A garbage disposal unit (also known as a garbage disposal, waste disposal unit, garbage disposer, or in Canadian English a garburator) is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink's drain and the trap. The disposal unit shreds food waste into pieces small enough—generally less than 2 mm (0.079 in)—to pass through plumbing.[1]
Turn off the switch, unplug it, clear any debris inside the disposal, and rinse with warm water. Many times there is something stuck in the blades that they can't handle (citrus peels, meats, stringy vegetables, etc.). You may need to turn the blades manually to find a lodged object, and it may even be under the blade. Find the reset button (usually red) and hold it for 1 minute. Plug it in, try again. Some newer models do not have the reset button, there is an opening on the bottom of the disposal to insert an allen wrench. If not, look up your model by manufacturer or Google for further instructions.
Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to remove any smaller shards of glass. Simply hold the opening of the hose over the top of the garbage disposal and allow the vacuum to run until you can't hear anything be sucked up anymore. If the sink isn't particularly wet, you can use a regular vacuum, covering the end of the extension tube with a nylon stocking secured with a rubber band.
Prior to testing the garbage disposal for leaks, unplug it at the wall outlet and turn off the power from the breaker box to prevent electrical shock. Then insert a watertight sink stopper into your sink drain and wipe the unit dry with a clean cloth. In any handy container, mix a few drops of food coloring into a few cups of water, and pour the dyed water onto the sink stopper to help you locate the leak.
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Thank you for sharing this tutorial. My husband and I tried to fix our garbage disposal last week but we couldn’t get it to work. When we turn it on, it makes a humming noise, but nothing is blocking the blades. We might need to get a new disposal, but we’ll probably have a professional look at it before we decide. We’ll keep your tips on hand, just in case.
An affordable option that offers outstanding value, the Waste King Legend Series comes backed by a solid five-year warranty. The stainless steel disposal is compact enough to install under most sinks. The continuous feed design means this disposal requires just a flip of a switch. It runs very quietly, but it is still powerful enough to grind food waste efficiently.
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This is our workhorse medium-capacity model with a This is our workhorse medium-capacity model with a powerful 2 HP motor that handles hundreds of servings at one meal. Like all InSinkErator foodservice disposers it delivers superior performance quiet operation maximum energy efficiency and long service life. Designed for continuous operation in locations such as schools hospitals larger restaurants ...  More + Product Details Close
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Thanks so much! Clear, easy to follow instructions. We were able to follow step by step and got it done. I read somewhere that they used a car jack to hold the disposal when taking it off and putting it on. That was a really helpful tip for anyone else doing this. They’re fairly heavy. Also, it leaked when the gasket was just placed in the hole. We actually had to take it apart and put the gasket over the plastic pipe, then when you tighten the metal plate to connect it to the disposal, that sealed it. Anyway, thanks again. Being able to do this on our own saved us quite a bit of time and hassle.


Assuming that you have already given the disposal the time it needs to run and clear the garbage, you probably have a congested drain line. We don’t recommend using chemical drain cleaners with a garbage disposal. You will very likely just damage the unit and end up with a sink full of toxic chemicals that you’ll eventually be forced to clean out manually. If the blockage doesn’t go down with the good ol’ baking soda and vinegar remedy, then calling a John Moore professional is your best bet. He or she will know exactly how to properly remove the bolts, disconnect the drain trap and remove the trap and the discharge drain pipe, check for clogs and any other obstructions, and finally clear the blockage with the latest and best tools. (See our previous post about good steps you can take when your kitchen sink is clogged!)
If you misplaced your wrench that came with the unit, don’t worry. The store you got your unit from should have replacements for as little as $3 to $5. An Allen wrench will usually work well, too. Replacing the motor is the most costly repair for a disposal, so replacing the unit may be your best bet. If the disposal is jammed and won’t budge after using your wrench, turn it off and call us right away.
Garbage disposals can range from $70 on the low end to $380 on the high end -- and generally speaking, you get what you pay for. A less expensive unit is likely to produce more noise, require more water, and clog more easily than a higher-end model. Likewise, a more expensive unit will be faster, quieter and less likely to malfunction than a lower end model -- and it will be lighter-weight and offer greater capacity as well. The average cost of a garbage disposal installation with a one-year manufacturer’'s warranty is $185. The average amount of time taken to install a garbage disposal, including cleanup, is three hours. The hourly cost for labor will range from $20 to $40 -- $28 on average.

The L-2600 garbage disposal unit is one of the brand’s best-sellers. Its glass-filled nylon grinding chamber allows a smoother and more quiet performance as opposed to a full stainless steel model. It’s also easy to install and doesn’t take up too much space. It even comes with a removable splash guard to keep all the food scraps down when disposing them.
As advertised, it does come with a corded plug so it will need an outlet. My old Badger was a direct wire. Some folks tore out the cord and the strain relief as a fix and hard wired it like their old one. Some folks put an outlet in, which I found that to be a 15 minute job. I didn't want to mess around with chopping out the stock cord and putting in a new one and messing with the strain relief replacement. I thought the new outlet process was much easier because, heck, the wire's already there and that's always the hardest part of wiring a box! I shoved some of the extra length of the existing wire back into the hole in the wall that it came out from. I thought carefully about where the new box should go so the body of the disposal didn't hit it. I screwed it to the back of the cabinet, poked the wires into the box, screwed them to a new receptacle and, voila!. NOTE: IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING WITH ELECTRICAL WIRING, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS YOURSELF. If you do, be sure to kill the power at the circuit breaker and it is probably the easiest box you will install. Just make sure it is securely mounted into something besides the flimsy back panel of the cabinet.

Disposers range between $45 and $250, and most hold up fairly well under normal use. It's common for a $50, 1/3-hp disposer with a 1-year warranty to last 10 to 12 years. So what does more money buy? Increased longevity, longer warranties, more power and less aggravation. The better units have stainless steel components, auto-reversing starts and bigger motors. Units that reverse direction with each start greatly reduce stoppages, while larger motors can chew through larger and more varied food loads.
If the water is leaking at the mounting assembly, make sure it is mounted as designed and not cocked. If the water is leaking at the dishwasher inlet, tighten the hose connector. If the water is leaking through the wall of the container body, your disposer probably need to be replaced. If the water is leaking from adjacent plumbing, tighten the connections as necessary.

Hold a noncontact voltage detector against the wall switch with the switch in the on position. The presence of electricity at the switch causes the detector to beep and flash. Leave the switch in the on position and hold the detector against the outlet beneath the sink. If the detector does not sense the presence of electricity at the outlet, the switch may have failed and electricity can no longer reach the disposal motor. Have the wall switch replaced.
There is a contradiction among some of the brands. InSinkErator’s disposal instruction manual states, “Don’t grind large amounts of egg shells or fibrous materials like corn husks, artichokes, etc, to avoid possible drain blockage.” Whirlpool’s disposal instruction manual states, “designed to dispose of food wastes including bones, fruit and vegetable wastes, pits, egg shells and coffee grounds.”
In the event that you do not have a grounded outlet to power the garbage disposal, you will need to install one. Adding a grounded outlet may cost as little as $5 when existing electrical wiring is placed a short distance away, plus an additional $75 for the electrician's labor. If a new grounded outlet needs to be added and electrical wiring does not yet exist, it will likely cost around $90, depending on labor and parts. If your project requires the addition of a new switch and wire, plan to spend an average of $5 to $10 on materials, plus about 30 minutes of labor at an average cost of $75 an hour.

Jarred Connections: Considering the garbage-disposal systems is located under the kitchen sink, and since the area under the kitchen sink is a common place for storing all sorts of things, it is fairly common for the unit to get bumped.If it gets hit hard enough, the unit can actually shift so that it is no longer sitting straight. Pipes can also get knocked around, causing the seals to lose effectiveness.

Reattach the electrical wires. Unscrew the faceplate on the underside of the new unit. Match the colored wires on the power supply to those in the disposal’s electric housing and connect them using plastic wire nuts. Slip the copper grounding wire over the green screw at the far edge of the compartment. Replace the cover and tighten the screws.[16]

Lay the disposal on its side under the sink so you can make the electrical connections. Make sure the circuit breaker is off. Remove the plate on the bottom of the disposal to expose the wiring and use wire connectors to connect the wires from the disposal to the matching wires from the power supply. Finally, secure the power cord to the bottom of the disposal using the proper connection. Replace the plate to cover the wires. (See Fig 6)


How many years do garbage disposals last? One the average, quite a long time. In fact, with adequate care and proper maintenance, garbage disposal units can be of good service for about 8 to 15 years. This means the blades remain efficient and the motor has not burned out yet. This being said, neglecting garbage disposal leaks will significantly decrease this effective service life.

Speaking of resetting your garbage disposal, sometimes that’s all you need to get the appliance up and running. However, if you constantly have to press the reset button for your garbage disposal to work, then there is an underlying problem. It may be insufficient wiring or regular wear and tear, but either way, it might be best to contact your local plumbing professional for help at this point.
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Not every garbage disposal was created equal, and it can be difficult to discern which one is right for your home. After all, a quick internet search will show you that there are hundreds of different models to choose from. You shouldn’t automatically choose the cheapest or best rated garbage disposal. You need to find the one that is right for your unique needs.
But to dislodge whatever’s causing it to be in a bind you can use the hex wrench that came with the garbage disposal. I know most people lose them, that’s okay. Grab your set of Allen wrenches, get the right size, insert it into the recess hole right in the bottom of the disposal, and turn it left and right until you dislodge whatever caused it to get into a bind.

Run a few trays of ice cubes, orange peels and salt through the disposal to remove odors and keep your disposals clean. For really tough odors, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar and let it stand for 15 minutes before rinsing. Also, running ice through the disposal will actually sharpen the teeth, keeping foods from getting stuck in the unit.


A garbage disposal unit (also known as a garbage disposal, waste disposal unit, garbage disposer, or in Canadian English a garburator) is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink's drain and the trap. The disposal unit shreds food waste into pieces small enough—generally less than 2 mm (0.079 in)—to pass through plumbing.[1]
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