How to Install a Garbage Disposer—Part 5

Part 5: Install New Disposer Throat and Finish Preparing New Disposer

Included in this video: Installing the new disposer throat on the kitchen sink and installing the tailpiece on the new disposer. 

Video Transcript–Part 5: Finish Preparing Disposer and Install Disposer Throat

1.  Install top flange portion of disposer throat

    a.  Make a “rope” of plumbers putty about 7” long by rolling it on a flat surface. Recall your Play Doh days–make a snake :)
    b.  Press the rope around the bottom surface of the flange where it will sit on the sink. It should be reasonably even and about ¼” thick all the way around.
    c.  Line up any writing so it faces front, and press the flange down firmly onto the sink. Press all the way around until you have putty oozing out all sides of it. You don’t need to push it down all the way though–that will happen when we tighten it from underneath.

2.  Install bottom retaining rings of disposer throat. Working underneath sink:
    a. Locate the bottom portion of the retaining ring. It will be the piece with the screws in it. Back the screws out until they only protrude ½” or so.
    b.  Slip the fiber washer over disposer throat. It should be closest thing to sink.
    c. Next, slide the top of retaining ring onto throat. Flat part should be up against sink, and the curved side facing down toward you.
    d.  Now slide the bottom portion of retaining ring onto throat with the heads of screws facing down toward you. Line up the screws with the corresponding ears on the top plate, so that each screw will be pushing against the top plate when tightened. You should be able to slide it up high enough to still expose the groove on the throat for the snap ring.
    e. Holding all that in place, slide the snap ring onto the disposer throat until it snaps into groove.
DIY Tech TipTech Tip:  Start pushing the snap ring onto the throat opposite the opening in the ring. As you push it on and up, the break on the other side will open up naturally. Continue pushing up, and work your way around the ring until the entire thing is on the disposer throat. It will then push up easily into the groove.

3. Tighten disposer throat
    a.  First hand tighten all three screws.
    b.  Now using a screwdriver, tighten them down. Alternate screws and continue to go around tightening.
    c.  You will need to make several revolutions around, tightening, to get them as tight as possible.
    d. This is what will keep the sink from leaking water into your cabinet. It has to hold the disposer over many years, and will be subject to the vibration of the unit throughout that time. This is one of those places you want it as tight as you can get it.
DIY Tech TipTech Tip:  Use a Phillips screwdriver if your screws are drilled for it. Also, if you are not particularly strong, a longer handle on the screwdriver will help you get it tighter.

4.  Mount tailpiece on disposer
Note: The instructions often say to do this after mounting disposer. I find it easier to do before mounting but if space is tight inside the cabinet (meaning you can’t get in there with a small hacksaw to cut it if needed,) you should check that you won’t need to cut tailpiece down before mounting. See written instructions in Part 3 for full information on how to determine your heights. If you are not sure, skip ahead and mount the disposer first.  
    a.  Place rubber washer in outlet recess
    b.  Now place tailpiece on top of it and hold in place.
    c. Slide mounting collet over tailpiece and line up with outlet recess
    d.  Start both collet screws into disposer by hand. Again, they should turn easily the first few turns. If they don’t, back them off and start them again at a slightly different angle until they go in and turn easily. If they are hard to turn, they are probably cross threaded, and you will ruin the threads by forcing it with a screwdriver.
    e. Tighten the screws down with a screwdriver. You want them nice and tight.
DIY Tech TipTech Tip:  You CAN overtighten here. With rubber washers, if you overtighten, they will mash and mangle, and end up leaking. Also, many disposers like the one in the video are plastic, and those plastic threads will strip if overtightened.
DIY Tech TipTech Tip:  You will probably feel the screw hit a “stop” rather than getting gradually tighter and tighter. Give it a good push at that stop point, and it should be fine. You can always tighten it more if you need to, but if you strip the threads, you’ve got a real problem.

Next: Part 6 Mounting new disposer and connecting plumbing lines


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