How Much Does Garbage Disposal Installation Cost?

When the garbage disposal stops functioning as it should, the issue should be addressed quickly to avoid further complications. Homeowners can expect to pay an average garbage disposal installation cost of $400, or between $150 and $950.

By Rochel Maday | Published Jun 22, 2022 5:39 PM

Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

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  • Typical Range: $150 to $950
  • National Average: $400

Garbage disposals make it simple to dispose of food waste so it doesn’t take up room in the garbage can or leave an odor behind in the sink. These compact appliances grind food into tiny pieces that end up in either a septic tank or sewer system, depending on the home’s plumbing system. Most units are installed beneath the sink, so they’re out of sight. Garbage disposals come in different sizes and materials, and since there are different features to choose from, homeowners can choose a custom garbage disposal that truly meets their needs.

But like any other appliance, garbage disposals can break down over time. If a replacement is the best action to take, homeowners can expect to pay an average garbage disposal installation cost of $400. They may pay as little as $150 or as much as $950, depending on the size of the unit and how complicated the installation is.

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Factors in Calculating Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

So how much does a garbage disposal cost? There are actually several factors that go into determining the cost to install garbage disposal units. For instance, the size of the unit is one of the main factors that determine the final installation cost, along with the type of material used to construct the unit. When factoring in labor, plumbing modifications and new electrical outlet installation can influence the cost. Homeowners can use the following factors as a cost-estimate guide when replacing a garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

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Unit Feed Type

Homeowners can choose between two main types of garbage disposals. The more common type is a continuous-feed style. It’s typically operated by a wall-mounted switch and, as the name suggests, runs continuously when it’s switched to the “on” position. Continuous-feed garbage disposals cost between $75 and $1,100.

The second type of garbage disposal is a batch-feed design, which requires a few extra operational steps. First, the unit is loaded with waste. Then, a stopper must be placed into the disposal’s opening before it will turn on. This makes the unit safer for both falling utensils and tiny hands, but it does take a bit longer to process waste. A batch-feed disposal costs between $75 and $300.

Unit Material

A garbage disposal unit’s material significantly affects the unit’s cost. There are two main types of materials used to make garbage disposals: aluminum and stainless steel. Both are available in continuous- and batch-feed designs, as well as in multiple sizes.

Aluminum disposal models cost between $75 and $300. While they’re affordable, they also tend to have a shorter lifespan (around 10 years). They’re also prone to corrosion and leaks. Stainless steel units range from $400 to $1,100. The higher price tag of a stainless steel disposal can scare off consumers, but these units can stand up to the needs of high-volume households with no risk of corrosion or leaking.

Unit Brand

Just like all kitchen appliances, the best garbage disposals are available from multiple brands. This offers homeowners plenty of options within multiple price ranges. Some common garbage disposal brands include Waste King, Moen, and InSinkErator. Waste King offers units as low as $75 and as high as $400. Moen features units between $80 and $300, while InSinkErator has a narrower price range between $100 and $200.

Motor Size

Motor size significantly affects garbage disposal cost. Garbage disposals come in a large variety of sizes, with the smallest designed for single households and the largest for commercial kitchens. Homeowners should aim to purchase a unit designed for their size household to avoid paying more than necessary or overworking a motor. A one- or two-person household should only need a garbage disposal with a ⅓- or ½-horsepower motor, which costs between $75 and $200, while a five- to eight-person household would benefit from a garbage disposal with a 1- horsepower motor, which costs between $200 and $500.

Labor

The steps for replacing an existing unit are fairly universal. The unit is disconnected and removed. The new unit is leveled, secured, and connected to the power supply. After testing, the job is complete. This process results in a basic labor fee. But when a garbage disposal is installed for the first time, pipes may need to be shortened or an outlet may need to be installed. Homeowners can expect to pay higher labor costs for a more complicated job that requires additional labor hours. On average, labor costs run between $50 and $200 after the cost of the disposal unit and materials.

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Electrical Work

Garbage disposals require a grounded electrical outlet for power. A new garbage disposal installation may require a new outlet to be installed, which can increase the overall installation cost. A new grounded outlet installation costs around $120 to $165. If an outlet is already installed (for a dishwasher, for example), it’s possible to run a disposal off the same outlet, but only if the two appliances won’t exceed the circuit capacity. If a new outlet is needed, homeowners should keep in mind that installing a new outlet is a job only an experienced electrician should handle.

Geographic Location

Different geographic locations result in fluctuating average labor costs. The national average cost of labor for a garbage disposal installer is $75 per hour. For homeowners in San Francisco, California, $140 is the average install garbage disposal cost. Homeowners in the Washington, D.C., area can expect to pay more—as much as $250 for the same job—while homeowners in Chattanooga, Tennessee, can expect to pay much less at $125.

Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

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Additional Costs and Considerations

Garbage disposals help make dinner cleanup simple and protect a home’s plumbing system. While they offer multiple benefits and can help save a homeowner from clogged pipes or smelly situations, they don’t last forever. But how much does it cost to replace a garbage disposal? Here are a couple of additional factors that affect cost for homeowners to consider when estimating garbage disposal replacement cost.

Repair vs. Replacement

Sometimes a garbage disposal can be repaired instead of replaced. If that’s the case, a quick repair is likely to cost less in materials than the cost of a new unit for a replacement. However, a simple repair can spiral out of control if other issues are discovered. As with other appliances, a garbage disposal can only last so long. With garbage disposal units available in affordable price ranges, a professional may suggest a replacement instead of a repair to save money in the long run.

Old Unit Removal

A contractor will likely include the removal of an old unit in their labor costs. If the unit isn’t easily accessible or if it is severely corroded, the job could be more difficult, resulting in higher labor costs.

Additional Outlet Installation 

In kitchens with dishwashers, it’s common for an outlet to already be located beneath the sink. A garbage disposal can also use the same outlet, as long as running both simultaneously won’t blow a fuse. If a disposal unit’s required power is too high, an additional outlet will need to be installed. In the case of no outlets being present, again, an outlet will need to be installed. Both scenarios can raise the price of a garbage disposal installation between $120 and $165.

Customizations

Besides the garbage disposal’s materials and motor size, homeowners can choose between multiple customizations and features. For example, a sink baffle tacks on $55 to $75 and helps muffle the loud sound a disposal can make. Anti-jamming technology can also raise the price of a unit. If a homeowner wants the dishwater from their dishwasher to run through the disposal unit, a drain connector will raise the new garbage disposal cost about $12. Sink flanges that seal units to prevent odors cost around $30.

Warranty Coverage

A garbage disposal unit typically includes a warranty of at least 2 years. This protects the homeowner against manufacturing defects. But with the average lifespan of a garbage disposal being 12 years, it might be worth paying for an extended warranty on a unit, which typically increases the cost to replace garbage disposal units. It helps to note that even with an extended warranty, regular maintenance is recommended, as this can help extend the life of a garbage disposal and prevent common malfunctions.

Types of Garbage Disposals

How much does it cost to install a garbage disposal? One of the main factors determining the answer to this question is the type of unit a homeowner chooses. Here’s a breakdown between the two main types of garbage disposals available.

Continuous Feed

Continuous-feed units are the most popular types of garbage disposals and have wide price ranges based on motor size and features. When choosing a continuous-feed unit, homeowners can expect to pay between $75 and $1,100. These garbage disposals are convenient because they work constantly and do not need to be covered to operate (though they do need constant running water). Once the unit is switched on, waste can continuously be pushed through, making cleanup quick and simple. The biggest drawbacks with this type of disposal are the potential for wasted water and the potential safety hazard of continuously spinning blades.

Batch Feed

Batch-feed disposal options are more affordable with a price range of $75 to $300. Besides the lower price tag, the biggest advantage of batch-feed garbage disposals is that they’re safer because of their operation process. The unit is filled with waste, covered, and then turned on. It can take time for the waste to be processed, but because it’s impossible for hands and fingers to find their way into a batch-feed garbage disposal, it’s often a popular choice for households who prefer safety over speed.

Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

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Do I Need to Replace My Garbage Disposal?

A garbage disposal, when properly installed and maintained, can last up to 12 years. When a unit does start to show signs of wear and tear, it’s important to have it inspected sooner than later, especially if there’s a water leak. Here are some common signs that it’s time to replace a garbage disposal.

Excessive or Abnormal Noise

A humming noise can be an easy-to-spot sign that a garbage disposal needs to be replaced. This sound means power is reaching the unit but the motor is either struggling or dead and can’t turn on.

An excessively loud noise could mean a foreign object, like a utensil, has slipped into the disposal and is blocking the blades. Trying to pull something out from a disposal can be very dangerous. The power should always be turned off to the unit (from the breaker, not just the unit’s power switch) before anyone, professional or novice, reaches into a disposal. But if nothing is blocking the blades, a misalignment within the components could be to blame.

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Persistent Odor

Old and wet food can quickly fill a kitchen with a less-than-pleasant odor. This shouldn’t be an issue with garbage disposals, as they’re designed to be easily flushed as they operate. That’s why a foul odor coming from a disposal can be a sign it’s not functioning properly. Solvents can damage disposal blades, so it’s recommended that a professional take apart the appliance and thoroughly clean and inspect it to eliminate any foul smells.

Frequent Resets

Garbage disposals come equipped with a reset button to restore electrical power if the motor overloads and trips a breaker. It’s not uncommon to have to hit the reset button from time to time, but if it seems to be happening more often, there could be a serious issue with the unit. It could either be a motor getting weaker with age or loose wiring. Both issues likely require the assistance of a professional.

Poor Performance

When a garbage disposal’s blades begin to dull or the motor begins to weaken over time or from excessive use, it can take longer for the unit to process waste. A garbage disposal that’s operating more slowly than usual should be inspected by a professional as soon as possible. If the unit won’t turn on at all (and the electricity is working properly) or continuously shuts off while in use, it’s likely time for a replacement.

Recurring Clogs and Jams

With proper use, a garbage disposal shouldn’t clog. So if a unit is routinely clogging or jamming, these could be signs of wear and tear. Dull blades could be the issue, especially if a unit is older. But if the unit in question is fairly new, clogs and jams could be a sign of an undersized motor being overworked. Larger households tend to have more waste and therefore need a garbage disposal with a larger motor to keep up without clogging.

Water Leaks

A small pool of water beneath a garbage disposal can signal an interior crack or the presence of corrosion (even if visual inspection doesn’t show any). This is especially common with models made from aluminum and is a result of standard wear and tear. The only way to remedy a leaking garbage disposal is to replace the unit.

Garbage Disposal Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

For the homeowner with the right tools and experience, replacing a garbage disposal isn’t an impossible task. Homeowners who have a thorough understanding on how to safely replace a garbage disposal can save on the labor costs of a replacement. However, in many cases it’s worth paying a professional to make sure the garbage disposal is correctly and safely installed.

The cost to replace garbage disposal units has a wide range, with units starting at under $100 and soaring to more than $1,000. There are other materials a homeowner may have to purchase other than the unit, including connectors, fittings, and mounting hardware. This means that while homeowners can replace a garbage disposal themselves and save some money, the project will be far from free.

Installation of a unit can take from a couple of hours to an entire afternoon. The difficulty of a job determines the length of time it will take, along with any complications like corroded pipes or the absence of an electrical outlet.

Replacing a garbage disposal can also be dangerous. It goes without saying that the water and electricity to the area must be shut off before the project starts. But even then, a novice runs the risk of injury to themselves or damage to the unit if the installation isn’t properly executed. A garbage disposal that’s not properly installed can slowly leak, potentially causing severe water damage if it goes undetected for long enough.

That’s why it’s often the best option to have a professional complete the garbage disposal installation. They’ll have access to the best units and materials for a fair price, have all the necessary tools, and provide years of experience and targeted knowledge to do the job. While a garbage disposal installation from a professional may cost more, it’s often worth the added peace of mind and reduced risk of injury and damage.

Garbage Disposal Installation Cost

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How to Save Money on Garbage Disposal Installation

How much is a garbage disposal and its installation? The main factor is the unit itself. The larger the unit is and the more features it has, the more expensive it will be to purchase and install.

Difficult installation jobs or those that require a few extra steps, like adding an electrical outlet, can also add to the price. Saving money on garbage disposal installation isn’t about skimping on quality but choosing the best unit for a budget and properly maintaining it after it’s been placed. These tips should help save at installation and extend the lifespan of a unit. By maintaining and protecting their investment, homeowners can save more money over time.

  • Buy a unit with an anti-jamming or auto-reverse feature. By reducing the chance of clogs, a unit is less likely to corrode and need to be replaced.
  • Get multiple quotes from plumbers or electricians before having a garbage disposal installed. Make sure the quotes are broken down by materials and labor so it’s easier to see who has better access to fairly priced units and who charges more for labor.
  • Buy a unit with a reset button. A unit with this feature will shut off automatically if it clogs or overheats, protecting the components and motor from premature wear and tear.
  • Shop for the best unit price. When purchasing a unit from a big-box store instead of from a contractor, check multiple suppliers to guarantee the best price. Buying used is also an option, but keep in mind that these units rarely come with a warranty.
  • Maintain the unit. Sharpen the blades by processing ice cubes in the disposal. Follow with a thorough rinse of cold water. Units should also be periodically descaled. To do this, pour a cup of vinegar into the unit, allow it to sit for an hour, and then flush the disposal with hot water.
  • Use the unit correctly and follow any included directions. If water needs to be run continuously while the unit is operating (common with continuous-feed styles), don’t skip this step to avoid clogs that can prematurely corrode or damage the disposal.

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Questions to Ask About Garbage Disposal Installation

Hiring a qualified contractor to tackle either a new garbage disposal install or a replacement is crucial. Knowing that a trustworthy professional will be handling the job takes away the stress and worry that comes with any type of home improvement or repair job. To make sure the best contractor is being selected for the job, a homeowner can consider asking any applicable questions from the below list.

  • How long have you been in the plumbing/electrical industry?
  • Do you have a contracting license and are you registered for my area?
  • Do you have insurance, and how does it protect me should something go wrong with the job?
  • Does this job require permits, and if so, will you obtain them?
  • Does my garbage disposal have to be replaced or can it be repaired?
  • How long will it take to complete the job once it’s on your schedule?
  • Does the entire job need to be paid for beforehand or can it be broken down into installments?
  • If the job is going to take more than a day, what time will it start and what time will it end each day?
  • Do I need to remove anything from the area, like cleaners under the sink, before you can begin?
  • Will you be completing the job or will one of your employees?
  • How are your employees trained?
  • Will there be a project manager I can contact if there’s an issue before, during, or after the job?
  • Will you take away the old disposal and clean up at the end of the job?
  • Will you lay down protective floor coverings or do anything else to protect the materials around the jobsite?
  • If there are unforeseen issues, how does that affect the price?
  • Do you offer a warranty or guarantee for your service or the materials?

FAQs

Garbage disposals are great for keeping up with kitchen waste, but they don’t last forever. Hiring an experienced contractor to replace a worn and tired garbage disposal is a great investment for any homeowner. But before calling a professional and getting a garbage disposal installation cost estimate, here are a few common questions and answers.

Q. How much does it cost to have a garbage disposal installed?

How much is a garbage disposal? It depends on whether it’s being installed for the first time or if it’s a replacement. The cost of a replacement is highly dependent on the unit chosen by the homeowner. Some brands are more expensive than others, depending on the type of unit, the material it’s made of, and what features it has. Once a unit has been purchased or priced out, labor makes up the rest of the price. Replacing a garbage disposal is a pretty straightforward job and for most professionals, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours. But if a garbage disposal is being installed for the first time, the cost could be higher. There’s still the unit to consider and labor costs. If the pipes need to be adjusted or if an outlet needs to be installed, costs can quickly rise. But these are guidelines rather than rules, so while a replacement is more likely to be less than a new installation, it’s not a guarantee. For homeowners looking for an estimate for what a contractor will charge to replace garbage disposal units, the average cost is $400 with a range of $150 to $950.

Q. Can you install a garbage disposal yourself?

Yes, installing a garbage disposal can be a DIY job. But without the right tools and experience, it’s not typically recommended. Even with the water and power supply turned off, installing a garbage disposal can be dangerous for both professionals and inexperienced homeowners. The bulk of a garbage disposal installation cost estimate is the unit itself, which means a DIY approach isn’t as big a money saver as some homeowners may think. The additional cost of working with a professional means that the unit will be installed quickly, correctly, and safely.

If a homeowner does decide to take a DIY approach, they should keep in mind that a professional can be called in at any stage of the job should they run into issues.

Q. Do garbage disposals fit all sinks?

For the most part, garbage disposals fit all types and sizes of sinks. As long as the sink has a 3- to 3.5-inch diameter hole or a drain already installed, it can accomodate a garbage disposal. But because garbage disposals are different sizes and feature different designs, it shouldn’t be assumed that any unit can fit under any sink. It’s recommended for homeowners to always measure the space beneath the sink before purchasing a unit. Keep in mind that there should still be some clearance so the unit can be accessed should a repair become necessary. If the space is tight, a compact-size unit might still fit.

Q. How long does it take to install a garbage disposal?

Installing a garbage disposal is a fairly quick job; it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete. This depends on whether a unit is being installed for the first time or if it is a replacement. Many homeowners install new garbage disposals while upgrading their kitchen sinks during a full kitchen remodel. If this is the case, it should be noted that garbage disposals cannot be installed the same day as an undermount sink. The unit can only be installed once the epoxy is cured, which can take up to 48 hours. Not all sink designs need to be undermounted, so this may not be an installation timeline factor for everyone.

Q. How long does a garbage disposal last?

Garbage disposals have a fairly long lifespan. If properly installed and routinely maintained, a quality garbage disposal can last up to 12 years. But if a disposal is overused, not maintained, or signs of wear and tear are ignored, its lifespan may be significantly shorter. Keep in mind that once a garbage disposal starts to fail, it’s best to just replace it. Repairs, especially for motors, often equate to the same price as a new unit.

Q. Why would a garbage disposal leak from the bottom?

A leak in a garbage disposal is likely the result of worn-out internal seals. In nearly all cases, these internal seals cannot be repaired. Instead, the entire unit will need to be replaced. Homeowners should know that aluminum units are more likely to leak. Units made from stainless steel rarely, if ever, develop leaks.

Q. Can garbage disposal blades come loose?

Yes, garbage disposal blades can come loose. A unit with loose blades will make a very loud and obnoxious noise when operating. A garbage disposal should not be used with loose blades. Unfortunately, this is a tricky and dangerous repair and should only be tackled by a professional who can disassemble the unit and tighten the blades. With some designs, this may not be possible and a full replacement will be necessary. The good news is that while garbage disposal blades can come loose, it’s a rare issue for a unit to develop.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide, Thumbtack

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