A day in the life: installing a garbage disposal

Yesterday I installed a garbage disposal in our house.  This is just one of the projects that have been filling my weekends, and which I somehow usually fail to document properly.  This time I got pictures.

A proper "before" picture should have showed the sink with no electrical service under it.  The first step in this process was to bring in an electrician to install the wires and switch.  They're already here in this photo:

Step One of the instructions cheerfully said "disconnect the drain from the sink".  I had no idea how to do that, so I grabbed my largest wrench and started twisting things.  After a couple hours I had removed all the drain pipes that were in the way.  I had also replaced the "Y" pipe that the dishwasher was connected to (upper right) with a straight pipe, since the plan was to connect the dishwasher to the disposal.  Here's what it looked like after Step One:

The next major step was to connect the electrical.  That gray arc of wire housing in the cabinet was very stiff.  It was subtly incompatible with the hole in the disposal:  the hole was threaded and so was the cable housing.  Sounds good, right?  No:  if I turned the cable housing until it was tight and secure in the disposal, it'd be pointing the wrong way in the cabinet.  I had to leave it a little loose, which meant it was also free to swivel.  I secured it with the cable housing's nut on the inside of the disposal and moved on.

Physically mounting the disposal to the bottom of the sink was easier than I thought it would be.  The final time-consuming phase was rebuilding the drain pipes.  Again this was glossed over with a single step in the instructions.  I reused the parts, cutting many of the pipes shorter using a hacksaw.  I had to replace one seal/gasket that broke when I tried to clean the gunk off of it.  Here's the final result:

Careful observers will note that the tee on the right, where the drain from the disposal joins that from the other sink, is lower in the final arrangement.  I had to rebuild all that, twice, in order to get it to fit.

The result is the quietest garbage disposal I've ever used.  It's in InSinkErator "evolution space saver".  I happen to have a sound level meter here, so I measured how loud it is, with the meter at eye level, pointing upwards, one pace back from the sink.
  • Quiet house:  40dbA
  • Faucet on:  49dbA
  • Faucet and disposal on:  53dbA
The numbers changed quite a bit if I held the meter in different places, but the relative values were always about what I listed here.  It's pretty damn quiet.

Elapsed time:  six hours.  Trips to hardware store:  two, not counting the initial purchase.  Costs:  about $180 for the disposal, plus something like $100 or more for the electricians to put in the wiring, plus a few bucks for putty, drain pipes, and gaskets.