The rubber gasket around the drain for your garbage disposal can last for a long time if it’s cleaned regularly and the garbage disposal is used sparingly. But, when that gasket becomes brittle, and it cracks it will need to be replaced. A new gasket should cost less than $10, and it’s easy to replace in less than fifteen minutes if you follow these three simple steps.
- Gather the Tools and Prepare
You will need no special tools to replace your splash guard, get a bucket, a screwdriver, and the replacement splash guard. The screwdriver could be a Phillips or flat head depending on the type of screws used to connect the dishwasher line and drain pipe to the side of the garbage disposal. While you’re checking which screw head you will need, clear out the under sink cabinet, so you have enough space to work in. Then you can disconnect the disposal power source; this could be a cord that plugs into an under sink outlet. If the disposal is hardwired to the mains, flip the appropriate breaker switch and then test that the disposal isn’t receiving power. Finally, get someone to help you reattach the garbage disposal when you’ve finished, and you will find it’s easier than trying to do it yourself.
- Disconnect the Garbage Disposal
Before you begin, place the empty bucket under the lines that connect to your disposal. Disconnect the plastic or metal drain pipe that connects the disposal to the wastewater line. There are usually two or more screws to remove and if you have a second line that connects to the dishwasher remove that connection too. Any water that’s in the lines should be collected in the bucket, but be prepared for a splashdown as you disconnect them. There is a locking ring used to connect the disposal to its mount, and this needs to be loosened. Then slide the screwdriver into one of the fittings located around the ring edge and apply leverage to turn the locking ring counter clockwise. This will take some effort, but once it’s loose enough, you can turn it with one hand and support the bottom of the disposal with the other. Once the ring is loose enough the disposal will drop down; you can then carefully place it on the floor of the cabinet.
- Replacing the Old Splash Guard
The splash guard fits on the disposal top like a snug plastic lid, and it’s easy to peel the old one off. Then wipe the disposal top clean and snap the new one into place. Now you can reconnect the disposal, this can be tricky, but hopefully, you found someone to help you. The disposal needs to be held firmly in place as you tighten the locking ring with your screwdriver. If you have to do this alone, lying on your back under the disposal is easier, and you can hold it in place with a sturdy object. Once the disposal is reattached, you can reconnect the lines and reconnect the power. Give the disposal switch a flip to make sure everything is working, and you’re done.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.