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7 Steps to Garbage Disposal Installation & Repair

If you are looking for a garbage disposal installation company, then you may be wondering how much it will cost to install your garbage disposal.

Well, the great news is that garbage disposal installation prices tend to be quite reasonable. However, what should you look out for when buying a new garbage disposal installation or repair?

While the costs may not be prohibitive, poor installations can be costly, which is why we have compiled these 7 steps to help guide you through the process of installing or repairing your garbage disposal!

Average garbage disposal lifespan

The average lifespan of a garbage disposal is 5-7 years.

This is a general rule and you should expect to replace your garbage disposal if it starts malfunctioning. The costs of a broken disposal can be water damage and mold.

It’s important to note that there are many things that can cause the malfunctions such as lack of maintenance, installation problems, or other appliances such as dishwashers that may affect the power supply (which will result in no suction for your disposal).

Is it hard to repair or replace a garbage disposal?

It depends. If you are experienced working with circuit breakers and plumbing fixtures, then it shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you are not experienced, however, then the job might get a little more complicated and you risk improper installation.

The cost of hiring professional help might be less than the frustration you may experience trying to do the project on your own.

While you can hire a general contractor, we highly recommend a licensed plumber from O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer for your labor and installation. We have the experience with your home’s plumbing systems you will need.

The costs associated with an improperly installed garbage disposal can be significant. The cost of having one of our plumbers come and install is peace of mind and satisfaction the project will be completed correctly.

O’Bannon Plumbing and Sewer trucks carry all of the necessary equipment, supplies, and pipes needed to do the job.

What to look for in a garbage disposal repair

The first thing you need to be familiar with is the power source for your garbage disposal.

Typically, you will either have a dishwasher connection or an outlet that is directly connected to the garbage disposal.

If you already have a garbage disposal, and it is leaking or not working, then you can see if it is jammed or damaged.

To check, run water through the sink and see if it drains properly or leaks in the base.

If the leak comes from the pipes, it may be a plumbing problem and you should call us.

If it leaks from the base of your garbage disposal, then it may have rotted out and you will need a new disposal.

always disconnect a garbage disposal from the electrical system before performing maintenance

How to fix a jammed garbage disposal

If the machine starts whirring when it’s turned on, this may be a sign some debris is stuck inside. First TURN OFF the garbage disposal.

Removing food waste & debris

Second, stick your hand in the sink drain and see if you have any solid food waste stuck in it. Remove it if possible.

Garbage disposals are designed for grinding food waste but too much debris in the unit can jam it. In addition, solid objects like silverware, rocks from watering plants, or broken glass can jam it.

Once you are sure it is clear, try turning it on again.

If it is still stuck, and there is no sign of debris, take the wooden end of a hammer and insert it into the sink drain. Push the bottom of the disposal in the sink (counterclockwise) and see if it frees up.

Try turning on and running. If it doesn’t work, turn it off and call O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer to come and fix it as you may have a more serious issue.

Can you install garbage disposal yourself?

The short answer to this is, yes – but it can be quite challenging to learn to install a unit your first time.

It can also take much longer and may not hold up to the rigorous use you demand over time.

We recommend that you hire an O’Bannon professional plumber for the job, we will walk you through the steps for these types of household projects.

Can a septic system have a garbage disposal?

Yes, a septic system can have a garbage disposal unit.

In fact, many people who live in rural areas use this method to deal with food waste if they do not want it going into the local landfill or water treatment plant.

Garbage disposal tips

However, homeowners should never put things like coffee filters down their disposal because they will plug up the drain.

Pour only liquids, except grease, down your food disposal. Other foods or grease can plug your system.

Garbage disposal installation

The first step in performing a garbage disposal installation is to see if you already have one in place. If you do replace a garbage disposal will cost less than a new installation.

If you don’t, no worries! You will, however, need to make a dishwasher connection and install a new panel into your circuit breaker. The materials will cost a little more but it shouldn’t be overwhelming for your project.

You will need to perform some electrical rewiring. You will also need to make a connection to a discharge pipe.

A new garbage disposal unit should always work on its own circuit on your circuit breaker so you do not overload existing electrical systems.

Garbage Disposal Replacement

If you already have one then your job of installing a new garbage disposal is easier than starting fresh. To start, here are your 7 steps.

7 Steps to Garbage Disposal Installation

First, make sure you have the basic tools needed after doing some research. The materials you will need include a wrench, flashlight, bucket, mounting ring, fiber gasket, discharge tube, and of course a garbage disposal.

Step One: Power

Make sure the power is off.

how to perform a garbage disposal repair, save on costs of replacing garbage disposal

Step Two: Disconnect electrical & water connections

Place your bucket underneath the old garbage disposal so it can fill with excess water. Disconnect and pull out the old disposal by freeing up all electrical wiring and water connections where it was attached. This will vary depending on your existing garbage disposal installation. If you do not have one installed, see step three below.

Step Three: Dishwasher & sink drain

Attach the new unit to the existing dishwasher connection and/or sink drain pipe.

Make sure any rubber washers are in good shape so the sink and p trap do not leak when you turn on the water after install. Use stainless steel or nylon lock nuts, never regular nuts that can rust which will cause leaks over time. Also, make sure the drain unit is balanced and secured tightly into place.

Step Four: Test for leaks

Test for leaks by turning on both the garbage disposal switch and water at the sink faucet. Let it drain. If you have a dishwasher connected, make sure it is running properly also.

If everything appears to be working without leaking then turn off power or water connections at the circuit breaker or sink.

Step Five: Mount the disposal

Mount and insert the new unit onto the underside of the sink cabinet with three screws provided by the manufacturer with mounting ring, flange, and fiber gasket – usually the same ones you removed from the old disposal. Two are at the front on top and one is located alongside toward the back of the garbage disposal bottom plate under the sink.

Ensure that the rubber gasket is properly seated in place before mounting screws in the mounting ring. This will ensure a good fit in your drain.

Step Six: Connect to the dishwasher

Connect dishwasher hose to garbage disposal unit using the clamp provided with a new unit or use the old one if you have it available. If no existing hose, attach directly to the sink drain pipe or install a stainless steel L-shaped fitting into the top of the garbage disposal unit and connect hoses from either side for extra security against the disposal unit leaking over time. Connect garbage disposal to discharge tube and p trap pipe fittings.

Discard excess materials in the trash.

Step Seven: Turn on and test

Turn on the power switch and cold water at the circuit breaker and fill the drain to ensure the garbage disposal is operating properly. If your drain is clean and the p trap is not leaking you’re in good shape.

If you run into any issues, turn it off again and call O’Bannon Plumbing & Sewer for quick repairs before using the unit further. We are always available.

garbage disposal diagram

Does a plumber or electrician install a garbage disposal?

An electrician may be needed to work on your circuit breaker and electrical panel if you are going to install a garbage disposal. You also may need their help in installing the wiring for an electrical switch if one is not already in place.

This is a relatively simple project. Electricians have specialized knowledge and the labor costs and time shouldn’t be more than an hour or two.

Our plumbers may be needed to work on your existing sink and water lines. Their experience comes with installing thousands of garbage disposals.

We guarantee our plumbers will be efficient when they install or replace your garbage disposal will leave you as a 100% satisfied homeowner.

How much should a garbage disposal install cost?

The average cost of a garbage disposal install for a kitchen sink and drain is quite reasonable. It usually takes no more than an hour or two of labor depending on complexity.

The average cost of a garbage disposal varies from one make and model so ask us about the cost-benefit of choosing one with more features.

You can save on cost depending on which one you select. Labor typically isn’t affected by which disposal you choose unless pipes need to be reworked to fit the model you select.

Depending on the one you are replacing, our plumbers can give you a free verbal estimate. We can help you shop and decide which is right for you so you will be happy with your purchase.

We will also provide an installation cost for any new garbage disposal service. Our plumbers never charge extra to remove an old disposal or recycle an old one.

We carry all of the tools materials and parts you will need to replace your old garbage disposal including hoses, connectors, and other necessary materials for installation.

The O’Bannon team is always available to assist you with a garbage disposal replacement. We can come to your home on the same day you call us and can provide free verbal estimates.

What should I look out for when buying a new garbage disposal?

There are plenty of garbage disposal brands and models to choose from. Here is a list we recommend:

Waste King®



Some things you will want to look out for when you purchase a garbage disposal from us. These include horsepower, amps, grinder technology such as noise reduction features.

You will also want to consider the price, warranty, and noise rating.

plumber installing garbage disposal, affordable cost garbage disposal installation

The O’Bannon Difference

We are a family-owned business that has been in the plumbing industry in Chicago and Northern Indiana for over 70 years.

Our company is dedicated to providing our customers with fast, reliable service at an affordable price.

Whether you need installation or repair of your garbage disposal, we have you covered! Give us a call today and one of our experienced plumbers will be happy to answer any questions you may have about pricing, scheduling, and warranties – anything! (773)-862-5112

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