Garbage Disposal Replacement


Garbage disposal replacement is pretty much a very simple task.  Here I’m going to give you the rundown, but be sure to consult the instructions that comes with yours for small details that I may not cover here.  Most of the process is practically the same, but there maybe a few small details that are different with the disposal that you’ve chosen.  My disposal just stopped working one day and it’s fairly new.  Honestly, I rarely even use it but it failed regardless.  I wasn’t too worried about it at first since I don’t really use it that often, but soon realized there are small issues with having a non-working disposal in your sink.  A non-working disposal will not drain very well.  If you have a dishwasher then that runs through your disposal which will send whatever small things left inside it into your sink making a nasty mess.  This is what made me eventually change mine.

There are a few troubleshooting steps you can follow before you go buy one, just to make sure that the one you have is bad.

1.  If you flip the switch to turn on your disposal and there is no sound at all.  Take a look at the disposal.  There is a red square shaped reset button on the bottom of it.  It should be in and if it is sticking out, push it back in.  If the button stays up, then flip the switch again.  If that worked you should here a humming sound.  Wait a minute or two to see if the button trips again.  If it doesn’t trip again, then your disposal is still good.  If the button does pop out again.

2.  Fill your sink with water and see how long it takes for the water to drain through the disposal.  If the water drains slow, then you may have a clog.  If you have two sinks, put a stopper in that doesn’t contain the disposal and a big cooking pot or bucket on top of the stopper .  Fill the pot or bucket with water.  Then fill the sink half way with water to keep the stopper in place.  Also if you have a soap dispenser attached to your sink you will need to secure that as well.  Next fill the disposal sink with as much water as you can, then take a plumbing plunger and plunge it as you would a clogged up toilet.  After three or four plunges the water should drain through with no issue.  Reset the disposal’s button and flip the switch again.  If the disposal doesn’t trip after a minute or two then you are good to go.  If it does there is one more thing you can try.

3.  Your disposal came with a unjamming wrench.  If you don’t know where that is  you by buy one or use a similar tool.  The tool needs to be hexed shaped.  There is a place for the wrench in the middle of the disposal on the bottom.  Insert the wrench and turn.  The motor might be jammed and if it is, the wrench will be hard to turn at first.  Keep turning until the motor gets easier to turn.  Make sure the reset button is pressed in and flip the switch to turn it on and test it.  If this doesn’t work and you get no humming it all, it maybe the main circuit breaker being popped or the wall switch maybe bad, but most likely you have a bad disposal.


There really isn’t much to know about buying a new one.  Well, at least in my area the options are slim.  Garbage disposals are one of the home items that you truly get what you pay for.  If you want a good that will last, then you will need to look at the disposals that are over $100.  That is just the way it is.  First you will want to go by the warranty.  If the company warranties a disposal for a year, that means you will most likely not get even two years out of it.  Look for a disposal that has a four or five year warranty unless you are not going to be in the place that you are living in for that long.  Motors vary in size and power.  You will also need to pay attention to the space under your sink.  You don’t want to get one that is so big that it won’t fit under your sink.  The motor size varies and the further up you go the bigger they get.  Below is a list of available motor sizes from lowest to biggest.  I would recommend buying on that is at least 3/4 HP.

1/3 HP
1/2 HP3/4 HP
5/8 HP
1 HP

There is a ton of information out there, but don’t nuke it.  It is a simple choice to make.  The more stainless steel the better.  If you want something that is going to last, at least go with a 3/4 HP size motor.  Some will say that 1/3 HP is fine if  you are single and living alone.  I had a 1/3 HP disposal and I pretty much live alone and rarely use it.  The one I am replacing for this walk through was replaced a little over a year ago and is dead already.  It’s okay though, since I get to write you all this step by step on how to replace one.  So here goes.


As I was replacing mine, most of the existing hardware is fairly new so I wanted to use as much of it as possible.  Most of it is interchangeable so that is good news.  I am replacing a InSinkErator Badger 1/3 HP disposal with an InSinkErator Evolution Premier 3/4 HP Garbage Disposal with Sound Insulation.  For installation you will also need to get the power cord accessory kit.  Your old disposal has one, but you may as well install all new in this situation, so you won’t run into any hiccups.  The disposals have new sink flanges, so if you wish to replace your old you, then you are going to need to pick up some plumber’s putty.  Other tools that you will need are listed below.

1.  Phillips Screwdriver
2.  Flat Head Screwdriver
3.  Eye Goggles
4.  Channel Lock Pliers
5.  Putty Knife (if you are going to change the sink flange and use plumber’s putty)
6.  Hand Saw (trimming plumbing pipe)
7.  Hammer
8.  Plumber’s Tape

The tools above you will need so ensure you pick them up.  Now on to the replacement process.

1.  Clean out everything from under your sink.  You will need the space to work in and you do not want to damage anything due to a leaking pipe.  After your works space is clear, turn off your water valves.  You don’t want running water through the pipes when you are doing this.

Water is on.

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Water is off.

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2.  Turn on  your faucet and make sure there is not running water.

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3.  Now with the water turned off, ensure that  your garbage disposal is unplugged.

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4.  Now remove your old disposal by disconnecting the piping first which is simple.  The top pipe goes to your dishwasher.  The bottom pipe is the drain pipe.

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5.  Next use the included wrench to push the top of the disposal counterclockwise using the illustrated rings.  Ensure that you are supporting it, because this is the point where it comes off.

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As the disposal comes off slowly guide the drainage pipe (bottom one) out of the existing piping.  It is slipped inside of the sink piping.

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6.  Next we need to open and setup our new disposal.  First we will do the electrical part.  Don’t fret, it’s easy.  Turn it up side down and look at the bottom.  All disposal look pretty much the same on the bottom so you should see the same as the pictures below.  If not consult your instruction manual.  Locate the electrical panel shown below and remove it.

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7.  Once the panel is removed, expose the wiring inside.

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8.  This is where  you will need the power cord accessory kit.  Please don’t plug it into the wall until the entire process is finished.

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9.    First you will want to install the wire guide.

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10.  The wire guide screws in and is a bit of a pain to get straight.  This was the best I could do and as long as it is close you are good to go.

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11.  Route the wires through the wire guide into the open hole.  Then tighten down the screws on the wire guide.

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12.  Next remove the green screw.  This is the electrical ground.

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13.  Place the ring on the green wire on the green screw as shown.

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14.  Reinstall the green screw.

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15.  Next twist together the other two wires.  My instruction manual said to connect white to white and black to black.  Then the power cord accessory manual and the wiring doesn’t match.  Go figure right.  Anyway, here is the run down.  The white wire on the garbage disposal is the neutral wire.  The black wire is the hot wire.  So my power cord accessory manual says that the ribbed wire is neutral and that the wire will smooth insulation is the hot one.  In that case twist together the wire with ribbed insulation to the white wire and then the wire with smooth insulation to the black wire.  It will look like this.

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16.  Once the wires are twisted together, screw on the wire nuts.  Don’t worry if you didn’t do it right.  If you didn’t, then it won’t run on when you are done.  Just unplug the cable, open the panel and swap the two connections later if needed.  Please make sure you unplug the garbage disposal first from the wall or you will shock yourself.  Ribbed goes to white and smooth goes to black and you will be good to go.

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17.  With wire nuts secured push the wires back down and reinstall the electrical panel.

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18.  Turn it back over and get ready to install this bad boy.  If you have a dishwasher you will need to turn the disposal on it’s side.  Take a screwdriver and knock out the plug in the smallest opening.  If you do not have a dishwasher, you will not be using this attachment point and you can skip this step.

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19.  The plug in mine broke apart really easily and some if fell inside the chamber.  Make sure you check and pick out all of the pieces.

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20.  Once the plug is removed the disposal is ready to be installed.  There are a few parts in the box.  Assemble it as needed.  I kept most of the existing hardware and only used the Mounting Ring and Snap Ring from the new disposal.  I also had to use the 1 1/8 Screws instead of the longer 1 1/2 Screws.  The Sink Baffle on my old disposal was attached to the disposal.  With the model the Sik Baffle slips into the Sink Flange.  You can go ahead and install the Sink Baffle now.  You may also need to trim the Discharge Pipe that attaches to the Tailpipe Mount using a saw.  The Mounting Ring has a slant to attach the disposal.  Start installing it on the low side.  Make small adjustments to the three screws until the disposal is lined up as close as you can get it to the existing piping.  Place some plumber’s tape onto the discharge pipe and tighten it down, then attache the dishwasher discharge pipe ensuring the clamp is tight.

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21.  Next turn the water valves back on, plug it into the wall, and leak check everything.

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22.  Flip the switch and if you hear a humming and the reset button doesn’t pop out, then the wires are connected properly.  Run water through and leak check.  Also run your dishwasher to leak check that.  If there are no leaks, then the installation is complete.