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Garbage Disposal Replacement & Maintenance

The convenience of garbage disposals cannot be understated, and that’s why whenever one of them makes a terrible noise, seizes up, or otherwise acts like it’s not supposed to, it can be quite alarming and carry with it serious consequences. While useful for breaking down large food particles, a non-functioning garbage disposal can make horrific noises and potentially cause property damage.

The good news is that a lot of this can be prevented through both proper installation and maintenance. Whether you are replacing a faulty unit or installing a new one, here is how to install and maintain a standard residential garbage disposal.


Operation of a garbage disposal requires a nearby power outlet. If one is not available, an electrician will need to be called, and permits may be required. 

Before doing anything, turn off main power to kitchen/sink area from main grid to prevent electrocution risk.

Disconnect Drain Pipes

Place a bucket under the U-shaped P-trap to catch any trapped water, then begin disconnecting the drain pipes along with sink strainer.

Install the Flange

Apply plumber’s putty around the perimeter of the flange, then press into the sink. Lay the disposal on top of it to prevent the flange from rising and/or moving around.

Install the Disposal Mounting Hardware

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling the disposal mounting hardware, then place on the underside of the flange. Lock this into place with the snap ring, and clean up any excess putty as needed.

Prep the Disposal for Installation

The electrical wire that powers a disposal is typically not included in the box, so be sure to have it on hand as well. Remove the metal plate that protects the electrical wiring of the disposal, and install the power cord. Once completed, reinstall the metal plate.

Be sure to remove the drain plug from the disposal before installation, as well.

Install the Disposal

After installing the disposal gasket and tube, align the disposal’s three tabs with the mounting ring to hang it from the mounting hardware, then use the included wrench to lock the tabs over the ridges, securing it in place.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

If you find that your garbage disposal is making terrible noises and/or not working properly, try manually turning the motor first. Turn off power to the sink, then locate the wrench at the bottom center of the disposal. If one is not there, a standard Allen wrench will be necessary. Typically, a few rotations will dislodge more stubborn particles that would otherwise seize a perfectly functional garbage disposal. Consider trying this fix before replacing an entire unit.

Also, if your garbage disposal has a strong odor coming from it, regularly pulverizing cut lemons and oranges in it will help combat it with natural oils.

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