How to Disassemble a Garbage Disposal

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Whether you are planning to repair your garbage disposal or remove it from service, there may come a time when you need to learn how to disassemble the unit. This can be done yourself if certain safety precautions are taken. Fortunately, garbage disposals are not extremely complicated appliances, so you should be able to follow some basic steps and disassemble it in very little time.

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Important Safety Considerations

When disassembling your garbage disposal, you'll need to take a few critical safety precautions. First, be sure that the disposal is not plugged in. Remove all cords and turn off power at the wall switch, if you have one. It's also a good idea to turn power off at the circuit breaker, just to be safe.

No matter what you are trying to do with your garbage disposal, you should never, under any circumstances, place your hands or other body parts inside the disposal. This can be extremely dangerous. If you need to manipulate any part of the disposal, wear a pair of thick leather work gloves to keep your hands safe. Healthy Kitchen 101 suggests shining a flashlight down the garbage disposal to help identify the location of a problem instead of blindly feeling around for it.

Be sure to turn the water valve that feeds the disposal to the "off" position before proceeding with any assembly.

Disconnect the Dishwasher

In addition, you'll need to unhook the garbage disposal from the water line that hooks to your dishwasher or drainpipe before you proceed with removing or disassembling it. Most garbage disposals have a discharge hose that is located at the top of the disposal. This can be undone by removing the nut from the top of the garbage disposal and from the bottom of the drainpipe.

Then, you should be able to move the drainpipe until it loosens inside the garbage disposal. You might wish to place a bucket underneath the pipe while you work to catch any water that was sitting in the pipe.

Take Apart the Garbage Disposal

If you need to continue the garbage disposal repair once it is unplugged and disconnected from the dishwasher and do not plan to remove the unit for good, you will need to understand a bit more about how the unit works. If, for instance, plastic is stuck in the garbage disposal or if a large item is preventing the unit from working properly, you might wish to take it apart.

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From top to bottom, the parts of the garbage disposal are as follows: stopper, sink-mounting flange, support flange, support screws, hopper, stopper switch, inlet for dishwasher, clamping ring, motor housing gasket, shredder, impeller, drain chamber, shredder housing, drain, power supply and the reset button.

You should be able to conduct most of these disassembly steps using a socket wrench. The support screws will, of course, require a screwdriver. You will also need a screwdriver to remove the disposal unit from the mounting ring that holds it in place. This is the first step in physically removing the disposal from its position to allow you to further disassemble it.

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Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity.