Visual Guide to Garbage Disposal Parts

  • 01 of 04

    Main Components of a Garbage Disposal

    exploded view of garbage disposal
    Exploded View of Garbage Disposal. ©

    Few appliances in the kitchen get as much hard use (and abuse) as a garbage disposal. This is an essential tool in the kitchen and you realize just how important it is when it stops working. 

    In this tutorial, we'll take a look inside this home appliance workhorse and see how the disposal looks inside if you were to remove the garbage disposal and take it apart.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Exploded View of a Garbage Disposal

    exploded view of garbage disposal
    Garbage disposal exploded view. ©

    The garbage disposal is mounted to the underside of a sink and is designed to store waste food in a hopper chamber (just beneath the sink drain and the upper part of the disposal). When turned on, the motor spins the flywheel and attached impellers at almost 2,000 RPM.

    The attached impellers work to throw the waste food against the shredder ring and together they grind and pulverize the garbage. Water from the kitchen faucet flushes the pulverized waste material out the waste line connector discharge outlet and down the sewer system, or in some cases, into the septic system. (NOTE: Disposal usage may have some limitations with septic systems in some municipalities. Check with your local building code official.)

    Tips on What to Look For When Buying a Garbage Disposal:
    For these things to work well, you need power!

    At a minimum, get a 1/2 HP unit, and I really recommend a 3/4 HP disposal. Having the power to grind food waste into tiny shreds and basically liquefy it is essential for the drainage system and especially for use with a septic system.

    Another feature that is important is overload protection that will turn off the motor if it begins to overheat. The electrical reset button will pop out and turn off the unit. You also want an auto-reverse feature to prevent jamming.

    Definitely get a unit with a flywheel turning wrench hole in the bottom so you can manually turn the disposal's grinding flywheel if there is a jam. 

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Connecting a Disposal to a Dishwasher

    Dishwasher Inlet Connection Pipe
    A Dishwasher Inlet Connection Pipe is Found on the Side of the Disposal.

    If you are using a built-in dishwasher, the dishwasher inlet is connected to the garbage disposal at the top of the hopper. The garbage disposal comes new with the dishwasher inlet pipe closed off, so before use, the knockout must be removed as per manufacturer instructions.

    Once connected, the dishwasher outlet hose is connected to the garbage disposal's dishwasher inlet pipe and drains through the disposal.

    Make sure to run the disposal before you run the dishwasher to ensure water drainage.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Underside View of a Garbage Disposal

    Garbage Disposal Bottom View Showing Reset Button
    Garbage Disposal Bottom View Showing Reset Button.

    The underside of the disposal unit is where you find all the stuff you need to access when the unit does not work! Unfortunately, the electrical reset button and the manual flywheel turning hole are located under the unit and are not the most accessible.

    NOTE: Some brands such as Waste-King have models with the reset button located on the front of the unit.

    Both of these items may be necessary to use if the disposal gets jammed. Once that happens, the unit will turn off so the electric motor and wiring do not overheat and get damaged. If the unit is turned off, you would then have to free the stuck flywheel by dislodging the item causing the jam from the top or by using a special wrench in the hole in the underside of the disposal and turning the flywheel to break it free. Then, once the flywheel turns freely, you turn the power back on and press the reset button.