STEP 3 – Clear out the disposal to remove any bits of hard foods, bone shards or other fibrous gunk that may be preventing the grinding blades from rotating and pulverizing your discarded food. Use a tool (a pliers, wooden spoon, etc.) to do this. Putting your hand in situation where whirling blades of destruction are nearby is never a good idea. (That is what I’ve heard anyway.)
If this sounds familiar, you'll be happy to know that replacing a disposer is really fairly simple. With today's plastic waste kits, leaks are seldom a problem and the electrical connections are similarly quick and easy. Finally, retail outlets sell good disposers for every household budget. Before you buy, though, it pays to check out your old unit to make sure it's not simply jammed.
Installing a garbage disposal involves tapping into your home’s plumbing and electrical systems, and both systems need to be handled correctly to safely install your garbage disposal. Someone with a lot of experience can handle the job in 2 or 3 hours—or maybe even less. Attempting a garbage disposal installation without any training will likely take at least double the time required for a professional to install the garbage disposal.
The majority of today’s garbage disposals are designed to dovetail with a sink’s drain outlet, which makes connecting the two components simple. There are a multitude of connection kits and adaptors available. Many models feature a power cord that is simply plugged into a nearby outlet to power the unit; however, when an outlet is not available, the unit must be hardwired, which can be significantly more expensive.
Roll out a generous amount of Plumber’s putty to a uniform width making a nice snake-like gasket out of putty. Wrap the putty onto the rim of the flange. Push the flange back into position and put the bottom flange on with the clip holding it into place. Tighten the three screws evenly until all three are tight. Scrape off any extra putty from the inside of the sink. Now you are ready to lock the garbage disposer back in place, reconnect the drains and test for leaks.
Inspect each of these locations while gliding a light-colored rag over the unit; the dyed water will readily show on the rag and reveal the location of the leak. If a leak isn’t immediately apparent, remove the sink stopper and pour a few more cups of dyed water down the sink drain, then check for leaks again. Leaks near the top of the unit are more likely to show themselves while the sink is plugged, while side and bottom leaks are more noticeable while the sink is unplugged.
Rotate the disposer to align the disposer with the drain or the discharge tube, slide the flange over drain pipe or discharge tube and insert the gasket into the discharge outlet. Then screw in the bolts that secure the flange to the disposer. Reconnect all the plumbing connections as well as the dishwasher inlet hose. Then turn the power back on at the electrical supply panel and test the unit for leaks, making sure to run cold water while the unit is running.
Set the garbage disposal down where you can work on and see the rubber gasket. Peel off the old gasket and put the new gasket in the same place making sure that it pops into the lip and sits flat. Now you are ready to set the garbage disposer back in place. Use your knee or a helper to lift the disposal into place while looking down at it from above the sink to verify that the gasket sits flat before locking it back into place. Then look underneath the sink to make sure that all three mounting grooves are locked in. Reconnect the drains and plug the cord back in to test it for leaks.
If your garbage disposal is making a clicking or rattling sound, there may be some food particles that will not grind up inside. Remove power from disposer, reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove anything that is still down in the disposer. Test your disposer to be sure the noise is gone. If not continue troubleshooting your disposer issue (see below).