Can I install a garbage disposal myself?

Installing a garbage disposal

Few things are more fun than spending a leisurely afternoon or three installing your new garbage disposal. Here are ten easy steps you should follow to get that pig up and running. Using large channel lock pliers or a pipe wrench, unscrew the nut that holds the drainpipe (tailpiece) to the sink drain. Loosen the compression slip nut that holds the tailpiece in the trap. You should be able to remove the tailpiece now. Your next task is to take out your sinks strainer. Find the large nut underneath that holds the strainer to the sink itself. Unscrew it. The strainer should pop out easily. Clean away the old plumber's putty around the hole where the basket once resided. 3. Now you're ready to put a bead of plumber's putty around the drain opening. About a ¼” thick. Take a ball of putty and roll it into a snake (like in kindergarten). Then place the strainer body flange into the drain opening and press it into place. Go now to the underside of the sink. You will see a fiber gasket and ring. With one hand slide them onto the sleeve and hold in place. With your other hand, slip on the mounting ring and snap ring. Tighten the three mounting screws (with either hand). Tighten each screw a little at a time until you see that the mounting assembly is tight against the bottom of the sink all the way around.

Now you're ready for the electrical portion of our show. You need to hook up the electrical wiring. By law, in most states, an electrician should do this. But if you insist on being an outlaw do-it-yourselfer, make sure you shut off your circuit breakers. (If you don't know what a circuit breaker is, stop reading this and call an electrician.) Place the disposer on its side under the sink so you can make the electrical connections. Once again, make sure your circuit breaker is off.
You'll see a plate on the bottom of the disposer. Remove it. You should see wires. Using the twist-on wire nuts supplied with your disposal, connect the white wire from your disposal unit with the white wire from the power supply. Do the same with the black wires. Hook up the ground wire from the supply to the ground on your disposal. Put the cover plate back on. If you have a dishwasher, take a close look at your disposal. Do you see a little stub sticking out? That's where you hook up your dishwasher drain hose. Before you can attach it, you'll have to knock out a little plug inside that stub with a hammer and screwdriver while the disposer is lying on its side. Now you are ready to mount the disposal onto the sink. You'll see three mounting “ears.” Line them up on the sink mounting assembly. Holding the disposal steady, turn the lower mounting ring until you get all three mounting ears locked into the mounting assembly. Take the discharge tube and install it with its gasket to the hole on the side of the disposal. Turn the disposal until the discharge tube lines up with the trap. You can cut the tube if it is too long. If it's too short, you'll have to buy an extension tube. Connect the dishwasher tube to the stub on the disposal. Use the special tool that came with your disposal to lock it into the sink mounting assembly. Test the disposal for leaks, switch your circuit breakers back on, flip the switch on your pig to see how it runs.

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Lynne Christen