Garbage disposal installation

How difficult is it for a layperson (Mr. Beckwall, no plumbing experience whatsoever) to install a new garbage disposal? Any how-to sites you might like to recommend? Wouldn’t this be much cheaper than paying a plumber, or even a handyman (I always think of Rocky Horror Picture Show with that one) to do the job? How much is the hardware and disposal itself? Are there any superior brands
to look for? How many questions can one goofball ask in a thread before being thrown outta the SD?

Is there a disposal in place already that you can just “copy”? Does the new one come with instructions?

If there is a dishwasher involved, don’t forget to knock out the little dishwasher drain plug on the new unit.

Yeah, the old disposal has finally died, just need a replacement. Wouldn’t it be funny if The Replacements specialized in this kind of work? :smack:

If you get the same type, disposers can be almost mindlessly easy to swap. By same “type” I’m referring to how it’s attached to the sink. In-Sink-Erator, or ISE makes most of the brands you’ll find at places like Home Depot or Sears. The locking ring unscrews about a quarter turn, the old disposer drops off (and I mean it drops off - be prepared for the weight!) the new one is held in position and the ring tightened. It can be a bit tricky to finagle all three of the tabs on the disposer into the locking ring while you’re holding up a 20-pound lump, but it’s not particularly hard. It’s not really obvious in that pic, but at dead center, there’s a broad loop - either tap on its right-hand edge with a hammer or use the un-jamming wrench in the loop to turn it.

If you have a dishwasher, punch out the plug before mounting the unit, and be sure to remove it, or it will make a hell of a noise when you switch the disposer on for the first time.

Avoid the super-cheap disposers. They don’t last long and they’re NOISY. Go for the mid-line - you’ll get a stronger motor, longer lasting parts and sound insulation. All you get for the really expensive units is more insulation (less noise) and the “prestige” of a brand name - pretty silly, considering that ISE makes the KitchenAid disposers, just for one example. IIRC, I spent about $160 on a “slightly higher than mid-grade” disposer from Sears and it’s the best disposer I’ve ever had.

Garbage disposal installation is pretty easy. The instructions that come with it are geared to the amateur.

As to brands, there’s really just a few to choose from and they all make a number of products ranging from so-so to outstanding. Insinkerator is probably the largest selling brand. Prices go from $60 for the meh ones to $300 for the sexy stainless steel models. All the hardware comes with it, except for the electrical cord and the hose clamp for the dishwasher drain connection, but you’ll already have those with your existing disposer.

If your old disposer fit your needs, there’s really no reason to get anything bigger, and if you stick with the same model, it simplifies the installation because you can use the same mounting hardware. Although replacing the mounting hardware isn’t difficult.

The installation isn’t that hard, but it is a bit awkward if you’ve never done it before. There’s two difficult parts that he’ll need help with. First, at one point he will have to snap a metal (split) O-Ring onto the bottom. It will be VERY VERY VERY helpful if he has someone that can stand near him and put downward pressure on the rest of the collar installation. It’s a PITA when the whole thing moves around when you’re trying to do this. Even when you have someone to hold the top down, during this step it helps if you swear at it.
The second part is actually hanging the disposal itself. This isn’t hard, but if you’ve never done it before, it’s really heavy and awkard.
Personally, I have a harder time with the plumbing bit of it then the installation.
For someone that’s never done it before, I would estimate from start to finish should take about 30-45 minutes PLUS time to do the plumbing.
As for brands, look for In Sink Erator and don’t even bother with the others.
(Oh and if you hook a dishwasher to the dishwasher inlet, make sure you jam a screwdriver in there first and knock the plug out)

(Oh #2, when he snaps the O-Ring on, make sure he’s got the other assembly up there first (the part with the two plates and the 3 screws) otherwise you gotta start over, and make sure you have plenty of plumbers putty, it should be squeezing out all over the place, if it leaks, drop the disposal, loosen the screws and push the collar back up to get more in there, you don’t have to take the o-ring off.

This sink drain assembly itself is not necessary to redo if you get a disposer which fits the current one, as mentioned by gotpasswords. Odds are you can get a disposer which is the same as the old type, and it’s worth doing so.

As gotpasswords also mentioned, don’t forget the disposer’s DW drain knockout if you have your dishwasher hooked up there (it’s the little nipple stub with ridges for the DW hose and clamp) and make sure you don’t knock out the plug if you are not draining the DW to the disposer.

The electric connection is easy; pay attention to how it was done before and turn off the circuit.

You will probably need to redo the P-Trap b/c the new disposer is at a different height. Easy.

I agree that about $175 is the sweet spot for noise and power.

Just don’t give your hubby the credit card when he goes to get the new one or else the simple task of replacing the disposal will turn into a new sink (stainless!), new faucet (Kohler!), new plumbing (complete with fancy shutoffs!), and an undercounter RO system for a grand total of $1,100. Do not be so foolish.

Oh, and make sure you turn if off before you try to remove it. :smiley:

Reference point: My brother’s Insinkerator Badger disposal just died, and he was able to go to the store, get the same model, and replace it all by himself. He is the epitome of “layperson” and has zero plumbing experience (very little home improvement experience at all). It’s been a week now and nothing has fallen apart, no water is gushing out, and no one has gotten electrocuted.

So based on that, I’d say replacing your old one with the exact same model can’t be too hard.

Sometimes it works, but I can tell you the ISE Evolution, doesn’t fit with the other ISE Collars.

Another thing to remember. If you do replace the collar, rememer that when you install the new one, to keep the words (whatever it says) facing you. Purely aesthetic, but it would bug the hell out of me to have it facing sideways until the next time it breaks.

If you can afford the ISE Evolution Excel, you probably wouldn’t be asking how to install it on a message board, and you’d just leave it up to your people to call the plumber. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have an ISE Evolution Excel. I installed it myself.
ETA :smack: nevermind I get it.

This is not called an O-ring. O-rings are seals, and are not split. This is a retaining ring, usually called a snap ring. Using the right term greatly increases the chance of getting the right part and/or correct advice.

You might consider some sort of jack to hold the disposal as you monkey with the collar. That way you can use both hands to make sure you get all three tabs on the collar on the first try.

Also, don’t for get to punch out the tab for your dishwasher.

You must be my sister since I did exactly that with a Badger a year ago.

Excellent. Can you get back to me with that money you owe me, sometime this year? :slight_smile: