How to remove a garbage disposal unit

Collecting stinky food waste under your kitchen sink can be unappealing. This is where a garbage disposal unit, or garburator, as it is commonly referred to, can come in handy. A garbage disposal can shred food waste into pieces small enough to pass easily through your home’s plumbing and reduce the amount of trash you accumulate.

Learning how to safely remove your garbage disposal will make your life easier when it comes time to repair or replace your unit. [Photo Credit: istock.com/fstop123]

How to remove a garbage disposal unit

How to remove a garbage disposal unit

Time: Less than 1 hour
Frequency: When needed
Difficulty: Easy
Tools: Wrench, screwdriver

Learn to safely remove your garbage disposal when it comes time to repair or replace it.

Signs your garbage disposal is failing

Here are some signs your garbage disposal unit has seen better days:

  • The noises it makes are louder than usual. Garbage disposals are loud at the best of times, but harsh noises could indicate a problem.
  • Water is backing up into your sink. This could mean water is rotating, but not actually breaking the food particles down.
  • Food items are not breaking down. If you can see large food pieces, it could mean the blades of your garbage disposal unit are deteriorating.

Types of garbage disposal units

There are different types of food waste disposal units and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Continuous feed models:

  • When you switch the power on, the garburator continues to run until you switch it off.
  • This allows you to dispose of waste continuously without waiting for the garbage disposal chamber to fill up.
  • It’s convenient and easy to use while you are cooking.
  • These models have filler necks that remain open. This can be risky if sharp bone shards fly out during use or a utensil accidentally falls into the chamber. Keep children away from the disposal’s opening.
  • Water usage may also increase if you run the disposal for long periods of time with the water running.
  • It is often less expensive than batch feed disposal units.

Batch feed models:

  • With a batch feed, a stopper or cover is placed over the full chamber and turned to grind the waste, one batch at a time.
  • This is better suited to smaller amounts of waste compared with a continuous feed model.
  • The garbage disposal’s stopper makes it safer, as undesirable contents (and body parts!) cannot fall into the disposal.
  • It is less convenient and more costly than continuous feed models.

How to remove a faulty garbage disposal unit

Follow these simple steps to safely remove your garbage disposal unit:

  • Begin by turning off the power at the electrical service panel.
  • Remove the P-trap waste line. Put a bucket under the P-trap to catch the waste water.
  • Using a wrench, unscrew the slip nut that connects the waste pipe from the garbage disposal unit’s discharge tube.
  • Remove the garbage disposal unit from the disposal mounting assembly ring by placing a screwdriver in one of the disposal’s mounting ring lugs that connects to the lower mounting ring.
  • Turn to the left until the mounting ring is separated and remove the garbage disposal unit.

Good to know!

Installing a garbage disposal unit involves electrical work and is best left to a professional electrician.

Tips on maintaining a garbage disposal unit

You can help keep your garbage disposal unit running smoothly with proper use and minor maintenance. Stick to throwing these “safe” foods down your garbage disposal unit:

  • Citrus rinds and other fruit scraps
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Most vegetable scraps

Throw these items in the trash instead:

  • Large bones
  • Grease
  • Corn husks, potato and banana peels
  • Pasta
  • Glass

Good to know!

The average lifespan of a garbage disposal unit is approximately 12 years if properly taken care of and maintained.

A garbage disposal can be a very useful and convenient addition to your kitchen clean-up routine. With proper care and maintenance, it can provide well over a decade of food pulverizing service.

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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