I'm not what you'd call a handyman, although I've been working to get better at that. I will now at least try a home project before passing on it. So, when our 15-year garbage disposal died I had another opportunity. I determined our old unit to be a Badger 5 1/2 HP (this exact item). I didn't have time to wait for the item to arrive from Amazon so I went to Home Depot and coughed up an extra $20 for the Badger 500 - Home Depot's branded version of this item. They are identical except for the name & sticker.
If you’re unsuccessful using the wrench, you may need to go in through the drain in an attempt to remove the clog. Disconnect the power to the disposal by unplugging the unit or turning off its circuit breaker, then use long-handled tongs and a flashlight to try to remove the jam. Never use your hands for this task, even if the disposal is completely disconnected from its power source! Fumbling blindly around a disc of sharp blades is asking for injury.
Proper use of a garbage disposal can stave off future leaks. So remember to grind only soft foods; hard items such as bones, apple cores, or raw potatoes can dislodge or damage the internal seals. Run cold water through the sink drain before and after food disposal to keep solid fats from congealing into gunk (which can deteriorate the sink flange and cause leaks). Finally, inspect your disposal for leaks—at least twice a year using the dyed-water test—to catch and repair minor leaks before they lead to water-damaged sink cabinets or kitchen floors.
Last, but not least, as your garbage disposal system begins to age, it grows susceptible to cracking along its interior lining. When this shell develops cracks, water will begin to appear at its seams. At times, the leak can be observed from the bottom of the unit, particularly from the reset button. If this is the cause of your garbage disposal’s leaks, then there is no method of repairing other than replacing the whole unit.
This is a heavy-duty stopper that does the job well for my light use in the kitchen. The only remark I'll make is that I always lift out garbage disposal stoppers and strainers after each use and keep them inverted with the concave side down over the drain so they dry out completely. The stopper isn't doing anything for you in between uses, so there's no sense in keeping it seated tightly in the drain. Keep it inverted and dried out to prevent disgusting scum from accumulating rapidly.
Typically, garbage disposals usually last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Well manufactured units may even last longer than that. If you’re really looking to save some money, you can always disconnect your unit, dissect it, seal the crack and reattach it. However, this is just a temporary fix. If you have the money, it’s best just to invest in a new unit.
In the United States, almost all garbage disposals on the market are manufactured by a handful of companies; although, many are branded under different names. For example, out of the top ten highest rated models on the market, InSinkErator makes eight of them. Whirlpool and WasteKing are the other two most well-known brands in the U.S. There are a wide range of models to choose from, ranging from basic $50.00 models to models equipped with all of the latest bells and whistles that can cost as much as $600.00. In most cases, you get what you pay for in terms of quality. Here is a brief overview of the top brands in the U.S.
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.)
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.