How to Install a Garbage Disposer—Part 1


Part 1: Tools & Supplies to Assemble and Removing the Old Disposer

Included in this video: Tools & Supplies you WILL need; things you may need depending on your setup; and the first steps to disconnecting the old garbage disposer.


Transcript Outline: How to install a garbage Disposer-Part 1


Tools & Supplies to Assemble: Items you WILL need:

  • (Obviously) New garbage disposal
  • Absorbent Rags
  • Wide shallow bowl or pot to catch water
  • Large garbage or contractor bag
    DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip:  For lining bottom of cabinet during installation and of course for garbage

  • Old Blanket or cardboard (to put down on floor; I like moving blankets for this)
  • Plumbers putty (small amount about the size of a lime)
  • Tape measure
  • Channel locks
  • Screwdrivers (straight and phillips)
  • Torpedo (short) level
  • Electrical Tape

Items you MAY need:

  • New 1-1/2 P-Trap (if the old one is pretty beat up or leaking)
  • New extension tailpiece (if outlet on disposer is more than about 3 inches above wall inlet for trap)
  • Pipe Dope (only if using a metal trap)
  • Work gloves (if your hands are soft or you are a bit sqeamish)
  • Saw for cutting PVC if needed.
         Preferred: Sawzall with blade made to cut metal (small teeth) and safety glasse
         Alternate: hacksaw, pvc saw, copper tubing cutter (yes, this will cut PVC also)
  • Wire nuts (if not included with new items)
  • Electrical Linesman’s Pliers (makes connecting wiring much easier)
  • Utility knife (for removing old electrical tape if needed)
  • Colored electrical tape or masking tape you can write on.
  • Wire strippers
  • Hair blow dryer (if installing optional plug-in cord)
  • Work light with extension cord
  • Cordless drill (for securing cords to cabinet if needed)

Removing the old disposer:

1. Remove everything from underneath sink and line bottom of cabinet with contractor bag. This will protect it from water which will almost certainly come out when removing old trap.
2.  Disconnect electrical:
   a. Plug-style: unplug it :)
   b. Hard wired: (Not in video)
          (1) Turn off electric at breaker box.  Flip switch on and off to INSURE it is off.
DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: If you are not sure which breaker,  have someone turn on disposer and stay in kitchen while you try breakers until it is off.
          (2)  You will need to be able to see well to complete next steps. Set up work light if needed.
          (3) Unscrew electrical connector holding shielded cable to disposer. This will either be a small set screw on the connector, or the entire connecter may unscrew from the disposer housing.
          (4) Remove or open cover on the electrical well. This is usually on the bottom of the disposer, and it is usually held in place by a screw. If so, loosen the screw and slide the cover off.
          (5) You will need to disconnect three wires. Two will probably be wires connected by wire nuts (wires are generally black and white).   The third will be a ground which is normally attached to the housing by a ground screw (wire is usually green). To disconnect do the following:

                a.  Locate the three connections described above.
                b.  Take first wire with wire nut and
                      1. Cut off electrical tape with utility knife if needed. Be careful not to cut wire sheath.
                      2.  Unscew wire nut by turning counterclockwise.
                      3.  You should be able to tell which wire is the incoming electrical. Note which color wire is connected to it from the disposer.
                           (a) Mark the (incoming, from whip) wire with tape to designate which color wire (from disposer) was attached to it.
                           (b)  Use colored electrical tape, or masking tape and then write the color on it.
                           (c)  If you are not sure which wire is which, mark them both.
                c.  Repeat this process for the second wire.
               d.  Now you should be able to get at the ground wire. Unscrew the ground screw, detach the wire and mark it as the ground.

NOTE: On older electrical you may have different wiring configurations that don’t match up to this description. In the end to connect new disposer, you will need to work out which wires are: hot, neutral and ground. Use whatever resources you can find to determine this, and MARK EVERYTHING as you disconnect it. It will help you figure it out later.

          (6)  Now gently remove the wiring whip from the old disposer. Try not to pull off your tape or break any wires as you pull them through.
          (7)  Inspect the exposed wires after removing the whip for any cuts or cracks to the wire or sheath.  If you find any, cut the wire back to before   the defect and use wire strippers to remove about ¾” of sheath from the end of wire.

Your electrical is now disconnected.  Continue removal as follows:

3. Place wide shallow bowl or pot under P trap to catch water later.

4.  Loosen all joints on trap assembly by turning counterclockwise (lefty-loosey :). You may need channel locks if they are tight.
5.  Now completely remove u-bend part of P-trap. It will be holding water. Empty into bowl after removing and set aside.

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip:: Do not discard yet unless is damaged.  Even if you have new trap, it is handy to have extra parts in case they are needed for whatever reason as you install new disposer

Removal Instructions continued in Part 2. 


Next: Part Two: Finish removing old disposer and disposer throat


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