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7 Things to Know Before Getting a Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal unit under your sink may be one of the busiest machines in your home.

As one eats, one inadvertently leaves wastes that make their way toward the pipes. The garbage disposer prevents the clogging of these pipes by breaking down solid food particles through its grinding chamber.

image - 7 Things to Know Before Getting a Garbage Disposal
7 Things to Know Before Getting a Garbage Disposal

Having a garbage disposal unit at home is a very attractive proposition. It reduces odor and minimizes the volume of trash homeowners have to deal with on a regular basis.

Before having one installed in your kitchen, there are things you need to know about these helpful machines.

1. What Is a Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposers have been around for decades and were invented in 1927 by an architect named John Hammes.

These days, it seems that no kitchen is ever complete without it. You’ll never miss this small or big machine that’s attached to the underside of your kitchen sink.

2. How Does It Work?

When you’re done eating, all you have to do is scrape the particles off the plate of the disposer.

Once you turn on the unit, the disc spins swiftly and forces the food items toward the grinding chamber, where it’s broken down to the finest bits.

These tiny pieces are then washed away as you wash your dishes.

One of the keys to maintaining your garbage disposal properly is to keep the interior blades sharp by placing ice cubes and rock salt regularly.

3. Disposers Have Two Basic Types

Garbage disposal units come either as a continuous feed or batch feed type. Between the two, the former is easier to use and the more preferred kind.

The continuous feed garbage disposer is typically operated by a switch and has a wide opening.

A batch feed-type unit requires the user to place the food waste into the chamber and close the lid before the grinder does its job.


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4. Garbage Disposal Units Have Diverse Motor Capacities

A garbage disposer’s main feature drawer is the size of its motor. Home kitchens generally have these units with capacities ranging from 1/3 to 1 horsepower (HP). Here’s an idea of how each unit fares:

  • Garbage disposers with 1/3 HP, as their name implies, possess the lowest capacity so it may be perfect for smaller families and occasional use. Because they’re the cheapest in the lot, they may be prone to jamming and rusting.
  • Units with ½ HP are recommended for residential use. They work best for kitchens with tight spaces and are typically better than their less powerful counterpart. These can be prone to getting overworked, too, so for your garbage disposal live longer, don’t use it all the time. Make sure to run it with water thoroughly.
  • Disposal units with ¾ HP are the most ideal for your homes, though. These have enough power to tackle common food items, fruit, as well as vegetable peels. With enough power, they’re less prone to jamming and can be used more frequently. The only downside is they require more space on your sink’s underside.
  • One HP-powered machine has heavy-duty grinders, perfect if you’re often faced with high demands of breaking down bones and bigger fruit or vegetable seeds. These types can bring you the most value for your money, even if they’re pricier upfront than the others. Some high-end units with this capacity may be quieter than their lower-powered counterparts.

5. Other Features to Look At

image - Other Features to Look At

Apart from the motor size, a prospective garbage disposal unit owner should look at the following features before getting the best unit:

  • Brand reputation: Look for brands that consistently churn out high-quality plumbing materials and fixtures.
  • Warranty coverage: Units typically carry a three to five-year warranty. Some units’ coverage can extend up to 10 years, though.
  • Materials: In most cases, a stainless-steel disk and grinding chamber are better than plastic or other materials.

6. How Can You Make Your Garbage Disposer Last?

The key to preventing problems with your unit is cleaning your garbage disposal properly.

Warm soapy water, vinegar, sponge, and baking soda are a few of the materials you’ll need to stock up on.

Apart from proper cleaning, it’s best not to place specific items in the garbage disposal such as grease, oil, and hard objects.

Regular maintenance checks with a plumber can be done to spot potential problems down the road.

7. Garbage Disposal Unit Costs

Online sources estimate that the cost for a garbage disposer unit and installation could run anywhere from USD$185 to USD$379.

To illustrate, the cost for a 1/3 HP unit can be as high as USD$89, while a one-HP machine can be had at USD$132 to USD$332.

Installation, on the other hand, can cost a homeowner at least USD$80, depending on the rates of the plumber.

The Bottom Line

Getting a new garbage disposal unit requires knowing the essential features such as power, cost, raw materials, and warranty. Once you’re settled with the capacity and the basic must-haves, you can start shopping to snag the best unit.


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