Do I need a plumber to install a garbage disposal?
A garbage disposal is pretty simple to install. It’s basically like having an extra deep sink that helps you cut up your food into little pieces before it goes down the drain.
There are only a few connections involved in installing a garbage disposal, which act as couplings between the machine and water lines, electric cord, and dishwasher tubing.
Typically these connections require only basic tools like wrenches or channel lock pliers (if there aren’t any water lines) for tightening or loosening of nuts and bolts. Although a liquid cleaner isn’t required when connecting a new device to your sewage system, it makes sense to use a liquid cleaner made specifically for this purpose, so you don’t have to worry about rusting parts over time from being exposed to water.
If you’re competent and confident in your abilities, then you should have no problem installing garbage disposal on your own. Since there are only three connections to worry about, it shouldn’t take more than an hour at the most.
However, suppose you aren’t particularly experienced working on devices that are electrically or hydraulically operated. In that case, it might be best to have a professional do the job for you so they will have experience with something similar. On top of that, some states require installations of new appliances or repairs on existing ones to be done by licensed plumbers due to safety concerns over using non-licensed individuals to work with electrical wiring or sewage systems.
So while you don’t need to hire a plumber, you may end up having to if your state doesn’t allow unlicensed people to do the work.
Can you install a garbage disposal in an existing sink?
The answer to this question is yes — it is possible to install a garbage disposal in an existing sink, but there are some things you need to consider.
First of all, not all sinks can be used for new installations. Many vessels sinks cannot accommodate the weight and vibration of a garbage disposal [that’s what they said]. Also, if your current sink isn’t fitted with three holes on the bottom [i.e., no place for a dishwasher drain line], then you may have problems. Also, you will most likely want to connect your new disposer with a dishwasher or other plumbing. If you don’t have any hookups underneath the sink, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to go back under there and drill more holes!
If your sink is in good shape, you will need to decide whether or not to move the drain. Most disposers have a flange on which you can attach a strainer assembly with rubber gaskets. This may be all the connection you need if your drain line is close enough to the wall (about 12″ away). If it’s too far away, though, you’ll either need to extend the downspout yourself or hire a plumber to do it for you.
If you are connecting to existing lines, make sure they can handle the new load! It shouldn’t be hard to calculate this based on how old your house is and how much stuff goes down your drains each day – but if in doubt, call an expert.
You can purchase a garbage disposal at any big box home improvement center or other retailers that carry plumbing parts. In addition, you might want to call around to various stores – some sell disposers, while others only sell the drains and flanges for hooking them up. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a place where they sell both!
Do all garbage disposals fit all sinks?
Garbage disposals are made to fit standard 3-bolt mounting assemblies. Most of the time, the only sink that will need a custom-fabricated.
A 3-bolt flange is an older enameled cast iron sink that may have come from another country before there were any standards. Some stainless steel sinks can also be problematic because their mounting holes are often very small and close together.
But if you’re willing to use some tools and take your time, almost any garbage disposal can be fitted to almost any 3-bolt mounting assembly, including many unthreaded models.
In short, all elements of the sink that are metal must be the same material. So, for example, if you have a cast iron sink with an enamel coating made of zinc or aluminum, even though the cast iron might be compatible, the enamel will probably not allow proper adhesion between it and your stainless steel flange.
If this is the case, you’ll need to find another solution to mount your disposal to your sink.
The last thing I want to discuss is something called “dishwasher hookups.” These are hoses under your sink that attach directly from your dishwasher drain hose (usually located in an external cabinet) into either one of two places:
1) The upright portion of your garbage disposal, or
2) The dishwasher’s drain connection.
These are typically only used by professional plumbers, but occasionally homeowners will install them too. If you do have this installed, keep in mind that while the sink is not designed to be connected to a dishwasher, it is possible for it to break under certain conditions.
For example, if your sink is clogged with food debris and water does not get near the internal parts of your disposal during the wash cycle of your dishwasher.
By following all the guidelines I’ve just discussed, you should be able to determine whether or not an additional mounting assembly will be required so you can match up compatible elements of your sink before making any changes.
This way, you’ll know exactly what products and tools you’ll need before making a purchase so you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth the effort.
How do I know what size garbage disposal to buy?
The size of the garbage disposal you choose depends on how much space you have between your sink and the wall. If you only have an inch or two, pick up a 1/2 HP model. A 3/4 HP is usually sufficient for most households.
Your first step is to determine what type of plumbing lines are currently hooked up to your kitchen sink. There are several ways to tell if your setup is linked directly with no air gap (a one-piece sink) or has an air gap (a two-piece sink).
1. If your faucet has a threaded spout, then you have an air gap and can pick out any size disposal that fits between the wall and the bottom of your sink.
2. If one side of your faucet threads off before it reaches the countertop, you probably have an air gap (if not, this means you need to replace both sides of the spout with threaded pieces). If so, there are kits available to convert an existing two-piece system into a single unit for 1/2 HP garbage disposals.
3. If you only see one set of threads on each side of your faucet, maybe you’re using a soap dispenser or something else that is not connected to the waste system, look under your sink. If you see two threaded spouts with no air gap in between them, you do not have an air gap connection.
4. If you have a single sink with no faucet, or your faucet is installed above the countertop level, you directly connect to the drain system and can go with any size garbage disposal.
Garbage disposals are rated by horsepower (HP). The higher the number of HP, the more powerful the unit. You should buy one strong enough to handle all food scraps in your household for a reasonable amount of time. For example: 2 people -1/2 HP; 4-5 people-3/4 HP; 7+ people- 1 HP or larger.
Choosing a garbage disposal unit
Your second step when choosing a new disposal is to find out if it’s compatible with your sink setup and plumbing connections. There are three typical setups:
1. The garbage disposal is connected to a dishwasher. You cannot use an air gap kit with this type of system because the water pressure from the faucet could force food particles into the dishwasher and clog it up. Many disposals come with adapters that connect directly to your dishwasher in this situation, or you can purchase a clamp-on sink flange designed for use in this application.
2. If you have only one sink and no air gap, your setup is simple-any size disposal will do as long as it fits between your wall and the bottom of your sink.
3. If you have two sinks, be sure there are at least 4 inches (10 cm) between them. If not, your only option is a compact disposal because you cannot use an air gap kit to make the connection flush with the wall.
The final step in choosing a new garbage disposal is to check out its features and make sure it has everything you need. Not all units are the same, so be sure yours includes these basic features:
1. A power cord long enough for your kitchen setup (usually 4-5 ft).
2. An easy-to-install mounting assembly that attaches securely to your sink or countertop (place this where it will be hidden by the faucet).
3. A pre-installed splash guard with stopper
4. A removable splash guard
5. Removable rinsing components
6. A sound-dampening insulation to make it quieter
7. A corrosion-resistant grinding chamber that’s easy to clean 8. Removable, dishwasher-safe grinding components
9. An inlet/outlet connection size compatible with your plumbing connections
10. A removable splash tray for easy cleanup after disposals.
Follow these steps to choose a garbage disposal, and you should be well on the way to trouble-free operation for many years to come.
How long does garbage disposal last?
On average, a garbage disposal can last anywhere from seven to fifteen years. However, when properly maintained, it may even last beyond that time frame.
Like any other appliance you have in your home, there are certain things you can do that will lengthen its life expectancy and other actions or events that could decrease the product’s overall lifespan.