How to Install a Garbage Disposer—Part 4

Part 4: Connecting the Electrical on the New Disposer

Included in this video: How to connect the electrical wiring on the new disposer  

Video Transcript–Part 4: Connect the Electrical to the Disposer

Note: If you are hard-wiring the disposer to an electrical “whip,” skip ahead to Part 5.  You will have to connect the electrical later. Less fun in those tight quarters, but unavoidable.

1. Connect the ground wire:
    IMPORTANT: Your disposer MUST be grounded to avoid creating an electrical hazard should it get wet (a reasonable possibility at some point considering it’s location.) If the wiring doesn’t seem to match up to what I’m describing here, do whatever you need to do to make CERTAIN which wire is the ground, and where it is supposed to be connected to the disposer. Proper grounding can prevent future electrocution, seriously. This isn’t the place to take an educated guess.

a.  The ground on your cord is usually the green wire, and also usually has a little metal loop on it for the ground screw to go through. Consult your documentation if needed here.

b.  The ground on the disposer will be a screw, also usually kind of greenish colored, which threads into the housing somewhere, again usually inside the electrical recess panel.

c.  Remove the ground screw.


DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: Use your bare hands, and hold onto it. You don’t want to drop it inside the disposer.

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: If you do drop it inside the disposer, like Girl With Wrench did even after cautioning you, a magnet is the easiest way to retrieve it. I have one on little telescoping rod that looks like an old radio antenna.

d. Putting the screw through the metal loop on the ground wire, replace it and tighten.

DIY Tech TipTech Tip: Start the screw by hand the first couple of turns. It should turn easily. If it doesn’t, back it off and try again until it turns easily. It can take a few tries to catch the threads properly. If you force it, you are likely to ruin the threads on the ground screw and will have to go buy a new one before proceeding. :)

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: You want this good and tight, but don’t give it everything you have or you are likely to strip something out.

2. Connect the hot and the neutral wires. Note: If you do this incorrectly, you may get some fireworks :)

a. Determine which wires connect to which. In my case, the two wires from the cord were black but one was ribbed. According to my instructions, that connected to the white wire in the disposer (neutral, I believe.) Check your instructions and looking at your wiring, determine which connects to which.

b.  Start with whichever one is shortest, if applicable.

c.  Simply hold the two wires so the ends are even. Each should have about ⅜” of bare wire on the end.

d.  Put the wire nut over the two until it is all the way down, and turn clockwise to tighten.  

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: If you haven’t done this before, it is surprising how nicely they tighten up. Keep turning until the nut feels tight, and doesn’t come off when tugged a bit. It will almost always come off if you give it a good yank, so not too much tugging, ok?

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: If you having trouble getting the wire nut to “grab”, try starting the two wires together with a pair of lineman’s (flat nose) pliers, and then put the wire nut on after you’ve made a couple of turns with the pliers. You can also use the pliers to hold the wires in place for the nut if they are short and hard to grab.

e.  Now wrap electrical tape over the whole thing, from the top of the nut to about an inch below it, wrapping continuously in a circle like a candy cane. This will keep the nut in place over time despite all the vibration from the disposer when in use, and it will also help keep the wiring dry if there should be a leak at any point.

DIY Tech Tip

Tech Tip: Stretch the electrical tape a bit as you wrap to get a good, tight seal.

f. Repeat the procedure for the other wire.

Next: Part 5: Install new disposer throat and finish preparing new disposer for installation.


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  1. How to Install a Garbage Disposer—Part 3 | GirlWithWrench DIY Network for the Mechanically Challenged says:

    [...] How to Install a Garbage Disposer—Part 4 [...]

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