Why Should I Buy a Garbage Disposal?
Garbage disposals are useful kitchen appliances that let you efficiently eliminate leftover potato peels, fruit rinds and many other types of food waste. Disposals grind these kinds of items into fine particles that are flushed out of the disposal chamber when you run cold water into your sink. The food particles are then carried into plumbing discharge pipes and out of your home.
Because garbage disposals get rid of food waste quickly, it won't start to decay and smell bad in your indoor trash can. By eliminating some food wastes, they leave more room in your trash compactor, if you have one, for other items. They also help the environment by cutting down on the waste that goes into landfills. Garbage disposals can even help prevent drain clogs. Bits of foods that fall into your drain can usually be dislodged easily by running cold water in the sink and turning on the disposal.
Some garbage disposals are specifically designed for use with septic systems, while other manufacturers say their disposals can be used in households with septic systems as long as you are disposing of typical food waste items, such as food scraps and fruit and vegetable peels. Do not put solid, mineralized food waste, such as eggshells or seafood shells, into a garbage disposal if you have a septic system. These can contribute to a build-up of sludge that may compromise its effectiveness. Read about the disposal you are considering before you buy.
What Are the Main Types of Garbage Disposals?
To find the best garbage disposal for your home, consider your budget and the kind of food waste you’ll be discarding. The two primary types of garbage disposals are batch feed and continuous feed disposals.
Before you shop, look under your sink to see how much room you have to add or replace a disposal. Not all models will fit under all sinks, but small disposals are available for small spaces.
What Are Batch Feed Disposals?
Batch feed models operate in batches and run only when a stopper is placed over the disposal opening and a switch is turned on. Because they must be used with a stopper, they’re a good choice for households with children who might be tempted to put their hands or the wrong kinds of items into the disposal. The stopper also helps prevent items from accidentally falling into the machine. You must put the food waste into a batch feed disposal and put the stopper in place before turning it on.
Batch feed garbage disposals are safer to use than continuous feed models. They are usually more expensive than continuous feed disposals.
What Are Continuous Feed Disposals?
What is a continuous feed garbage disposal? As the name suggests, a continuous feed model turns on with the flick of a switch and runs until it is turned off. It allows you to add food waste while the disposal is running. Some models offer auto-reverse functions, advanced grinding features and special circuitry to help eliminate jams.
Some units also come with splashguards to help prevent items from splashing back out while you are adding food waste. If you have small children, be safe and watch them if you have a continuous feed disposal. Don't allow them to put their hands or anything else into the unstoppered opening, which can cause serious injuries.
In general, continuous feed garbage disposals are easier to use and less expensive than batch feed models.
What Is the Best Garbage Disposal Motor Size?
Garbage disposals come in different sizes and with different features. Motor sizes vary from 1/3 HP to one HP. The higher the HP, the better the garbage disposal will run. Food waste will be ground into finer particles and you'll have fewer jams.
1/3 HP Motors
Basic disposal models have 1/3 HP motors. These are typically at the lower end of the price scale. They can be a good choice for small households that use them infrequently, or for short-term or limited use in vacation homes, but they don’t usually hold up to frequent or extended use. The best garbage disposal for a small household, or where meals are prepared infrequently, may be a basic model.
1/2 to 3/4 HP Motors
Most manufacturers recommend at least a 1/2 HP garbage disposal motor. Because disposals with these motors are smaller than disposals with one HP motors, they can fit into relatively small spaces under your sink. Models with 1/2 HP or less should be run with plenty of cold water to help the food waste go through.
Manufacturers usually recommend 3/4 HP models for most homes. These usually offer more features, such as stainless steel components, and tend to last longer than models with less powerful motors. They’re also larger, so be sure you have room under your sink to accommodate one before you buy.
One HP Motors
Models with one HP motors also require extra room under your sink and are at the higher end of the price range. However, they have a larger capacity for food waste and seldom jam.
Households with two or more people, or where meals are prepared often, may find the best garbage disposal for their needs is a 1/2 to one HP model. Higher HP is also recommended for those who want a model that can handle difficult-to-grind food waste, such as fibrous materials or bones.
Tip: As a rule of thumb, models with higher HP motors have better sound insulation and run more quietly than basic models.
How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?
The answer to how long a garbage disposal lasts depends on how often you use it, what kind of food debris you put in it and whether or not you use and maintain it properly. On average, a garbage disposal can last about twelve years.
To help your garbage disposal last longer, avoid running hot water when using it. Also, avoid grinding fibrous materials such as celery stalks or corn husks in a basic disposal. Basic disposals are designed to handle normal amounts of food waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, soft food scraps and small bones. Premium disposals can handle larger jobs.
If you need to repair your disposal, read your manufacturer's directions so you will know what kind of garbage disposal parts to buy.
Your manufacturer's instructions will also tell you what your garbage disposal can and cannot handle, whether you are on public sewer or a septic tank system.
How Do I Maintain a Garbage Disposal?
Be safe, and never reach into the disposal while it's in use. Always disconnect the power before reaching into it.
- To maintain your garbage disposal and help it last longer, run cold water in it before, during and after operation.
- Grind small bones to scour the grinding chamber, and use disposal cleaner, deodorizer or citrus peels to freshen the disposal.
- Run the disposal each time you put food in it to reduce corrosion from acidic foods.
- Remove silverware and other items from the sink before using the garbage disposal.
How Are Garbage Disposals Installed?
Types of Garbage Disposals
How to choose a garbage disposal depends on your budget, how you prepare food and how much food waste you need to get rid of on a regular basis. A batch feed disposal may be the best garbage disposal for your home if safety is a priority. If you need an easy-to-use, budget-friendly disposal, a continuous feed model may be right for you. Opt for a motor with higher HP for a quieter, more efficient operation in a household where meals are frequently prepared.