Your kitchen has the most appliances out of your entire house, including toasters, ovens, and microwaves. Appliances aren’t cheap, so why not replace the cord instead of the whole unit?
Is it time to replace the cord on your garbage disposal? The process is quite simple, and with the right guide, you can uninstall and reinstall one easily. Don’t let a few cords scare you out of installing one yourself.
You need to know a few things before diving into your project. Here is a complete guide on the reasons you’d need to remove the cord from your garbage disposal, the tools and materials required, and detailed steps to follow.
Reasons To Remove The Power Cord
You may want to remove a power cord from your garbage disposal for several reasons; out of necessity or for routine maintenance purposes.
Cord Not Included
For starters, garbage disposals don’t have cords when you buy them from the store. So if you are replacing your old garbage disposal with a new one and opt to get rid of the old one, you will need to purchase a separate cord to attach to the new disposal before installing it into your sink.
You can buy a kit that includes all necessary wire connectors and the cord itself, or you can purchase just the cord.
New Garbage Disposal
You need to know how to uninstall the cord from your disposal when you replace the old disposal with a new one. In this case, you can uninstall the cord from the old disposal and reinstall it to the new disposal.
Replacing the Cord
Lastly, you could have a malfunctioning garbage disposal, and that could be because your cord is no longer working. You can easily switch out the cords instead of getting brand-new garbage disposal.
Replacing the old cord with a fresh, new one will ensure no shortages, outages, or otherwise hazardous situations can occur.
Tools & Materials
You will need several items before you remove the garbage disposal cord and reinstall a power cord. These items will help you effectively replace the cord.
- Rubber hammer
- Philips screwdriver
- Flat head screwdriver
- Wire strippers
- Grounded appliance power cord with plug
- Cord clamp
- Plastic wire connectors
- Garbage disposal
Remember that a kit may include all the needed materials but it won’t include the tools. Ensure you have everything you need before you get started — the last thing you want is to be halfway into the project and realize you need to run to the store for a missing piece or tool.
How To Remove the Power Cord From a Garbage Disposal
To remove a power cord from your garbage disposal, first, ensure your unit is unplugged and that you shut off the power supply from the circuit breaker or electrical supply. Do not forget this step — if you do, it can be potentially dangerous.
Now onto the cord removal; here are all the steps you need to follow to disconnect that cord.
Unplug the garbage disposal
Unplug your garbage disposal from the wall. Tap the lower metal ring counterclockwise using your rubber hammer, so the lower ring disconnects from the top ring. Rinse out the sink and run the garbage disposal to clean everything out of the top. Next, remove the disposal from the sink. Take all the food and water out of the unit. Be careful not to spill it (that’s a mess you don’t need).
(This step depends on what type of connection your device has.)
Remove the lid
Find a nice flat surface to work on. Remove the metal door on the bottom of the garbage disposal. You can do this by using the necessary screwdriver and removing the screw holding the clamp onto the metal door.
Loosen the wires by unscrewing the clamp that is holding them in place. The old power cord might have a plastic plug connected to the disposal, if you can’t get it out mangle the plastic plug till it lets go. You might have to cut into your garbage disposal to get the old cable out.
Disconnect the wires
You will see all the wires that were behind the metal door. Start by unscrewing the green ground wire from the garbage disposal. The screw is also green in color.
Then you can untwist the wire caps from the red and white wires. Next, pull apart the red and green wire from the cord attached to the unit. Now you are ready to start installing your new plug.
How To Connect a Power Cord to a Garbage Disposal
After removing the power cord from an existing unit, these next steps are how to connect a new one.
Set the clamp
There may be a hole next to the metal plate; this is where the cord clamp goes. After installing the cord clamp, you want to feed the three wires through it so you can see them in the area where the metal plate was. Screw down the metal clamp. Don’t remove any cardboard that you may see inside the unit.
Connect the wires
Once the wires are through the hole, you can connect them. The ground wire, typically green, will reconnect to the unit’s base. There may even be a green screw where you are supposed to connect it.
To connect the other wires, match the black and white wires of the new power cord up to the black and white wires of the unit. The cables could be different depending on the unit you have, so make sure you read the instructions for that specific unit. Install the plastic caps onto the meeting points of the wires (you can add electrical tape as a safety measure).
If you don’t have colored wires on the plug end, you will have one ribbed wire and one smooth wire. The ribbed wire will connect to the white wire on the unit, and the smooth wire will connect to the red.
Close the clamp and reinstall
Reinstall your garbage unit under the sink, plug in the new power cord, and you are finished.
(This step depends on what type of connection your device has.)
Frequently Asked Questions
There may be a few more things you have questions about, like what kind of cord you should buy or if you need a kit to install the cord. Read on for some of the most commonly asked.
Do garbage disposals come with a power cord?
Garbage disposals don’t come with a power cord, so you must purchase one separately. You will want a 16-gauge wire power cord for your disposal system.
You should not use extension cords or try to rig a different wire because this could be hazardous.
The correct power cords are in a kit for garbage disposals. This kit can be found at a department store and should have all the necessary equipment. Ask an employee in your local department or hardware store if you have trouble locating it.
The kit includes these items:
- 16 gauge wire
- Wire clamp
- Wire connectors
- Installation instructions
Can I use an extension cord for my garbage disposal?
You should never use an extension cord or a power strip to plug in your garbage disposal. Power strips and extension cords can become overheated and cause a fire.
What is a drain knockout?
A drain knockout connects the dishwasher and your garbage disposal. If you remove the plug, your dishwasher’s water will drain through the garbage disposal.
Garbage disposals will have a plug that isn’t knocked out, just in case you don’t have a dishwasher. You can easily knock it out to connect the two appliances if you have a dishwasher.
Should a garbage disposal be hardwired?
The garbage disposal is wired directly to an outlet under the sink cabinets. A switch located above the counter connects to this system. You can easily switch your unit on and off.
Hardwiring can be a bit more challenging to do than installing a plug. There isn’t necessarily a better way to do this; it depends on your preferred method.
Do all garbage disposals have a knockout plug?
Yes, all garbage disposals should have a knockout plug. However, the knockout plug is intact at the point of purchase. You must knock out the plug yourself if you decide to connect your dishwasher to the disposal.
Should a garbage disposal have its own circuit?
Ideally, you want your garbage disposal to be on its own circuit to abide by the National Electrical Code (NEC) rules.
Fixed devices such as garbage disposal can only use 50% of the circuit’s capacity. So you could share the circuit with a dishwasher, which people typically do.
Is there a universal way to switch out a plug for garbage disposal?
Every garbage disposal is going to be different; that’s why you should read the instruction manual of the disposal unit and the cord before installing it.
The cord hookups are the same for most garbage disposals, so typically, one will work for most, but it’s still best to refer to the guide for your specific unit.
Are water supply pipes larger or smaller in diameter than waste disposal pipes?
Water supply pipes are usually smaller than waste disposal pipes. Water supply pipes are generally 1/2 inch to 1 inch (12.7mm-25.4mm), while waste disposal (drain) pipes are most commonly more than 1 1/2 inch (38.1mm+).
Removing A Power Cord From Garbage Disposal
Save your money! There’s no longer a need to hire an expensive contractor to replace the power cord to your garbage disposal. You can easily do it yourself following the detailed steps above. Be sure you also refer to the instructions for your unit specifically and are always conscientious of your and others’ safety.
Once you take care of the garbage disposal cord, you can move on to the next step in upgrading your kitchen cords and wiring; how to find the perfect extension cord for your freezer.