Can I Install A Garbage Disposal Myself?

Perhaps your garbage disposal tapped out, leaving your kitchen without its formidable workhorse. The scraps are piling up, and without a compost pile, the only alternative destination is the trash.

Key Points:

  • Installing a garbage disposal is an intermediate-level project that most homeowners can complete without difficulty.
  • The necessary tools for installation are basic and may not require any additional purchases.
  • The installation process typically takes two hours or less but can vary based on the model and any additional steps required for removing an old unit or ensuring a leak-free installation.

Or, maybe you’re considering the merits of installing a garbage disposal, debating whether you should install one in your kitchen (it’s worth it!).

Either way, you might wonder whether you can install the unit yourself. After all, how difficult can it be, right? Not too hard. It’s an intermediate-level project, so it’s reasonably straightforward.

This article reviews the process of installing a garbage disposal and whether you should do it yourself, so continue reading to learn more!

Are Garbage Disposals Hard to Install?

Moen GXP50C Prep Series PRO 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal, Power Cord Included

Installing a garbage disposal isn’t difficult, as most homeowners can complete the project without a hitch. Of course, some installations are trickier than others, but for the most part, they’re pretty straightforward.

Generally, the process falls in the intermediate range of difficulty, so it’s not the simplest project but far from the trickiest.

Necessary Tools

You’ll only need a few essential tools to install a garbage disposal. The project is simple, so you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment.

Here’s what you need for most garbage disposal installations:

  • Bucket
  • Hammer
  • Putty knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety glasses
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Garbage disposal

Some installations might require a few extra tools, but generally, the list above encompasses everything you’ll need. Considering these are fairly basic tools, you might not need to purchase any tools to complete the project. While you’ll probably need a fresh tub of plumber’s putty, you might have everything else at home.

Time Required

Most folks can complete a garbage disposal installation within a couple of hours, usually in two hours or less. The process is even faster if you’re simply switching your old disposal for a new one.

Of course, some installations are more complex, so you might need some extra time. This can be true when working in particularly tight spaces, like cramped base cabinets, or when you need to remove a stubborn, broken model before installing the new one.

That said, two hours is usually plenty of time, so if you’re on a tight schedule, give yourself at least a couple of hours to complete the task, especially if you’ve never installed a garbage disposal before.

General Understanding

Before you commit to the process of installing a garbage disposal, it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with what you’re getting into. After all, your kitchen sink won’t be functional until you finish the project (or retrace your steps), so cooking and cleanup will come to a screeching halt until you finish.

The project is basic: wire the unit, install the drain flange, set up the mounting ring, attach the disposal, connect the plumbing, tighten everything, and test for leaks. The process may vary slightly based on the model you have, but for the most part, the project follows those steps.

If you’re replacing an old unit, you’ll have an extra step in removing the old model. This part is relatively simple, requiring a few quick steps to disconnect the old unit.

Sometimes, the hardest part of the entire process is ensuring the installation is leak free. You’ll need to ensure the assembly is secure, with the discharge pipe secured to the subsequent plumbing. After all, a leak in your kitchen’s base cabinet can quickly become a nightmare, so a leak-free installation is essential.

Beyond that, the rest of the process isn’t overly complex. If your unit comes with a power cord, it’s as simple as plugging the unit in once it’s installed to get started with using it.

However, specific scenarios can make the process slightly more complicated. For example, if you need to connect the dishwasher’s drain line to the disposal for drainage into the main plumbing, you’ll have an extra step.

That said, even this added step isn’t particularly complex, as garbage disposals usually have a connection point for dishwasher drainage tubes.

Should I Install a Garbage Disposal Myself?

If you decide to install your garbage disposal yourself, you could save quite a bit of money. The process is pretty straightforward and usually doesn’t require any complex plumbing or electrical work, so most folks don’t have any issues handling it themselves.

You’ll only need to foot the bill for any materials you need and the unit itself. Most garbage disposals cost anywhere from $75 to $125, although premium models may cost upwards of $200. Conversely, you might be able to find units as low as $50, but these models usually struggle to grind through much more than soft food scraps.

So, it’s usually best to stick with the mid-tier options unless you’re prepared to pay the premium cost. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive model to get a good-quality unit, the cheapest models are usually that cheap for a reason.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Professional to Install a Garbage Disposal?

On average, homeowners pay between $300 and $500 to install a garbage disposal. On the high end, for more complex installations, homeowners spend as much as $950. Conversely, for ultra-simple installations, homeowners might pay as little as $150.

Generally, the installation cost doesn’t include the model itself, so you’ll need to budget for the cost of the unit.

The cost of hiring a professional to install a garbage disposal hinges on a few factors, including your location, the model you choose, and the installation difficulty. Some locations have higher labor costs than others, so your installation might be cheaper or more expensive than in other areas.

Additionally, smaller garbage disposal often cost less to install than their larger counterparts, as they’re lighter and easier to work with. So, if you’re installing a larger, more powerful unit, you may end up paying more for the installation.

Lastly, it’s essential to consider the installation difficulty. You’ll probably pay more if the unit requires complicated electrical work or intricate plumbing to navigate a unique base cabinet layout.

Simple installations, like quick switches from an old unit to a replacement, usually cost less.

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