How to fix a garbage disposal

Call a plumber or call the manufacturers? Wait a minute if you are about to panic about your garbage disposal being jammed. It is a common problem from the users of garbage disposals and can be fixed quite easily (I actually mean it, this time).

A garbage disposal is a mandatory appliance that keeps your kitchen clean and waste free. It hides inside your kitchen sink and eats up all the waste. That’s the reason why sometimes people forget that they are using a garbage disposal.

And sometimes they get hard reminders when the disposal stops working. Below, we will discuss most common reasons of a jammed garbage disposal unit, how to fix the jam and how to prevent disposal from getting jammed again in the future.

A garbage disposal jam can be caused by a number of reasons. A disposal unit may get stuck with the grease, oil and fat that can harden over the time. Sometimes, starchy foods like rice, pasta etc., stringy vegetables peels or any type of chunks of food items can get stuck in the corners. It does not really matter what the reason is. You can easily get the situation in control by fixing your jammed garbage disposal with some simple and easy steps.

Jammed Garbage Disposal Solution

If you have a garbage disposal jammed badly and it is not working, then these are the easiest steps that can help you to fix it. Why pay a plumber from your pocket if you can un-jam the garbage disposal and fix the problem by yourself? Follow these steps to fix a jammed garbage disposal.

Step 1: Check the Reset Button

Whenever there is a problem related to your garbage disposal try to check the reset button at first. It is a very good way to find out what actually the problem is.

Most garbage disposal units have their reset button on the very bottom (as displayed on the picture –>), but some of them can have it on the rear side as well, but it still should be in the lower part of the disposal unit.

When your garbage disposal gets clogged for a long time and slowly gets stuck, your disposal motor takes more strength to process the waste. As the time passes, it gets overheated and takes too much strength to process even a minimum amount of food.

That’s the time when the reset button that is placed under the disposal unit gets popped up and turns the motor down to save it. It causes the disconnection of electricity, so the motor will not start.

Step 2: Disconnect from Electricity

Before you start fixing a jammed garbage disposal, firstly, you need to disconnect the disposal from the electricity connection for safety purposes. You don’t want to unjam your garbage disposal only to get electrified, right?

Step 3: Unjam with Allen Wrench

How to fix a garbage disposal

Reach under the sink where you have the disposal unit’s reset button. You will see there is a hole in the middle of the underneath surface of your disposal cylinder. Take the Allen Wrench that you got with new disposal unit. Put it in the hole and try to turn it back and forth.

It may take some strength at first, but after some time you should move it easily clockwise and anti-clockwise. Repeat this task until the movement is spontaneous and the jam is totally clear.

How to unjam a garbage disposal if you don’t have an Allen wrench? If you cannot unjam the blades from the bottom, try to unjam it from the top. Follow the step 5.

Step 4: Push the Reset Button if Tripped

When your garbage disposal is jammed and the button is popped out, that means you need to clean the jam and push the reset button. If the button still comes out, then wait for ten minutes. When the motor will cool down and will get ready to go, the reset button will stay inside when pushed.

If the button is not popped up, that means the motor is not overheating. No need to push the reset button in that case.

Step 5: Unjam Garbage Disposal from the Top

After doing everything I mentioned above the disposal should run smoothly. If it is still jammed, then you should do some few things to unjam it. Take a broomstick and put the wooden part into the sink hole. Now turn it back and forth to move the blades around. Be careful not to put your hand or fingers inside, as the blades can cut you.

If you feel that there is something big stuck inside, take a torch and look inside. If there is something like a glass or cutlery type thing, pull it off with a needle nose pliers.

Step 6: Pour Hot Water to Clean

To prevent any kind of grease, oil, and fat to get stuck inside your garbage disposal you need to pour hot boiling water inside the disposal unit. You should never put hot water when the disposal unit is turned on and it has waste inside. It may cause the fat to get separated and stuck. Never use hard chemicals to clean your disposal. It eventually corrodes the inside parts of the disposal.

Hope this will solve the garbage disposal Jammed problem. Write in the comment section if you have any question regarding how to unjam a garbage disposal.

If your disposal is still jammed, wait a few minutes, then repeat the process again. If the jam is not at all gone, then you should contact your manufacturer. Remember to check if you have a warranty. In the case of very old disposal units, the garbage disposal jam may occur very frequently. In that case, go for a new garbage disposal for your kitchen. Your kitchen deserves that, if you ask me.

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How to fix a garbage disposal

The horror movie image of victims having hands and arms severed in a garbage disposal is entirely a Hollywood invention. In reality, the blades inside a garbage disposal are rather dull grinders, not gleaming, razor-sharp sabers. That is not to say that a disposal should be taken lightly—it is indeed possible to be painfully injured if you don’t practice basic safety measures.

But there is really only one rule you need to follow: Never put your hand or fingers down into the disposal, even if you think the disposal has been unplugged or its circuit has been shut off. If a disposal gets turned on accidentally while your fingers are in the opening, the likelihood is that you will end up with bruised fingers, not bloody amputation. But this is not a risk that is necessary in any way.

Never reach into a garbage disposal.

If you follow that basic rule, the most common problems with a garbage disposal are easy to diagnose and almost always easy to fix.

Types of Garbage Disposals to Know

There are several types of garbage disposals, including batch feed and continuous. Batch feed needs to have the cover placed over the drain opening to activate the disposal. Continuous utilizes a switch to turn the unit on and off. There is also an air switch model that uses air to activate the disposal. What all these models have in common is that the power feeding the disposal should come from an outlet under the sink.


For safety, don't work with the power to the disposal on. Additionally, it is always wise to check power to the switch using a voltage tester after you unplug the unit. This can point you to the potential issue, like a tripped or faulty breaker or GFCI, much faster if it is an electrical problem.

When you have a jammed garbage disposal, we’re here with repair tips.

Watch & Learn

This 1-minute video shows you how to fix and repair a garbage disposal that’s jammed, humming, stuck, or has stopped working.

Written Directions

Every InSinkErator is shipped with a self-service wrench. The wrench is silver colored, and shaped like a little crank, about four inches long. If you cannot find the wrench, you can use a standard 1/4-inch Allen wrench, or click here to order a replacement.

Materials Needed

Jam Buster Wrench
Tongs or Pliers


  • Make certain that the garbage disposal’s switch is in the off position. Do not place your hand in the garbage disposal at any time.
  • If the sink is full of water, wait for it to drain, or bail the water out using a bucket or pot.

1. Insert the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal.

The hole is located under the sink at the bottom of the garbage disposal, dead center, facing the floor. Use the wrench like a crank.

How to fix a garbage disposal

2. Work the wrench back and forth in both directions.

If the wrench will not turn easily, it is OK to use some force. The wrench is designed to bend before any damage is done to the garbage disposal.

3. Continue working with the wrench.

Continue working with the wrench until it turns freely in complete circles in both directions.

4. Check the overload protector.

The overload protector is located under the sink, on the bottom of the garbage disposal, facing the floor. It is a small square red button. If the overload protector has tripped, you will see the red button dropped down about a quarter of an inch (5mm). Gently press the red button. If it does not stay up, wait ten minutes and try again.

How to fix a garbage disposal

5. Check inside garbage disposal’s grinding chamber.

Look down into the garbage disposal using a flashlight. Do not place your hand into the garbage disposal. Pay special attention to the area around the outer edge of the garbage disposal’s shredding disk where you see the little teeth. If you see anything in the garbage disposal, remove it using tongs or pliers.

6. Turn on the water, then the garbage disposal.

The garbage disposal should now run. If it jams again, use the wrench again. You may need to repeat the process several times.

Still Not Working?

Text us at 262-233-2231 for more help! If the garbage disposal continues to jam, it may need service . If the problem with your garbage disposal is due to a quality issue, InSinkErator ma​y pay to have an authorized service center service the garbage disposal in your home at no charge to you.

Are you looking for how to fix a garbage disposal? If you do, don’t get scared. The problem is more likely in your flange seal, not the disposal itself. Flange seals wear out over time and when they do, they can cause a gusher of water to come out of the disposal at regular intervals.

How to Fix Garbage Disposal Problems?

How to fix a garbage disposal? You must first check the flange for leaks and repair any damages to the flange before you can try to fix the problem with the unit. Check the unit for any other signs of leakage, such as drips or pools of water behind the unit or evidence that the disposal is leaking. If you have noticed one of these signs, it may be impossible for you to repair the unit on your own. You will need to call a professional.

How to fix a garbage disposal

If you have found no leakage or leaks in your disposal and your current model doesn’t have a gasket, it is time to check the drain lines. It is important to make sure these are in good shape. Leaks in drain lines can be the source of serious drainage problems. Use an electronic flow meter to check the level of each drain line. If you find leaks, you should replace both the drain lines or their respective assemblies. A broken or cracked drain line assembly could be the reason for your leaky toilet.

Next, you should check the hot water tank and the condenser. If you find leaks in these areas, they may be causing your leakage problems. You may have discovered that the leaky pipes under your kitchen sink, tub or even the laundry basket are causing your drainage problems because of their position and connection to the main unit. In order to resolve these drainage issues, you will need to replace both parts separately.

Next, it is important to examine the seals between your disposal and the various components. Your garbage disposal is usually connected to a series of pipes, including a series of pipes leading to the holding tank, a series of pipes leading to the outside of the house, and lastly, a series of drains connected to the holding tank. Over time, these pipes and drains can become loose due to age, use, and/or corrosion. If you notice these pipes starting to become loose, you should loosen them to prevent the waste water from backing up and causing a clog. Loose pipes also allow for easier cleaning since there is less resistance when cleaning them.

There are several things you can do to ensure the safety of your garbage disposal. One of these is to inspect the hoses that attach to the drain lines and check for any signs of wear. Also, check to make sure the float switch is working properly. If you notice any damage on either of these items, replace them with a new one. This will allow your float switch to work properly again, which prevents leaks.

Now that you know how to fix the unit, you may be wondering how to stop the humming sound. Humming is typically caused by the gas-air mix being unable to move properly. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the intake tube on your garbage disposal units. Now, remove the metal clips that hold the intake tube in place, and pull the tube straight up through the flange. You will notice that the air flow will be restricted somewhat, but this is not a cause for concern as it will go back into place after it is removed.

Another common problem faced by garbage disposal owners is the occurrence of a circuit breaker tripped. Again, this is a very easy fix. To do this, you should disconnect the gas line that the garbage disposal uses. Once you have disconnected the gas line, look for a metal tab on the flange near the circuit breaker, and tap the tabs to determine if they are tripped. If so, you can simply disconnect the circuit breaker and then reconnect the gas line to restore power to the system.

How to fix a garbage disposal

A garbage disposal is a convenient household appliance that will chop up and dispose of leftover food. With its motorized rotating blades, it makes quick work of dinner scraps. However, it’s not uncommon for garbage disposals to become clogged, temporarily preventing owners from using them. Before you call the local plumber, you should first attempt to fix the clog yourself.

Common Causes of a Clogged Garbage Disposal:

  • Pouring grease, vegetable oil, olive oil, and/or animal fat down the garbage disposal.
  • Placing flower or plant clippings down the garbage disposal.
  • Failing to sharpen the blades (dull blades may result in large chunks clogging the drain).
  • Pouring used coffee grounds down the garbage disposal.
  • A natural buildup of calcium or other minerals due to hard water.
  • Using hot water.

The Baking Soda and Vinegar ‘Trick’

One of the easiest ways to fix a clogged garbage disposal drain involves a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour half a box of baking soda down the side of your sink with the garbage disposal, and pour the remaining half down the drain on the opposite side of the sink. Now do the same with a bottle of filtered white apple cider vinegar.

The combination of vinegar and baking soda should result in a chemical reaction characterized by the production of expanding foam. You’ll likely notice the foam coming out from both sides of the sink, which is a sign it’s working. Hopefully, the expanding foam will push the clog out as well. Let the baking soda and vinegar solution sit for about 20 minutes before flushing it with hot water.

Remove The Pipe Trap

If the baking soda and vinegar did not fix your clogged garbage disposal, you should try removing the pipe trap underneath the sink. Most modern-day kitchen sink plumbing systems feature either an S or P-shaped trap. Open up the cabinet underneath your kitchen sink to see which type of pipe trap it possesses. Just as the name suggests, the “pipe trap” is designed to catch food and other debris, preventing it from running to the sewer or septic tank.

Place a bucket underneath the pipe trap and turn the locking mechanism to release it. Depending on the tightness of the pipes, you may need a pair of channel lock pliers. Once loose, remove the pipe trap and inspect it for clogged food or other gunk. Clean out any clogged debris you find and reattach it to the sink’s plumbing.

Stuck with a garbage disposal leak? Luckily, it’s normally an easy fix. Here are 8 ways to fix a garbage disposal leak without a plumber.

August 11, 2021 by Ian Haynes

A fully functioning garbage disposal makes life a lot easier and helps to protect your plumbing. However, a leaking garbage disposal can impact its effectiveness, causing water damage to your cabinet and your floor. It can also lead to wider problems in your kitchen if you don’t get it fixed quickly.

To avoid an expensive problem, you need to fix the garbage disposal leak as quickly as possible. This guide will help you understand why the issue has occurred and how to solve the problem yourself.

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8 Reasons Your Garbage Disposal Is Leaking (+ How To Fix)

There are some common reasons leaks occur in your garbage disposal which means you can generally diagnose the problem and establish the solution fairly easily.

Leaks typically occur from three places: the top, the middle, or the bottom of the garbage disposal, and we’ve given a list of the common causes below.

To complete any kind of repairs on your garbage disposal, you will need:

How to fix a garbage disposal

Remember to turn off the power completely before you undertake any repair or maintenance work.

1. Loose Drain Lines

If the leak is coming from the bottom of your disposal, then it could be due to loose drain lines. At the base of your disposal, you should have two pipes, a thick sewer line, and a thin dishwasher drain line.

These parts see a lot of use, and if they aren’t fitted correctly, then water will drip from them. If you can see any visible water dripping from them, you need to follow these steps:

Remember to check your drain lines regularly for any drips. Over time they can become worn and damaged.

2. Split Or Cracked Disposal Body

How to fix a garbage disposal

If you notice a leak from the middle of your disposal, it could be a crack in the body. This is the worst type of leak because it usually means your garbage disposal is damaged beyond repair. These cracks typically happen because it’s been knocked, often when somebody is searching or retrieving something from the cupboard.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for this, and if you see a split or crack, then you probably need to replace your garbage disposal. You should consider placing your new one in a safer location to prevent is being knocked or damaged in passing.

3. Leaky Sink Flange

If the leak is coming from the top of your disposal, then it could be a leaking sink flange. This flange is located right at the top where the disposal meets the drain and is used to prevent dirt from building up in your sink. If you can see leaking water coming from this area, you need to replace it.

How to fix a garbage disposal

A leaky flange is generally caused by either weak putty that can’t stop water or because it’s loose. You will need to replace the putty and can do so by following these steps:

4. Worn Out Gaskets

Worn out gaskets are one of the leading causes for a leaking garbage disposal, and they will usually cause a leak from the top of the unit. You should check the gasket between the flange and the rubber seal of the garbage disposal. If there’s any discharge, then it means the gasket is faulty.

Gaskets will naturally become weakened over time, so if you have an old garbage disposal, then you are more likely to encounter this problem. Faulty gaskets can also be caused by poor fitting if it’s improperly sealed around the edges, and gaskets can also dry up if they aren’t used regularly, so if you don’t use your disposal much, it can cause it to leak.

To solve the issue, you need to swap the existing gasket for a new one. You can do this by following these steps:

5. Dishwasher Connection

Garbage disposals are often connected to a dishwasher so they can safely deal with food waste. A pipe or hose is used to connect the disposal and the dishwasher, and this can, over time, develop a leak.

If you notice water coming from the side of your disposal, then this is likely the cause, and it’s generally because the hose has become cracked and loose.

If you notice a leak coming from your dishwasher connection, then you need to replace the hose. You can do this fairly easily by buying a replacement hose and attaching it to both ends yourself.

How to fix a garbage disposal

6. Loose Seal Or Pipes

Garbage disposals are usually kept under the sink, and that often doubles up as storage space. If your garbage disposal is knocked, it can impact the seals and pipes connected to it and loosen them, so they begin to leak. If you can see any visible water dripping from the connections and pipes, this is probably what happened.

Look for any pipes or connections out of place and move them into position, using a screwdriver or wrench to tighten them. If the leaking persists, then you can use plumbers putty to create a sealing ring.

7. Leaking Reset Button

If your garbage disposal is leaking from the reset button , this usually means there’s some severe damage to the disposal, and it’s going to be very difficult to repair. There are some options, but generally, they are just quick fixes, and you can’t sort the issue yourself at home. You can consult a professional, but it may become costly.

If your garbage disposal is still in warranty, it may be worth looking at options, but if not, then you will need to look for a new model.

8. Loose Or Damaged Discharge Pipe

If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom and you’ve already tried troubleshooting everything else on the list, then it may mean there’s a problem with your discharge pipe. This is the large pipe at the base of the unit, and you should be able to see if there are visible signs of wear and tear or any obvious leaking coming from it.

You can use a wrench to try and tighten the flange and see if that stops the issue. If not, you can use a plumber’s putty to change the seal between the discharge pipe and the holding nut on the garbage disposal.

Annoying sounds should not come from your kitchen sink. Stop those noises today!

December 16, 2020 by Holly Curell

Many homeowners agree that once a garbage disposal is installed within the kitchen sink, they can’t imagine life without the handy appliance. Disposing of food waste and cleaning up the kitchen has never been easier than with the help of a garbage disposal. No matter how useful and handy you find your disposal unit to be, though, things can happen to hinder its performance and longevity of life.

The average lifespan of a garbage disposal is between 8 and 15 years, depending on your care and maintenance practices. During this time, common issues like clogging and jamming can occur, especially if you treat your disposal like you would your trash can. When these issues happen, it is normal to hear strange noises coming from the unit. The most common of these noises is humming.

If you turn the switch to the disposal on only to be met by a humming noise, you might be tempted to pick up the phone and call your trusty neighborhood plumber. This is actually entirely unnecessary since in most cases a humming disposal can be fixed on your own without the need for a professional. Here you can read how to turn a humming disposal into your next DIY project.

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Unusual Noise from Garbage Disposals

According to a plumbing service located in San Diego, My Plumber CA, “there are three distinct noise issues that can happen in garbage disposals: a metallic rattling sound (often described like the firing of a machine gun), a whirring (humming) noise and a squealing sound.”

A disposal that makes a rattling, humming, or squealing noise is not happy for some reason or another. Here’s what each type of unusual noise coming from a garbage disposal could mean, and whether or not you’ll need to consider purchasing a new one.

Clanking or Rattling or Grinding

It’s never a good sign when you flip the garbage disposal switch to the “On” position, only to hear a clanking, rattling, or grinding sound. But don’t panic. This clanking, rattling, or grinding almost always means that a solid object is stuck within the unit. Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix.

Maybe a kitchen utensil fell down the sink drain, and the loud noise is simply the spoon, fork, or knife being bounced around by the disposal blades. This is one of the most common garbage disposal issues, and luckily, there is an easy fix. Simply turn the power off (always the first step) and use a pair of tongs or needle-nose pliers to remove the foreign object from the sink drain.

How to fix a garbage disposal

Buzzing or Humming

A humming disposal generally means that the unit is jammed up and the blades are unable to spin. Fixing a humming garbage disposal often requires more steps than remedying a rattling or clanking one. We’ll go into detail with a step-by-step guide on how to fix your humming garbage disposal in a bit.


A squealing noise coming from your garbage disposal typically indicates a more severe problem. As soon as you hear a squeal from your disposal unit, turn it off ASAP. The squeal could be telling you that the motor is failing or on the verge of failure. This tends to be a difficult fix, one that is best solved by shopping for brand new quiet garbage disposals.

Noise Reducing Technology

Nowadays, it is more than possible to install a garbage disposal that barely makes a peep as it runs. The top two brands for garbage disposals utilizing noise-reducing technology are Waste King and InSinkErator.

Waste King

Waste King disposals are not only known for their powerful performance in grinding up and liquefying food, but also for remaining quiet while doing it. Noise reduction is one of the main priorities of the Waste King company, and they certainly have not failed in achieving it. Waste King models feature a noise-dampening case composed of nylon and glass, ensuring that noise remains at an all-time low.

Take the Waste King L-3300 disposal as an example. Its powerful motor spins at 2,700 revolutions per minute. Even so, the noise output still only reaches between 50 and 70 decibels. Maybe this decibel number means nothing to you, but all you need to know is that this noise level is much lower than the average garbage disposal on the market.


Anyone who has shopped around for garbage disposals in the past is probably familiar with the InSinkErator brand. This leading garbage disposal manufacturer is known for its high quality of products, as well as the quietness of products. InSinkErator disposals feature their patented SoundSeal technology, meaning their disposals barely make an audible noise as they operate.

If you thought the 50-70 decibel Waste King disposals were impressive, wait until you hear what InSinkErator has to offer. The maximum noise output for many InSinkErator products is a mere 45 decibels. This is the case for the InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 hp Household Garbage Disposal. It is quiet yet powerful motor is tough on food scraps, but not tough on the ears.

How to fix a garbage disposal

Garbage disposals may occasionally get jammed when a bone or other hard object gets between the internal impeller blades and the wall of the disposal. When a jam initially occurs, you will continue to hear a humming sound as the motor strains against the foreign object, jamming the impeller plate. As the motor heats up, the automatic shutoff feature included in nearly all newer garbage disposals will shut off the motor entirely.

Clearing the disposal is a simple matter involving unplugging or disconnecting it, removing whatever object is causing the jam—which may require using a wrench to move the impeller assembly—and then resetting the motor using the reset button. (Only the very oldest garbage disposals do not have a reset feature.) It's an easy task that should take just a few minutes.

What Are Impellers?

The impellers inside your garbage disposal are metal lugs screwed onto a metal plate. When in operation, the plate spins quickly and the food particles are thrown against the sides of a grinder ring by centrifugal force. The impellers then force the food through small openings, grinding them to extremely small particles.

You will need an Allen (hex) wrench to fit the socket on the bottom of the garbage disposal housing. Most disposals come with a little wrench just for this purpose. (It's probably somewhere at the bottom of your sink base cabinet.) If you don't have a disposal wrench, you can use a standard 1/4-inch Allen wrench.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1/4-inch Allen wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Needle-nose pliers (optional)


  • Cold water from sink


Disconnect the Disposal

Unplug the garbage disposal unit from the outlet it is plugged into. If the unit is hardwired and has no outlet, make sure the switch controlling the disposal is in the OFF position, and then turn off the disposal’s circuit breaker in your home’s service panel (breaker box). This ensures that the disposal can’t be turned on accidentally.


It's much better to be safe than sorry here: Triple-check that the disposal is disconnected from power and cannot be turned on accidentally before moving on to the next step. If you can't find the breaker that controls the circuit, turn off your home's main breaker, which will cut power to the entire house.

Check for Obstructions

Use a flashlight to peer down into the sink opening of the disposal. You may be able to see the object jamming the impellers. If you see an obstruction, you can attempt to remove it by hand. Alternatively, you can use needle-nose pliers if you're uncomfortable with using your hand. (There's nothing sharp inside the disposer, including the impeller lugs, which are blunt metal.)

Loosen the Jam

Identify the hex socket on the center of the underside of the garbage disposal unit. It’s inside a small, round hole in the motor housing. Insert the hex wrench into this socket, and then move the wrench back and forth to free the jam or confirm that the impellers are freed. This socket is connected directly to the impeller hub, and moving the wrench usually loosens whatever object is jamming the disposal.

Restore Power

Plug the disposal back into the outlet, or switch the disposal's circuit breaker back on to restore power.

Reset the Disposal

Press the small reset button on the disposal unit; this is usually a red button located on the bottom of the unit. The reset button works like a circuit breaker that automatically trips to prevent the motor from overheating. Pressing the button resets the little internal breaker.

Test the Disposal

Run the cold water at the kitchen faucet, and then turn on the disposal. If it spins freely, you're done. If the motor hums but doesn't spin (and may shut itself off), it's probably still jammed. Repeat the same process to free the jam and reset the unit. If the motor won't turn on at all, it's likely that the disposal has burned out and needs to be replaced.

Choosing a New Garbage Disposal

Replacing a garbage disposal is a relatively easy project that most homeowners can tackle in a couple of hours. Choosing a new disposal that is the same size and brand as the original can save a lot of time because you won’t have to reconfigure any plumbing connections. Often, it’s easy to find a matching replacement because one manufacturer (InSinkErator) makes the majority of disposals in the United States.

If you feel that the old disposal was underpowered, step up to the next horsepower rating on the new unit. For most homes, however, a 3/8- or 1/2-horsepower motor offers plenty of power. Depending on the unit's quality level, garbage disposals can be expected to last from 3-10 years, on average.