HOW DO I: Treat my kitchen disposal

  • Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Have you ever been standing at the kitchen sink, having just put away dishes and rinsed out the sink only to smell a foul stale odor and wonder where in the world it is coming from?

If your sink has a disposal in it, have you ever removed the rubber gasket in the mouth of the disposal and inspected it to see how clean it is? It has a tendency to get soiled after only a few days of use.

Remove the rubber gasket and turn it inside out. It will take a bit of scrubbing to remove the gummy mess.

While the gasket is out, the mouth of the opening is much larger and makes it easier to insert a bottle brush down in there and give the disposal a good cleaning. Making sure the switch is safely in the off position!

Tossing a deodorizing pellet or gel pack into the disposal will help give it a fresh smell as well as a dose of baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice.

Sometimes the original disposal is so old it's time to replace the disposal. What do you do then? First research the available disposals on the market to see which might be best suited for you. A ¾ HP disposal is a good size unit for residential use.

Check out the level of noise they produce when in operation. This is pretty important to most people. Once you have decided on the right disposal for your needs and are ready to change it. Disconnect the power supply first, then remove the old disposal. It might be easier for you to disconnect the wiring before you remove the disposal but some find it easier to disconnect the wiring after dropping the unit from the sink. Depending on how limber you are. Disconnect the drain line from the drain assembly and lower the unit down.

To remove the disposal from the bottom of the sink, most brands share a common method of connection. There are usually three rings around the collar of the disposal that you can slip a removal tool, (if you kept up with it all these years), or a narrow screwdriver shaft into one of the three rings and apply pressure in a clockwise direction to remove it from the basket.

You may be able to reuse the basket or replace it with the new basket collar that comes with the new unit. If you use the new basket, you will need plumbers putty to seal the flange of the basket to the sink bowl.

With the basket securely in place, you can raise the new disposal up to the bottom of the basket to align the three ring locking collar to the bottom of the basket.

Let me mention this, before you install the disposal under the cabinet, you need to knock out the plastic plug from the drain connection. If you don't, water won't flow out the disposal. Take a large flat screw driver and tap it with a hammer to remove the plastic plug. Then make sure to remove the plastic plug from the disposal so that it doesn't cause any trouble.

Using the removal tool that comes with the unit, torque the three ring collar until it locks in place. Connect the electrical wires to the motor's wiring connection, reassemble the drain assembly and your back in business. Now where is that lemon juice? It'll be needed in a few days.

If you have any projects that you would like discussed in an upcoming article, email me at jdn.dm@comcast.net.

JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place” Specialist and certified Green Professional.

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