Garbage Disposal Buying Guide
To get rid of food based garbage in the most efficient and cleanest way possible, your kitchen and sink needs a garbage disposal. Leftover food residue, vegetable peels, and more can be gone in a flash and safely flushed down pipes with the right type and power level of garbage disposal installed.
Which type of garbage disposal will be best in your kitchen?
- Continuous feed models turn on and off with power switch, usually located near the sink.
- Batch Feed models turn on and off when the disposal lid is engaged. Typically, the larger the casing of the disposer means the unit has more insulation, which makes is quieter. These are much safer when young children are in the kitchen.
How big of a disposal does your kitchen need?
Garbage disposals today come in a great deal of sizes and power. Your needs will vary on the size of your household and the amount of use your kitchen gets.
- A family of 2 or fewer that uses the kitchen infrequently can get by with a disposal with as little as 1/3 horsepower, as long as they are grinding a small amount of food waste, such as vegetable skins and the like.
- A typical household who frequently prepares food needs a minimum of 3/4 - 1 horsepower to operate efficiently and fast.
- For those need to handle hard-to grind waste, such as fibrous materials and large bones may need a stronger motor.
Features & other things should you consider when shopping
- Sink style in the kitchen. Some disposals will not fit correctly on certain sink styles. Make sure you check the model specifications to see if there are any limitations.
- Make sure the garbage disposal has enough power for your household's needs.Too little horsepower will cause the disposal to not operate correctly and too much horse power can cause sink, surrounding cabinets and countertop to vibrate.
- Construction. Disposal units made of plastic polymer chambers resist rusting and corrosion. Galvanized steel is also used on some units. Although it is more durable than plastic, it is suseptable to rust and can corrode over time. Stainless steel is durable, and resists rust and corrosion, and will prolong the life of your garbage disposal.
- Do you have a dishwasher? Some disposals offer the feature of hooking up to the dishwasher to grind up food particles and avoid having to prewash dishes.
- Anti-jamming features. Models with this feature can avoid simple jams that happen with daily use. Some models reverse blade direction automatically, have a manual button or inlcude a hex wrench to change blade direction.
- Grind Capacity. This refers to the physical size of the interior of the unit. Larger capacity garbage disposals are able to process more waste at once, and is great for large families who use the kitchen frequently.
- Quiet Operation This feature can be important when the kitchen is in close proximity to other parts of relaxing parts of the home. Some advanced disposal models have measures to reduce noise. Some may have more insulation, special mounting brackets or a sound baffle run more quietly.
- Grind Stages. While most garbage disposals these days are 1-stage grinders, 2 and 3-stage grinders are available. These grind the waste multiple times, virtually liquifying the materials, allowing you to grind fibrous and hard waste, with little or no chance of clogging or jamming.
Do you have a septic tank?
Disposals create more residue and increase water consumption for your septic tank. As a result, more frequent cleaning of the tank may be required. Grinding tobacco in your disposal should be avoided, since it interferes with bacteria in the tank. Shellfish do not decompose in the tank, so these should be disposed of by normal means, such as throwing them away in the trash can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I run hot or cold water when I use my garbage disposal?
A: Always use cold water. First, it is better for the environment, since you waste no energy in heating up the water. Secondly, cold water allows the waste to be washed away more. For best results, you should leave the water running for 10-15 seconds after you shut off the disposal.
Q: How do I clean my garbage disposal unit?
A: There are many commercial chemical cleaning products available to use with your garbage disposal. A natural solution is to grind ice cubes and a lemon for a fresh, clean scent.
Q: Can I put fiberous items like celery, and hard materials like bones down my garbage disposal?
A: Yes. But you need to be careful about how much of this material you put in the disposal at once. Too much can cause jams and will clog your drain. Multiple stage grinders are better suited with handling these kinds of waste.
Q: Are there any food items I should not put down my disposal?
A: Yes! Never pour grease or fat down the garbage disposal. It can build up in the drain and cause clogs and other obstructions. Also tobacco and shellfish should not be ground either if you have a septic tank.
Q: Are garbage disposals safe to use with septic systems?
A: Yes. Most disposals are safe to use with a properly maintained septic system. There are units available specifically dsigned with septic tanks, which inject a small amount of microbes into the chamber with the waste to further break it down.