A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Replace a Garbage Disposal

Last updated on November 20th, 2023 at 11:55 am

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People depend on garbage disposals as the workhorse of the kitchen. Since its invention way back in 1927, the design of garbage disposals is relatively consistent. As it exudes practicality to modern households, it is a must-have appliance in every kitchen. But there can be times when the disposal system can malfunction and stop functioning altogether. Before calling a plumber to install a new one, consider to replace a garbage disposal yourself following the below steps.

Ensure that the garbage disposal is genuinely not functioning

A Garbage disposal is a reasonably efficient appliance to keep in your kitchen. But with extensive usage, it can stop working correctly. 

Depending on the way how the unit is malfunctioning, here is the list of troubleshooting avenues.

  • If you switch the equipment on and nothing happens, the problem may lie with the outlet. In many cases, the main problem can also be in the power socket.
  • If the motor of the appliance hums, there are possible barriers in the rotation of blades.  

Shut off power before starting to replace a garbage disposal

As customary, while repairing or replacing any parts of an appliance, you should shut off its power. First, you have to unplug the apparatus to minimize the chances of electrical hazards. Always remember that the socket of the garbage disposal appliance is most likely underneath the sink. However, it may be on the wall by the countertop. If you don’t find a socket underneath the sink, switch it off from the main circuit box.  

Steps to follow while replacing a garbage disposal


Here is the list of stages through which you would know how to replace a garbage disposal.

  • Turn off the power to avoid shocks
  • Disconnect the drain tap as well as the fittings from the discharge tube
  • Detach the inlet hose from the dishwasher
  • While unscrewing it from the sink, hold its bottom and turn clockwise
  • Separate the cable connectors
  • If you are replacing a new one, eliminate the mounting assembly
  • Install the disposer in the reverse order

While disconnecting cables, ensure that you remove the green ground screw.

How much does it cost to replace a garbage disposal?

In case you prefer not to replace it by yourself, the usual charges for repairing this appliance are around $270. Prices usually range from $200 to $380, which also includes a standard warranty. Note that installing disposal usually takes three to four hours. The hourly rate for replacing a garbage disposal is $70.

Also, note that having a garbage disposer in the kitchen would provide you with great benefits. The appliance can quickly grind food particles for over a decade. Prices may vary with respect to the brand and feed-type unit. Check out our reviews for the best garbage disposals in the market.

General Average Cost $270
Minimum Cost $125
Maximum Cost $500
Price Range $200 to $380

How much amount should you pay as labor charges?

Labor charges to set up a disposer depend on whether you hire an authorized technician or a typical plumber. Note that the average labor cost to reinstate a disposal unit is $100 to $200. A handyman usually has an hourly rate of $45. On the other hand, expert plumbers may charge $150 per hour.

Before replacing or installing new spares, the professional would cut water and power supply to the unit. The plumber would usually install a new ring beneath the sink.

 Steps to follow while changing a garbage disposal

Always remember that the garbage disposal connects through the drainpipe of your kitchen. Moreover, the hose of your dishwasher attaches to the disposal. The disposals are usually available up to 1 horsepower power rating. In case you have a septic system, you need to buy a septic-safe garbage disposal.

Here is the list of steps on how to change your garbage disposal.

  • Turn off the circuit breaker to the kitchen
  • In case of a new drain, apply Teflon tape across the flange
  • The fiber gasket is beneath the sink. Install the snap ring by pulling it out
  • Remove the drain plug with the help of a hammer
  • Separate the wire cover to connect the electrical cords
  • The last step is to connect the drain. You have to insert the gasket in the outlet with appropriate bolts and flange

When should you replace your garbage disposal?

If you are a first-time owner, you may be confused about when to replace a garbage disposal. It is worthwhile to note here that a garbage disposal should last up to 12 years. But at the end of the day, it is also an appliance. Its longevity depends upon the way you treat it.

This is the reason that regular maintenance is quite necessary while using a garbage disposal. So here is the list of symptoms that would indicate that the appliance needs a replacement.

  • There is way too much clogging 

If the device clogs way too often, the blades are getting blunt. When the blades lose their sharpness, they cannot break down food. As a result, the large particles can clog the whole appliance.

  • Longer grinding time

It is time to buy a new one if the mechanism of the disposal fails to grind food on time. This also implies that the motor of the equipment is getting weaker.

  • You are selecting the reset button frequently

If you are choosing the reset button more often, the motor is becoming weaker.

  • The appliance produces loud noises

If the device is creating loud noises and is not turning on, the fault lies in the motor. The loud noise is due to the motor’s inability to grind despite receiving power.

  • The appliance is leaking from the bottom

If the unit is spilling contents outside through a leak at the bottom, it is best to replace it. Leaks can happen due to gradual wear and tear over a certain period of time.


So let’s hope that the points mentioned above would help you to replace your garbage disposal. Follow these simple steps to ensure that the garbage disposal unit is in a good state.

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