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The Home Depot

Garbage Disposal Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Garbage Disposal Installation Guide
Garbage Disposal Installation Guide

The garbage disposal unit--that unsung hero of kitchen sinks across the nation--often goes unnoticed until it ceases to function properly. When problems arise, however, the importance of a garbage disposal is hard to miss. Plugged sinks, pooled dish water, and piercing noises are typical of this situation, and while many of these issues can be alleviated by simple repairs, sometimes replacement is the only practical option.

  1. 1.Call a Pro or Do It Yourself?

    If this will be the first garbage disposal your sink will be fitted with, the job will not only require a certain amount of plumbing work, but electrical work, as well. In this scenario, it's easy to understand why most folks hire a professional for the job. If you're replacing an existing disposal unit with a new one, the line is a little less clear. In fact, though garbage disposal units are often championed as being good for the environment, some plumbing systems--and even municipal sewage lines--may not be up to the task of handling the shredded waste that leaves a garbage disposer. As they recommend at Consumer Reports: Your local sewage authority may have a policy in place regulating or even discouraging garbage disposer use, so make sure to call before you install if you're not positive.

  2. Some companies offer extensive warranties that cover just about anything that can go wrong for a year or two after the unit is installed...
  3. 2.Choose the Right Disposal Unit for Your Needs

    Comparison shopping is important for any new appliance, and these machines are no different. You'll want to look at a number of different characteristics including physical size, power, energy consumption, and the warranty it comes with. You'll also need to decide whether you get a continuous or batch feed model, the later being a little more expensive, but safer for households with small children.

  4. 3.Picking the Right Professional for the Installation

    If, as many homeowners do, you decide that the do-it-yourself route simply isn't for you, you'll need to hire a professional for this job. For most of us, the knee-jerk reaction is to hire a plumber or to have the unit installed by the company you buy the disposer from. It may be rather beneficial, however, to look to a different kind of service professional for this job.


    Professional handyman services specialize in performing many different kinds of small jobs, and if you're like most of us, there are more opportunities for quick repairs around the house than a malfunctioning garbage disposal. By hiring a handyman service instead of a plumber, you can get all of these small tasks completed in a single visit. This saves you the hassle of calling a different pro for each job, and saves you money, to boot.

  6. 4.Repair Vs. Replacement

    Of course, the age-old battle between repair and replacement is bound to rear its head when dealing with any mechanical component of the home. While it is extremely difficult to say with authority which is the better option for your particular situation, if your garbage disposer has been under your sink for decades, there's a very good chance that a new model will represent a significant upgrade.


    Old units require more time to do their job, and waste water in the process. A brand new model will perform its work faster and more effectively while simultaneously using less water and probably less electricity, too.

  7. 5.Read Your Warranty Carefully

    Certainly not the largest investment you'll make in your home, your new garbage disposal unit is still an item that takes time and money to replace. Some companies offer extensive warranties that cover just about anything that can go wrong for a year or two after the unit is installed; a few will even send one of their own guys to your home to do the work for free. The warranties issues by other companies may not be so comprehensive, and can be voided for any number of reasons. Like the disposal units, themselves, warranties are easy to overlook when everything's functioning properly. It's always a good idea, however, to know what you'll be up against if and when problems do arise.


    To make sure that you keep your newly installed garbage disposal running smoothly, you'll want to avoid certain items that can break your garbage disposal.

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