How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

What You'll Need
Pipe wrench
Adjustable wrench

As hard as a garbage disposal unit works to grind waste food, it is understandable that it will eventually begin to leak or just decide to stop working. After all, the average disposal unit is used an average of 6 to 8 times per day. Considering the kinds of things that find their way into a disposal, such as plastic, paper, and even tableware, it's amazing that a garbage disposal holds up as long as it does. Eventually, every homeowner has to replace his disposal unit. When this happens to you, you will have to either pay a plumber to replace it or replace it, yourself. When you are called upon to remove a disposal that has stopped working, unless you have experience in performing this job, you are likely to need a few words of advice such as you'll find below.

Step 1 – Preparing

Removing a garbage disposal can be a challenge. You will likely need to insert part of your body into the space below the sink to allow you to see the pipes, joints, screws, and connections you'll need to disconnect. You can save yourself unnecessary frustration by removing from this space all items you have stored there. Also, have a bucket or container available to catch any water that will drain from your disposal unit or sink. Next, if you want to see all the connections you'll need to loosen, you'll need a light. A drop cord with work light attached to it works far better than a flashlight. Finally, be sure to disconnect power to your disposal unit.

Step 2 – Removing the Discharge Tube

Locate the discharge pipe, a PVC pipe attached to your disposal by two screws. Remove these screws, then push the pipe out of the way, so that it's end is no longer near the disposal unit. Connections of this pipe and the other PVC pipes will allow you to turn them without loosening them or causing them to leak, so don't be concerned about moving the discharge pipe.

Step 3 – Disconnecting the Dishwasher Waste Tube

Locate the dishwasher waste tube. Usually it is a 1" rubber tube connected to your dishwasher at the far end. The near end will be connected to the disposal unit by fitting over a metal discharge spout on the unit and will be held in place with a metal band that is kept tight by a screw. To remove this tube, use your screwdriver to loosen the screw until you are able to pull the tube away from the disposal unit.

Step 4- Disconnecting the Unit's Mounting Assembly

Turn the disposal unit's mounting ring counterclockwise to loosen it from the mounting assembly, then back out the three screws that hold this assembly together. Locate the snap ring that holds the assembly parts together. It will be a spring steel ring about 8 gauge. Use your screwdriver to remove this ring, then the assembly parts--mounting ring, back-up ring, and fiber gasket—will separate.

Step 5 – Removing the Disposal Unit

Push the sink flange up into the sink, and remove your disposal unit.