Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Installing a New Garbage Disposal

by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

If you're interested in refacing your kitchen cabinets, it probably means that you like the layout of your kitchen and it is in good condition, but just needs a few updates here and there. Well, installing a new or first-time garbage disposal might be another item on your update list. If this is the case, there are a few points you should consider. Read the following questions to consider whether you can attempt to do it yourself or should hire someone else to do it.

Questions to Consider About Garbage Disposal Installation

  1. Is this a replacement garbage disposal or a completely new one? If your sink has never had a garbage disposal before, it might be best to call an electrician because you need to install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) as well as an electrical switch next to the sink. Remote control switch options are available to keep you from having to do as much electrical work, but they require that you plug the air switch into an existing outlet.
  2. What does local electric code require? Before you install your new garbage disposal, make sure your disposal is properly connected and grounded. Even if you do have electrical experience, some local codes require that a certified electrician make all electrical connections.
  3. Do I have all the measurements? Garbage disposals vary in size, so make sure you take accurate measurements of both your sink, sink drain, and the cabinet space underneath before going shopping for your garbage disposal.
  4. How much plumbing experience do I have? To install a garbage disposal, you must remove the old sink flange, clean off the old plumber's putty, and install the new sink flange using plumber's putty so it is properly sealed. After you have mounted your garbage disposal, attach the discharge tube and align it with the drain trap. Some garbage disposals are also connected to the dishwasher. If you are comfortable carrying out these tasks, you can probably install your new disposal.
  5. Do I have all the right tools? Before you get started, make sure you have thoroughly read the installation manual for your new disposal and have all the right equipment handy. You don't want to get halfway through a project only to discover that you don't have a specialized tool you need.

Installing your new garbage disposal can be a DIY project, but it does require some electrical and plumbing savvy. So ask yourself these five questions to make sure you choose an installation method that you're comfortable with.

About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre

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