have for a new unit. As you look at your old machine, it’s wise to also think about its performance (when it was functional), and ask yourself: Was this unit powerful enough, or do I need more power? If you think you need a more powerful machine, you may want to consider a unit with more horsepower. Plumbing Pro recommends a one-half horsepower (HP) unit for light use, three-fourths HP for normal home use, and one HP for heavy home use or light commercial use. If you have limited space or other limitations, make sure to consider those factors when shopping for a new garbage disposal.

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