That thingie in your sink that grinds up food is called a garburator, up in Canada. Apparently I have no idea how to spell what we call it down here so maybe I'll just go with "thingie".
When the thingie doesn't work and gets all rusted and clogs up, there's a cascade of ill effects. The sink backs up, the dishwasher doesn't drain well and the dishes don't get quite clean, and so on...
So when I had electrical work done some time ago and it somehow messed up the circuit to my sink. So the thingie didn't work. And since it took me a while to get that fixed, the thingie had managed to rust to a solid block of dysfunction by the time power was restored. I considered paying the nice people at BigBoxHardwareStore to come put in a new one and then I looked online and discovered how ridiculously simple it is. And by doing it myself, I can spend the installation budget on something else, right? I Saved Money!
Tools you'll need:
Pipe wrench for the drain pipe hookups:
So how do you install a garburator? First step is to simply remove the old one. I didn't take any photos, but the process simply involves:
- (IMPORTANT) Turn off power to circuit powering unit. Make sure it's actually off. My electrician helpfully labelled the garburator circuit "dishwasher" and (I assume) the circuit labelled "sink" probably powers the dishwasher.
- Detach the dishwasher and drain hookups. You'll want a bucket or dishpan under your work for that, since u-traps always have stinky, stinky stuff at the bottom of them. Especially if there's been a non-working garburator with slowly rotting food above them.
- Remove the old unit from where it's hanging from the drain assembly. This is a simple matter of twisting the thing - they come with a sort of lever bar (looks like an allen wrench wanna-be) to help with the twisting. Be prepared to catch it as it falls.
- At the base of the unit is a little cover protecting the wiring. Unscrew that, and detach the wiring. Should be three wires - white, black, and ground. Pay attention to any irregularities in the hookup but usually there should be a simple match-up of colors between the old unit and the household power source.
Now, the first step would normally be to install the drain part in the sink itself. But since I was replacing with the same brand and the existing drain is in good shape, I elected to not bother to replace it.
So first you want to prep the unit a little bit.
(no picture) If you plan to use the dishwasher, you need to knock out a little plug of plastic blocking the dishwasher drain intake. Otherwise you'll get the whole thing installed, proudly run the dishwasher - and then come back to find your dishwasher full of nasty, dirty water that had no place to run. This is apparently confusing to the dishwasher which takes a bit of fussing to remember to drain itself and restart its rinse cycle after the problem is fixed. Don't ask me how I know this. Another mysterious piece of knowledge: It's possible to come back and pop that piece of plastic out using a hammer and screwdriver after the unit is installed and in place, though I'm sure the manufacturer doesn't recommend this approach. Let's pretend that I didn't take a picture of this step because it's a two-handed process so I didn't have a free hand to hold my camera...
Attach the drain pipe piece: There's a L-shaped piece of pipe, a rubber gasket, and a metal piece with two screws to hold the pipe against the gasket. Easy-peasy:
Then it's a simple matching game: white to white, black to black, and secure with wire nuts.
Recommend filling the sink with water and then draining it all at once through the thing to see if you've got any leaks, then turn on your power and do a little victory dance when you see it works!