Operating a disposal is very easy. We start by running tepid or cold water in the sink before turning on the Garbage Disposal unit and then we begin feeding food debris into it after turning the unit on. Don’t add large quantities of garbage as this may clog or slow down the machine’s operation. Never put oil, fat or grease into a disposal because they will solidify and can cause problems.
When the Garbage Disposal unit has finished breaking down the waste, turn off the unit and run the water again for a minute to clean out the drain pipe. It just take a couple of seconds for a disposal to pulverize food debris depending on the type and the amount of waste. Most will have an altered sound when the waste has left the grinding chamber. While running a disposal is not rocket science, we do need to know what kinds are available.
The continuous feed is the type of Garbage Disposal Unit that is found in most of our homes. Food scraps are added to the disposal as it runs, and it’s turned off and on by flipping a wall switch or through an electrical circuit that brings power to the disposal. The activated switch will set the disposal in motion and we can continuously feed it scraps as the machine runs, or we can wait until the Garbage Disposal unit is full to turn it on.
Unlike the batch fed disposal, running water while using the continuous feed is recommended. Scraps placed in the unit are mashed against the inner wall teeth of the disposal and shredded into bits. These bits fall through tiny holes located between the inside walls and the spinning plate and down the drain. There is a rubber shield at the disposal’s top which keeps the particles of food contained and not ejected out. The shield also allows us to plug the sink in order to fill it with water when the disposal is not being used.
The batch feed disposal does not operate using a switch like a typical continuous feed disposal does. The batch feed runs by a key which is inserted into a drain to activate the machine. It is very simple to install and works well to grind up food scraps. A batch feed disposal receives power through a plug located under our sink.
We need to make very sure its plugged in correctly or it could cause sparks that could lead to a fire. To run a batch feed, we must drain any water in the sink first. There can be garbage from a meal in the sink but no water.
We start by lifting the drain stopper up and let the water drain completely out. The batch feed garbage disposal uses a key to turn on the unit, and it needs to be placed nearby in a safe place that kids can’t get to. This key that looks like a rod is put in the drain and twisted to turn on the Garbage Disposal Unit. This motion will activate the disposal blades that will grind up the food. Take the key out and start feeding it through the disposal in small amounts.
As the disposal grinds the sound it makes will lessen when the food scraps are ground, and we can add more scraps at that time. When we are done feeding the disposal, take the key and put it back in the Garbage Disposal Unit twisting it in the opposite direction to shut it off.
Most of us have dishwashers and some like Whirlpool, GE and KitchenAid have the added feature of a hard food disposal. They are much like a mini disposal with a capacity for grinding and an adequate motor that isn’t quite as strong as those we find under our sinks. They do remove larger pieces of food debris and waste during the wash cycle and are self-cleaning. It is louder than a built in disposal but the noise is minimal. A dishwasher featuring a hard food disposer is nice for families that simply want to scrape their dishes clean and then load them into the dishwasher.
Dishwashers also offer a filtration system which is often found in European countries. The filtration systems works on very hot water temperatures in the dishwasher as it enters it wash cycle and will break food particles down while the filtration system intercepts them. These dishwashers with filtration systems must be cleaned every ten days or so, and dishes should be loaded without being rinsed off to prevent detergent enzymes to etch dishes.
Ultimately, the decision of which option to choose is up to you and will depend the specific features that you need your dishwasher to have. Regardless of which one we choose, homeowners should be aware that every manufacturer recommends the use of a rinse aid with each cycle. Doing so ensures that all phosphates will be removed from your wares and that each dish is spotlessly clean.
Tested Features To Consider
Overall testing has discovered that features in disposals that are highly touted in stores may not be as they imply. For example, durability presents as an issue in many models as does features advertised and shorter warranties than other competitors. A typical garbage disposer is reported to last up to 12 years, but many do not reach that mark, and just because the warranty appears to be long does not mean the disposal will have a longer life span. Because of the longer guarantee, some retailers sell them for more money than those with a shorter guarantee.
Testing has suggested that auto reverse mode comes in handy because it helps the spinning blades on the disposal clear away most waste that is jammed, which is a problem for many disposals. There are some models that come with a “jaminator” or an oscillating blade feature for clearing out waste.
If we know that our disposal will be handling more than thin, small bones or items like small vegetable scraps, then a less powerful 1/2 horse powered motor can be considered. If we are using the Garbage Disposal Unit for larger loads, then we should go with a 3/4 or 1 horse powered model. Larger models that were tested, tend to grind bones finer and faster which reduces the chance for a clog or a jam. The smaller horse powered disposal as well as the heavier models have a neck that is quick mount and can be installed by one person, but the heavier models can weigh up to 30 pounds and may need to people to install.
The safety cover tested and found on some models stops the Garbage Disposal Unit from turning on unless the cover is properly in place. The stainless steel chamber that is claimed to increase the durability of the unit, has been tested and found that the stainless steel grinder can in fact be damaged by tough debris and beef bones, so a longer life is not guaranteed.
Although testing tells us a great deal, the first step to thoroughly enjoy the benefits of a Garbage Disposal is to make very sure it matches our needs for our home, and the area where we live. For example, if we need a Garbage Disposal Unit to dispose of soft waste, a 1/2 HP motor equipped unit could serve us well. For tougher residues like carrots we are going to need a higher HP rating.
Also, keep in mind that a weak sewer system and a shortage of water supply are enemies of garbage disposers. So, before making the decision call the local sewer authority and enquire about the disposer policy, and whether the municipal sewer system in your area can bear the process of shifting the food wastes from your garbage can to the drain.
Eight Tips On Buying The Best Garbage Disposal Unit To Fit Our Needs
- We must consider our needs when it comes to our home and where we live. For instance, if our disposable waste is soft most of the time, a 1/2 horsepower unit may be suitable. If we frequently deal with hard waste like carrots, a higher horsepower rating is in order.
As we read above, we have to consider our water supply availability and the strength of our sewer system. If we live in an area with a sewer system that is weak or in an area that has a water supply shortage, we need to check with authorities to see what disposer policies are in place.
- As we have learned, there are continuous feed and batch feed disposals. Continuous feed is really good for homes that produce a sizable amount of garbage. It has an open neck, so we must be careful if there are children in the family. A batch feed disposal can’t turn on unless the chamber if full. They are good for smaller amounts of food waste. Batch feed models have a cover that has to be closed before it will operate.
- Any plumbing issues we may have should be addressed before we install a new Garbage Disposal Unit. Not only does the local sewer system need checking but if our plumbing is inadequate it may need enhancement or repair. If we already have backups and clogs on a fairly regular basis, a disposal could only add to the problem.
- Options that help the process of cleaning make it much easier to keep a Garbage Disposal unit clean. Auto-reverse helps to prevent frequent jams and allows the blades to remove any jammed food scraps. The “jaminator” circulates around the blades to remove debris and prevent clogs and jams.
- An essential part of a Garbage Disposal Unit is the grinding chamber, and we should choose a disposal that has features like chambers that are stainless steel for more durability and accessibility for better cleaning than regular steel chambers. The torque, pulverizing power and size are all affected by the motor size.
- The warranty that is offered by the manufacturer is also an important factor to consider. An extended warranty reflects the trust the company has in their product brand. However, any extended or lifetime warranty usually raises the price.
- Look for a disposal that touts quietness. Because larger models have a robust build and the insulation around the grinding chamber is stronger, they are usually much quieter than smaller models.
- The price we pay for a disposal is quite important, and although we must consider what we can afford, we must also think about the features and the quality we are looking for. Going for a cheaper model must not pay off in the long run because they are prone to noises and jams.
Consumer Reviews and Reports
Best Reviews has testers that buy and review every product with their own funding. They tested the
InSinkErator Evolution Excel, 1.0 HP and found it to be a strong contender in the disposal market with a powerful motor that can deal with almost all kinds of garbage. It’s considered a high end Garbage Disposal unit costing around $350, but its additional horsepower eliminates food waste quickly with the versatility of three powerful grind stages. Although it’s incredibly quiet, reviewers found that some packages did not come with an electrical plug and the unit was slow to drain.
Best Review also tested the InSinkErator Contractor 333, 3/4 HP, that sells for around $188. The testers found it to be a solid machine, grinding food quite well. They stated that the metal housing and stainless steel components offered good durability and the power to grind. The price is very reasonable and installation is easy. However this particular disposal is very noisy!
Consumer Reports tested the Waste King Legend 8000 (L-8000), selling for approximately $115. It got high ratings, proving to be one of the fastest continuous feed disposals tested. It also got very high ranks for grinding tough food bits such as celery stalks and beef bones. It has a one horsepower mower which give it more power than some other disposals at the same price and even more powerful than those that are considerably more expensive. However there is on caveat with the Waste King Legend 8000 in that in 2017, it was recalled after reported by users to spit metal parts while using.
The recall covered around 146,000 disposals with over 22 complaints sold in the United States and Canada between December 2015 through March 2017. Made by Anaheim Manufacturing it was sold under Waste King, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Moen and Franke. For more information users can check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
What Should We Pay Attention To?
As noted, if we live with a septic tank system, we must look for a Garbage Disposal unit that is labeled septic friendly. It’s a fact that we must be very careful about what we are putting in the drain because food scraps can clog the system if it isn’t finely ground up. Even if it is thoroughly ground, it can clog the tank and to fix it is costly and timely. That’s why it’s sometimes recommended that homeowners with septic tanks stay far away from disposals.
However, they may be one solution that being the InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist that sells for around $270. It is a continuous feed unit with a “bio charge” cartridge. This cartridge injects microorganism which are enzyme producing and helps break down waste flowing into the septic tank. Reviews are good and state that the Garbage Disposal Unit works as it advertises, and users have no problem with backups or clogs since installing the unit. Since it works automatically, users don’t have to use their hands to add chemicals. The cartridge sells for $13 and lasts about four months,
When it comes to buying a Garbage Disposal unit there are many things we need to think carefully about. We want to purchase the right disposal for our kitchen sink. They do not all work the same so we have to consider the options. It seems that InSinkErator is the bestselling disposal on the market.
Its quality, durability and price are very competitive and is the brand most often seen in many stores that sell disposals. Brand aside, other elements to think about for one is the price which is usually dictated by the size and horsepower. Other points to consider are components, noise level and, as mentioned septic tanks.
This guide may be useful to us:
1/3 horsepower garbage disposals can be an economical option, but their level of use is quite limited. They jam easily and the internal components are cheaply made and will quickly rust out. They are best used for a temporary or limited period of time.
1/2 Horsepower is generally the recommended minimum horse power for home use. They are still a reasonably affordable option at $100 or less. They are relatively small and fit in tight spaces. It’s best to use it sparingly and not to over feed it. Keep in mind that these Garbage Disposal units tend to be quite noisy and must be used with lots of water to help grind the food. Find one with stainless steel parts that will help the disposal last longer.
3/4 Horsepower is a popular size that serves most kitchens very well. The Garbage Disposal Unit has enough power to handle leftovers and will grind, celery, potato peels and more without a problem. The unit will not jam easily and additional features can be purchased like grind components that are stainless steel. There is also more protection from sound with 3/4 horsepower units. We just need to make sure it will fit under our sink.
1 Horsepower will grind everything under the sun including fruit rinds, chicken bones, coffee grounds and more. Most of these models are top of the line and are the most quiet disposals. Because of the high level, they should have a grinding chamber that is entirely stainless steel with lots of room for food scraps. The rarely if ever jam. As with larger models, the 1 horsepower will need space under the sink to install and may take up most of the under the sink space.
Top Manufacturers of Garbage Disposal Units
The InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 HP
The InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 HP is considered the very best. It has three grind stages and combines precision and power and is a top selling brand. It has an induction motor that is active offering 1.0 horsepower and a very high strength level. It’s made of stainless steel with a construction that will last for years.
It comes with a seven year warranty and repair men will come to the home should a repair be needed. It has a layered grind system meaning any food put in the disposal passes through three separate stainless steel grinding chambers breaking down food into tiny pieces. By the time it gets to the pipes, the food scraps are so small, there is no need to worry about clogs.
Because of a patented “Soundseal” technology, this unit is rated a-one on the noise scale. The only drawbacks is it will probably need to be professionally installed. It sells for around $350.[/toggle]
Waste King L8000 Legend Series
The Waste King L8000 Legend Series is the best buy for the money conscious shoppers. Selling for about $140, it weighs about 14 pounds, 2800 RPMs and 1.0 horsepower. It’s known as the high powered unit without the high price.
The installation is simple and doesn’t need a professional to install. The system comes with explicit instructions and includes a power cord. One negative is that it might not be the right Garbage Disposal Unit for every home because it requires 7.0 amps and 115 volts to run. It might need too much power for small homes or trailers.
The Waste King L-3300 Legend Series 3/4 HP
The Waste King L-3300 Legend Series 3/4 HP is another great pick for those of us who are budget minded. It weighs 11 pound and is one of the smallest disposals sold. It is great if we have a small sink sliding into place without a hassle.
It can be easily installed with a wrench. It comes with a splash guard and power cord. Because it is so small, power is reduced to 3/4 horsepower and the motor does not do well with large volumes of food scraps. It sells on Amazon for about $125.
GE GFC535V Disposer” state=”close” ] The GE GFC535V Disposer is made with “Drainboost” technology having a fin that is tilted to pump water forcefully reducing clogs. It has a 1/2 horsepower magnet motor and is capable of speeds up to 2800 RPM.
Blades are stainless steel with anti-jam technology with low probability of any pipes being clogged. It’s easy to operate and install and comes with a manual. This disposal weighs 10 pounds and sells for approximately $140.
KitchenAid KCDS075T 3/4 Horsepower Continuous Feed Food Waste Disposer” KitchenAid KCDS075T 3/4 Horsepower Continuous Feed Food Waste Disposer offer a very effective grind with a 1725 motor and continuous feed with an electric switch.
The MultiGrind® technology lets us grind a variety of food scraps in two stages and the ◦SoundSeal™ sound lessening components is at least 40% quieter than most garbage disposers. It weighs about 20 pounds and sells for about $270.
American Standard High Torque 1.25 HP” state=”close” ] American Standard High Torque 1.25 HP Kitchen Waste Garbage Disposer sells for $136 at Amazon. This high torque disposal runs at 2700 RPM for powerful grinding with a magnetic guard ring and a sharp ring that makes mincing food incredibly fast.
It has turntable that is balanced for vibration free operation and the shell is insulated for quiet operation. It remains rust free because of stainless steel cutting mechanisms and impellers.
The Whirlpool GC2000XE 1/2 HP
The Whirlpool GC2000XE 1/2 HP is a continuous feed disposal. It is also available at Amazon for approximately $95. The disposal has a flange that is stainless steel with a solid, plastic stopper that is one piece. It comes with a shedding ring and grinding wheel made of galvanized steel and has a manual reset overload protector.
The InSinkErator Cover Control Plus Evolution Batch Feed
The InSinkErator Cover Control Plus Evolution Batch Feed sells for $200. This Garbage Disposal Unit has a magnetic cover and has to be filled and shut before using. A magnetic “CoverStart” works through magnetic field alignment to open and shut the unit. It doesn’t need a wall outlet, as it on turns on when the cover is on the disposal and closed. It weighs 23 pounds and is 14 by 11 by 14 inches in diameter.[/toggle]
Goplus 1.0HP 2600RPM
Goplus 1.0HP 2600RPM is a continuous feed disposal offered at Sears for $60. It is a brand new model from Sears with a 1.0 horse power motor that delivers a powerful performance, and it’s fairly quiet with a 2600 RPM rotating motor for shredding food scraps into pieces that are less than 0.079 inches. It is constructed with quality ABS plastics with a noise value of 50 decibels and below.[/toggle]
SS-1000 Large Capacity Commercial Disposal (SS-1000-10) by Insinkerator
For those of us who own a business needing a Garbage Disposal Unit the SS-1000 Large Capacity Commercial Disposal (SS-1000-10) by Insinkerator is the way to go. This large capacity disposal is a high quality unit that is as easy to use as any household disposal.
It fits a stand sink opening and its easy to install. Its grinding chamber is stainless steel with a promise for long term use with no corrosion or rust. There is a one year warranty on service and all parts. It sells for $4,600 when on sale. This sounds like a lot of money, but if we own a restaurant, we’ll soon realize this disposal is worth its weigh in gold.
We do realize that these Garbage Disposal units are not the only ones around, but we feel they are worth checking out in order to make a wise decision when it comes to buying an appliance for your kitchen that will be used often and used well.
About The Garbage Disposal Unit Companies
General Electric (GE)
Sears Roebuck and Co
InSinkErator, located in Wisconsin is a unit of Emerson and the world’s biggest maker of Garbage Disposal units for commercial and home use. The first garbage disposal was invented as the InSkinErator in 1927, and has evolved through advanced technology ever since with InSink’s Evolution Series.
A division of Moen Inc., Anaheim Manufacturing sells a variety of Garbage Disposal Unit, disposal accessories, faucets and hot water tanks. Their brands include the Waste King Legend Series.
General Electric (GE) headquartered in Boston, MA is a multinational American conglomerate that was incorporated in New York. The company’s operations segments include healthcare, power, digital, venture capital and finance, oil, gas, transportation, aviation, renewable energy, lighting and appliances. The company was founded by Thomas Edison.
Whirlpool Corp. owns KitchenAid which is an home appliance brand made in America. Corporation. It started in 1919 to produce H-5 stand mixers This was followed by KitchenAid dishwashers in 1949, originally selling for $40.
American Standard has been in business for 140 years, leading the development of innovative kitchen and bath products. For nearly 140 years, Their website has an interesting interactive timeline that gives the history of the company.
Sears Roebuck and Co, is a leader in retailing tools, appliances, automotive parts, cloths and automotive services. It was founded by Richard W. Sears in 1886 as the R>W> Sears Watch Company in Minnesota and watches were sold by mail order.
Popular Garbage Disposal Unit Features
The “quick/ER mount” is a lock and rotate installation plus because it is easier than the three bolt method used in older systems. However, the three bolt system is sometimes considered the better choice because it is stainless steel. The EZ mount is aluminum. There is also less vibration with a three bolt system.
The auto-reverse feature comes with most high end disposals, and it helps to avoid jamming. If blades block while running the unit will reverse its direction automatically to break up the block.
A disposal that is labeled multi-grind has stages of grinding food to a pulp state. They are expensive but way better than a single stage grinding system.
Some disposals have a magnet type motor that uses permanent magnets rather than an induction motor that uses electromagnets. The permanent magnet motor is high-speed with grater efficiency but are very expensive. InSinkErator has induction motors in their disposals while many of their competitors use magnet motors. It seems that high speed motors are much better at avoiding jams and grinding food scraps faster. However the slower speed units have more features including auto-reverse.
Other features include “Sound Seal“, which helps reduce noise and septic assist which injects the disposal with micro-organisms to breakdown food in septic tanks.
Garbage Disposal Unit Accessories
There are a myriad of accessories that may be needed or simply wanted to enhance or repair our Garbage Disposal unit. They include:
The SinkTop Switch™ by InSinkErator that is an easy to use and conveniently placed switch that replaces the switch on our kitchen wall with elegance. It is mounted to the countertop or on the front of our kitchen cabinet and is an entirely creative way to run our disposal. By pressing the switch a module located below the sink receives a blast of air and turns on the disposal. When we press it again, the disposal will immediately turn off.
The Danco Disposal Genie Garbage Disposal Strainer comes in black, blue, green or red and is made with dishwater safe durable plastic. It stops large items like silverware from falling into the drain and allows food particles and water to freely flow into the disposal. It comes with a scraper to clean off dishes and push food scraps into the disposal. Its design is universal, and it fits standard disposals.
Amazon sells a disposal sink baffle and a splash guard with a free sink stopper that fits Sinkmaster, GE, Whirlaway and Waste King models. No tools are necessary to install and easily replaces damaged or old splash guards to keep food from splashing. They fit all Moen, Kohler, Master King, Whirlaway, Sinkmaster, Waste King, InSinkerator and more disposals and standard sinks.
Insinerator sells an extended sink flange that fits sinks larger tan 1 3/4 inches thick. The surface of this flange is stainless steel and compliments sinks that are stainless steel.
Things To Know About Our Garbage Disposal Unit
- Do use a dish soap that is grease fighting to clear up grime and debris that could be stuck in our disposal. Drop just a bit in the unit, run cold water and turn the disposal on for about30 seconds.
- Do use lots of water in the disposal in order for it to properly run.
- Do use lemon or lime juice to keep our disposal smelling pleasantly fresh. Add the juice with running water and let the disposal fun for about 30 seconds.
- Do run hot water when using the Garbage Disposal unit because it aids in breaking oils and fats down and prevent them from clogging the pipes. After emptying the disposal run cold water for about one minute to remove any food particles.
- Don’t use any chemicals in the disposal that are corrosive because this might damage and corrode the plumbing.
- Don’t put shells, nuts or bones in the disposal as they may be too hard for it to handle. Put these items in the trash. Only put food scraps in the unit. If anything like metal, sponges or glass falls into the disposal, remove carefully! Eggshells should not go into a disposal because they can adhere to the blades and damage them. Also, food that is fibrous like lettuce, celery, potatoes and onion skins should be avoided as they too can get trapped on the blades.
- Don’t put loads of pasta or rice in the disposal because they expand and can cause pipes to become clogged.
- Don’t put a huge amount of coffee grounds in the disposal. A little bit helps with odors, but too much can cause a clog.
- Do wait a while if the disposal automatically turns off. This means it is working too hard, and it needs to cool off before resetting it. Reset by hitting the reset button. If it still will not operate, turn off the power and use a disposal wrench to get whatever is stuck in the disposal.
Some Easy Fixes For Garbage Disposals
We know that our disposal might have a minor problem every now and then. It has moving parts like any other appliance, so things can go wrong. As annoying as this is, there are some easy fixes out there and by following this advice, we should be able to take care of the problem without seeking professional advice.
If we detect a clog in our disposal, and we notice some water standing in our sink or taking a long time to drain, the pipe in the drain is probably clogged. Grease, scales, and other food bits can clog drains. To fix this we must turn the disposal off and fill the sink with soap and water. With a plunger we plunge for about a minute to see if that works. If not, we should remove the P trap located under the sink and use a snake to remove the clog.
If your Garbage Disposal Unit is making strange, weird noises and will not properly grind, something is probably jammed in the flywheel of the unit. We will need to stick a disposal wrench in the opening which is hexagon shaped at the bottom of the disposal. By turning the wrench clockwise, we should undo the block which is causing the flywheel to fail. Once the flywheel starts spinning, the disposal should be reset with cold water running.
If the disposal will not run at all, check to make sure it’s plugged in. If it is, check the circuit breaker which could be tripped and the disposal isn’t receiving power. If that isn’t the problem, the outlet could be burnt out, the circuit breaker is broken or we need a new disposal.
If our disposal is leaking, we should turn the disposal off at the base and find its mount and take the disposal out by turning counterclockwise at its bottom. Once removed, we will see mounting bolts that may need to be tightened to stop the leak. If that doesn’t work, the mounting bolts should be loosened and the flange pushed up slightly higher than the sink’s surface. Take some putty and apply it between the sink and the flange. Then put the unit back in black and tighten up the bolts. Excess putty should easily wipe away before placing the unit back on its mount.
If all else fails, we may need to call a repair person to see what is wrong with our garbage disposer. Heaven knows that not having a disposal for any period of time gives us a clear sense on just how important they are.
Where to Purchase a Garbage Disposal Unit
Die hard garbage disposal Unit buyers will go to one of many stores that sell them to see what it is they’re purchasing but going on the Internet to see what’s out there is so much easier. The same stores we go to probably have a website that features disposals and everything we would ever need to know about them. Here are some good examples.
Home Depot offers 81 models online. For each model they highlight the type of disposal including the continuous feed and batch. They give model sizes, brands, horsepower, price and more. The online buying guide describes things to do for our disposals and things to avoid. Custom reviews are given, and there is even a live chat function to tie into should questions arise.
Lowe’s website features Whirlpool Garbage Disposal Unit but also carries InSink, GE, Moen, Frigidaire and KitchenAid. They quote prices “low to high” or “high to low” and give ratings from one star to five stars. They give horsepower for each unit and allow us to compare one model to another. They also have live chat capability.
Amazon of course offers just about anything we need including garbage disposals. Their brands include Waste King, InSinkErator, Whirlaway, Anaheim, Waste Maid, Moen, Emerson, Whirlpool, GE, Kitchen Choice, ANZZI, Kenmore, KitchenAid and Kindred Sink. The prices at Amazon are very competitive and shipping is free over $25. They give detailed descriptions on each brand and the models they offer and list all accessories available.
In addition to these well-known outlets, we can also find many home appliance stores and hardware stores online that boast their own websites and give the same information as those mentioned above.
If we are determined to go and see what we are purchasing, we can find local chain stores that welcome Garbage Disposal Unit buyers. They include:
- Home Depot
- JC Penney
- Sam’s Club
- PC Richards Appliances
Interesting Facts and Advice
Before we purchase a disposal we really need to know there could be limitations on using it. For example, there are areas that have strict standards such as limited water and sewer capacity. There are also policies in some places that require a permit be issued before we can use our disposal.
As previously discussed, if we have a septic tank, we must make sure it is big enough to accommodate a garbage disposal. If it isn’t, there are municipalities that require us to upgrade the septic system. To know this, we should check with a building inspector to learn what the policy is. At the very least, if there is no policy we will have to empty the system more often.
Water is an issue in many areas, and disposals are well known to use a lot of water, not only making for a higher water bill but also a concern for places that frequently suffer from droughts. Adding waste to a plumbing system can cause clogs and backups. Our plumbing has to be up to date and capable of handling this waste.
Removing and Installing A Garbage Disposal Unit
If we need to remove a disposal either to get rid of it or replace it with a new one, hiring a plumber can be very expensive. To save money, here are some step by step instructions on removing or replacing a disposal.
Removing Garbage Disposal
- We must first find the power supply to the disposal and shut it off, as well as the power from an electric service panel or a circuit breaker. We can double check that everything is turned off by trying to operate the disposal.
- We can now make sure the disposal is unplugged from the socket on the wall. If it’s hand wired, we must disconnect all the wires using a screwdriver to remove the cover plate over the wire connections. The exposed wires can be undone and we can take off the junction box plate cover on the wall. Wire caps connected to home wiring that are keeping the disposal wires in place can be untwisted. Wire caps in the junction box should be twisted and the junction box should be reattached.
- With a voltage tester, test to make sure there is no electrical voltage before wiring back the junction box.
- Now the hose clamp attached to the dishwasher hose barbed nipple can be loosened and removed. The pipe that connects the dishwasher to the disposal’s side can also be removed. Keep in mind that not all Garbage Disposal Unit are attached directly to a dishwasher. This is only applicable if there is one.
- We should locate the waste pipe and put a bucket under it to catch an leftover liquid.
- With an adjustable wrench or pliers that are tongue-in-groove, remove the trap fittings, a pipe that looks u-shaped and connects on to the disposal to take wastewater away.
- Let the water drain from the p-trap out of the pipe to the bucket.
- Take the Garbage Disposal Unit out. Some unscrew from the drain in the sink. Others will have a snap ring that needs to be removed by using a screwdriver to pry it off the flange.
- Hold the underside of the disposal while removing as it is quite heavy in some cases.
- It’s a good idea to have rags on the sink cabinet’s bottom to protect it from damage.
- It’s time to take the mounting assembly and remove it by unscrewing the mounting screws holding the lower and upper rings separate. There is a ring in the sink sleeve grove and it should be removed followed by the removal of the sink sleeve, fiber gasket and flange.
- If there is remaining plumber’s putty, sealing gaskets or debris clean it out.
- If we are going to replace our disposal with a new one, leave mounting assembly.
If we are removing the disposal, and we don’t want to put another one under the sink, we will need to install a sink drain connected it to our waste pipes. This will let wastewater drain right from the sink to the drainpipes.
- To remove the drain in the sink, we have to remove the nut that secures the flange in the drain with a pipe wrench. After it is loosened, we can push the drain up and remove it.
- The drain hole should be cleaned with a putty knife to remove any putty. If it’s hard to remove, get a razor to get it off. If the putty is still hard, use some rubbing alcohol to loosen it. After the putty is removed, scrub with a pad and rinse with water.
- Lay a 1/8 inch strip of putty flat and put it inside the drain. Make sure the strip goes around the drain’s circumference placing it on the drain’s underside lip. Place the drain on the sink opening and press down wiping any extra putty away.
- When we buy the drain, it should come with a washer that we will secure under the drain over the threads. Next, take the nut that also comes with our drain and secure the secure the washer with pliers. It will help to have someone hold the drain in place to keep it steady. If there is any excess putty, remove it.
- Take the PVC tailpiece and connect the piece to the pipe shaped like an elbow. The tailpiece has to be long enough to be at the level of the pipe we are connecting it to. The tailpiece can now be tightened to secure it.
- When the elbow pipe is attached together with the tailpiece it should be bend toward the adjacent sink.
- The connector pipe can be used to connect the T-fitting on the sink to the elbow piece. The connector piece may need cutting to the proper length depending on the sink’s size. Use the washers and nuts that come with the pipes and secure the pieces using pliers.
If we are installing a new Garbage Disposal Unit here is what we do.
- If the disposal is the same brand as the one we are replacing, we can use the same mounting bracket already on the sink.
- We need to place a seal (rubber) under the drain flange. The seal is usually park of the new disposal package, or it can be purchased as an accessory. Wrap the rubber seal around the flange and place the flange into the drain hole. If the disposal doesn’t come with a seal, use putty.
- Take another rubber seal and place it on the flange under the sink attaching it to the backup ring. The metal backup ring should be attached flat side up pushing it over the drain flange.
- The mounting ring can now be attached loosely using three screws. Follow this up by securing the snap ring to the mounting ring. It should snap into place. Tightened the screws making sure the bracket is even and tight.
- We are now all set and prepared to add our new disposal.
- To prepare the new disposal for mounting, we should shake it to make sure that there is nothing inside.
- The electric plate can be removed and the wiring on the disposal should be pulled to one side.
- The strain relief sleeve can now be screwed into place and the wires can be placed into the disposal.
- If the disposal is going to be hooked up to a dishwasher, we have to remove the knock out plug with a screwdriver and hammer.
- Now the wires can be connected. On some disposals the ground wire is connected to the green screw. The white wires are spliced to the other white wires and the black wires to black wires. Use the wire nuts to tighten up the strain relief sleeve and replace the disposal’s cover plate
- Place the disposal on the mounting bracket and lock it in. Turn locking ring so that the three housing pins catch and tighten the ring as much as allowed using pliers. The pins should snap right into place.
Lift the disposal up onto the mounting bracket and lock into place. Then turn the locking ring until all three housing pins catch into place. Tighten the locking ring as far as it will go using slip-joint pliers to finish tightening it securely. You should be able to hear the pins snap into place when finished.
- Next we have to attach the pipes. A 90 degree disposal drainpipe will attach to the disposal and the other sink drain will attach to the tailpiece. There are p-traps on the disposal and tailpiece that should be level to each other. Next the T-fitting and straights can be connected to both drains into one line and routed to the main drain.
- Before we use PBC glue we should dry fit pieces first. Then using the glue, we place it on the inside and outside of the pipe.
- If we are using a dishwasher and Garbage Disposal Unit, we can now connect the drain line and connect the disposal with the pipe where we previously knocked a plug out for the connection.
- Let water fun through the unit and pipes for several minutes and check for leaks. Testing the pipes will help prevent future problems
- We are done! Now the power can be turned back on and the electrical service panel or circuit switch can go back on as well. If all goes well, we have ourselves a brand new disposal!
Taking Care Of Our Garbage Disposal Unit
We may not think a disposal needs tender love and care, but it sure does! It won’t do us any good if the blades are dull, motor burns out or pipes are clogged. The following information is our guide to learning how to take care of our disposal so it can do its job.
As mentioned, there are things that should never go in a garbage disposal if we want to keep it alive and well. Only foods that are biodegradable should be put in a disposal. Never put paper, plastic, glass or cigarette butts in the unit. Pasta and rice should also be avoided.
Some feel if dealing with oil and grease, warm water will get them through pipes faster, while others feel that cold water will solidify them in order to get chopped up in the disposal blades. At any rate, water should be running when we first start our disposal. Place garbage in the unit and turn it on to grind. Continue running water after unit is off to flush out any remaining particles.
Like any other appliance, a Garbage Disposal Unit needs cleaning every now and then. The outside of the unit can be washed with soapy water and wiped dry. The inside can be gently scrubbed with a tooth brush and warm mild soapy water.
To keep the disposal fresh we can drop lemon or lime juice in the disposal and flush with water. We can also mix baking soda and vinegar with water to run through the machine. Some like to freeze lemon or lime juice into ice cubes then run the cubes through the disposal.
This helps keep the disposal smelling fresh. Before working on the inside of the Garbage Disposal Unit, make sure it is unplugged and remember to keep your hands away from the blades. Microwave citrus peels by placing them in a bowl filled with water with a cover.
When the water is at a boil remove the bowl and dump it into the drain. This spa treatment for disposals will leave it smelling nice and will also break up grease buildup.
In addition to keeping your Garbage Disposal Unit in tip top shape, it is also wise to add an additional warranty to the machine to cover it should the motor freeze or other connections fail. Replacement and repair bills can run high.
Our disposal is emitting clicking noises when we switch it on. What could it be?
Make sure the Garbage Disposal Unit is off including the power source. Remove the rubber ring at the drain’s top by pulling upward. Clean it with warm soapy water. Check the inside of the disposal using a flashlight to see if there are any bones, metal bits or hard plastic inside. This could be causing the clicking.
The motor is humming when the machine is turned on but the disposal doesn’t grind. What could it be? There is something jammed in the Garbage Disposal, and we can try to get it going with a disposal wrench that came with the unit. Turn it clockwise until it spins without jamming. If this doesn’t work, call a repair person.
We don’t know where the reset button is. What do we do? We check the bottom of the machine which is usually where the rest button is located. They are sometimes located on the side of the machine. If there is a problem with the disposal not running, we should check the rest button first.
Our disposal is experiencing frequent backups. What do we do? Locate the drain hole on the side of the disposal and clear it out.
The garbage disposal isn’t turning. What do we do? Put the disposal wrench in the center of the machine at the bottom and rotate it until the blades rotate. Hit the reset button and it should run.
What if we have missing screws? Go to a hardware store and purchase similar screws.
Do some garbage disposals have a breaker?
Yes, the breaker is located on our electrical panel. If they do not have a breaker connected to the disposal, they will have a reset button on the very bottom of the Garbage Disposal. Most homes have a GFI outlet linked to the disposal. If your disposal is often tripping breakers or GFI outlets we should consider that something is very wrong with the disposal, or we installed s unit with too much power!
What should we do if my disposal has loose blades? Most disposals make noise, but if the noise is particularly loud and clanging, the blades may be loose. The blades are held together by rivets on a spinning impeller plate.
If they become loose, the disposal has to be taken apart to reach the blades. Unless we have an expertise in disposal repair, it is best to call one or buy a new disposal.
History Of The Garbage Disposal
John H. Hammes, an architect from Wisconsin invented the Garbage Disposal in 1927. His first patent application was in 1933 and issued in 1934. Hammes then founded InSinkErator Company and began marketing his disposal in 1940. Interestingly, this is disputed by General Electric that claims they introduced the disposal in 1935 as the “Disposall”. Hammes’ claim is disputed, as General Electric introduced a Garbage Disposal Unit in 1935, known as the Disposall.
During the first year in business, InSinkErator Company manufactured only 52 disposals because most people were not very sure of the impact they would have on sewer and septic systems. After World War II, the disposal became more widely accepted and Hamme and company started facing competition from companies like KitchenAid, GE and Whirlpool. The InSinkErator company was bought by Emerson Electric Co. who has been manufacturing InSinkErator ever since. Despite the early competition from big-brand companies, the brand continues to be a leader.
During the 1930s and 40s, sewage systems were regulated and food waste was prohibited from entering into the system. The InSinkErator Company put a lot of effort into changing officials mind and prohibitions were lifted by many localities. Although New York City did not rescind the ban on garbage disposals until 1997 (amendment to 24:518.1.1 NYC Administration Code). In 2008, another ban was issued by Raleigh, NC for the installation and replacement of garbage disposals. This was quickly rescinded in one month’s time.
It is interesting to note that in the United Kingdom, homes with disposals are not very common, roughly 6%. Local UK authorities have gone so far as to offer subsidizes for disposal installation to help reduce waste delivered to landfills. Sweden also has areas that encourage using Garbage Disposal Unit in order to increase biogas created by organic material anaerobic breakdown. The United State has likewise had success in biosolids created by solids used for fertilizers and methane for gas.
Garbage Disposal Unit Best Practices
We really don’t notice our disposal until something goes very wrong with it and it stops working. In that frightful moment we rack our brains to understand why it’s making a clanging noise or violently vibrating or simple not making a single sound. We hate disposal surprises so read these best practice tips to keep our disposal happy and humming.
There is a “NO” list for what should never be put into a Garbage Disposal Unit. This list includes bones from beef, chicken, fish or fruit. What we can’t cut through, neither can a disposal.
Fibrous foods like corn husks, celery stalks, etc. will tangle up in the disposal and cause a jam. And, contrary to belief, egg shells do not sharpen disposal blades so don’t dare and try it. Pasta and rice tend to bloat and become sticky which can cause a clog by clumping in the drain trap. Another clogging mechanism is coffee grinds that stick to the disposal blades and become heavy and sludgy. Although a few coffee grounds here and there do help to keep the disposal clean. Keep silverware, plastic and glass bits out of harms way of the disposal because those items entering the unit can destroy it.
What we can say “YES” to is chunks and chopped up solid food. Don’t show large quantities down the garbage disposal because that is a jamming or clogging invite.
Cold water is a “yes” by running it before and after using the disposal because it will flush scraps in the right way and reduce the chance for odors. Mild soapy water is okay too. It cleans the machine and keeps it smelling fresh. Do not use bleach or strong detergents. Dirty disposal blades can’t say no ice cubes laced with vinegar, lemon or lime juice. Not only does this treat sharpen the blades but cleans them leaving a fresh scent.
Alternatives To Garbage Disposals
There are those who do not condone disposals because they are connected to the kitchen sink and grind food into small particles that can easily be flushed through the drain pipe. While disposals do reduce foul garbage odors and cut down on long dish cleanup time, they also increase the amount of solid waste in water treatment plants and introduce algae-causing particles into streams. More energy is needed to treat waste water and clean streams, so to some Garbage Disposal Unit aren’t the most environmentally friendly food disposal option for your kitchen. What are the alternatives?
An easy way to help reduce waste and an alternative to garbage disposals is to get rid of the need to have a disposal in our kitchen by cutting down on the food waste we create. We can prepare food in smaller quantities so if there are any leftovers, they will not rot away in our refrigerators.
If we put smaller amounts of food on our plate and eat it all, there won’t be as much food scraps to rinse off and this will greatly reduce the amount of prep food scraps. Try eating the peels on our vegetables and some fruits. Peels are loaded with fiber for digestion and vitamins for well being.
To support cutting down on waste and limiting trash in landfills we can start composting which is easy to create simply by mixing waste materials that are decomposing from our homes. We can turn these into plant enriching soil that is rich in nutrients.
To do this we can gather all our brown material like dead leaves, wood chips, branches, twigs, paper shreds, coffee filters, etc. that are all carbon producing. Then we will add bread products, eggshells and vegetable and fruit scraps that will help to produce nitrogen. Don’t put fatty meats, dairy products or pet waste in the compost.
The “green” material in your compost bin will encourage nitrogen production—thanks to the breakdown of things like fruit peels and cores, veggie scraps, tea and coffee grounds, grass and leave clippings, and even hair and lint from your dryer. Keep items like pet waste, fatty meats, eggs (shells are fine), dairy products, and oils out of your compost materials.
To encourage the breakdown of brown and green organic mixture in the compost, add water daily with a garden hose. We should set up our compost heap in a shady place in our backyard. The space should be about three feet wide, three feet deep and three feet high. Try to make the space near a hose for watering.
If we have a limited space for living and no year, we can compost using a worm bin as an alternative. This is called vermi composting. Earth worms and wigglers and other worm types eat our food waste and create a rich compost to fertilize household plants. You can purchase a kit or take a plastic container and cut holes in its lid, adding organic soil, straw and leaves to start. We may need dozens of worms to make for an efficient compost. This depends on how big our bin is and the waste we are producing. Worms can be purchased at a bait and tackle shop or on the Internet.
Those of us who have house pet can put them to good use for the sake of the environment by feeding them our food scraps. Cats and dogs live food scraps including bits of meat, pasta, vegetables and rice. We can also give fruit and vegetable bits to our kid’s guinea pig or hamster. If we are lucky and live on a farm with horses, goats, pigs, sheep, chickens and cows, they will certainly enjoy eating our food scraps. Just eliminate feeding meat to any farm animal. If we don’t live on a farm, we can save our food bits and give them of a nearby farm for animal feed. Just keep a lidded bucket on the porch and deliver it to a grateful farmer.
Yes, we know garbage disposals are great because all we have to do is drop food waste into them without clogging the sink. As an alternative, how about using a colander or strainer to collect our food scraps. Use a large colander for a lot of food and let the bits accumulate for a few days. Or purchase a strainer that is wire mesh and fits over the sink. After it is filled with scraps, take it out and add the waste to our compost.