Town Appliance Official Blog

Home > Town Appliance Official Blog > Everything You Need to Know About Garbage Disposals

Everything You Need to Know About Garbage Disposals

If you're in the market for a garbage disposal, there are a few key things you need to know before making a purchase. Garbage disposals can be a game-changer in the kitchen, making it easy to dispose of food waste quickly and efficiently. But understanding how they work and how to maintain them is crucial to getting the most out of your investment. In this comprehensive guide to buying a garbage disposal, we'll cover everything from the basics of how they work to the different types available on the market. We'll also provide maintenance tips to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for years to come.

Understanding Garbage Disposal Basics

Before you buy a garbage disposal, it's important to understand how it works and what it consists of. A typical garbage disposal unit is installed under your kitchen sink and is connected to your sink's drain and your home's plumbing system. When you turn on the disposal, a motor spins the blades, which grind up food waste into small particles that can pass safely through your plumbing system. The two main components of a garbage disposal are the hopper chamber and the grinding chamber. The hopper chamber is where you put the food waste. Once you turn on the disposal, the waste is fed into the grinding chamber where the blades break down the waste into small pieces. Garbage disposals typically come in a range of sizes with varying horsepower motors. The size of the unit you choose will depend on your specific needs and the amount of food waste you expect to generate on a regular basis. When it comes to buying a garbage disposal, there are two main types: continuous feed and batch feed. Continuous feed disposals operate via a switch and allow you to grind waste continuously as long as the switch is on. Batch feed disposals, on the other hand, require you to load the waste into the hopper chamber and then manually activate the unit.

Types of Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals come in different types, and knowing the differences between them can help you make an informed purchase decision. Here are the most common types of garbage disposals:

  • Continuous Feed: This type of garbage disposal is the most popular and operates continuously as long as you turn it on. It is ideal for households that generate a lot of food waste daily and can quickly dispose of it.
  • Batch Feed: This garbage disposal only operates when you load food waste into the chamber and cover it with a lid. It is considered safer than continuous feed disposals, especially when you have children at home.
  • Horsepower: Garbage disposals come in varying horsepower, ranging from 1/3 HP to 1 HP. Higher horsepower means more grinding power and can handle tougher food waste more efficiently.

When buying a garbage disposal, consider the size of your household and your daily food waste output. A continuous feed garbage disposal is ideal if you generate a lot of food waste daily, whereas a batch feed disposal can be sufficient for a smaller household.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Garbage Disposal

Before making a purchase decision, there are several factors to consider when buying a garbage disposal.

  • Motor Power: The motor power determines the grinding ability of the garbage disposal. A higher horsepower garbage disposal can handle tougher food waste.
  • Noise Levels: Garbage disposals can be noisy. Look for models with insulation or soundproofing technology if noise is a concern for you.
  • Durability: A higher quality garbage disposal will last longer and require less maintenance than a cheaper model. Look for models with stainless steel grinding components.
  • Warranty: Check the warranty before making a purchase. A longer warranty period suggests a more reliable product.

Remember to assess your personal needs and preferences before selecting a garbage disposal. Factors such as budget, frequency of use, and plumbing setup should also be taken into consideration when buying a garbage disposal.

Installing a Garbage Disposal

Installing a garbage disposal may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and guidance, it can be a straightforward process. Follow these steps to install your new garbage disposal:

  • Turn off the power to your kitchen at the circuit breaker.
  • Disconnect your old sink strainer and remove any excess putty or caulking.
  • Install the mounting assembly onto the sink flange and hand-tighten the screws.
  • Connect the wires according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Attach your new garbage disposal to the mounting assembly and tighten the screws securely.
  • Connect the discharge pipe and dishwasher hose to the disposal unit.
  • Turn on the power and test the garbage disposal.

Remember to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before installing your new garbage disposal. If you are unsure about any aspect of the installation process, seek professional help, as we would always advise at Town Appliance.

Maintenance Tips for Garbage Disposals

Proper maintenance of your garbage disposal is essential for its longevity. Here are some tips to keep your garbage disposal in excellent condition:

  • Run cold water: Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Cold water helps solidify any grease or oil, making it easier for the disposal to chop it up.
  • Use dish soap: Pour a few drops of dish soap down the disposal before turning it on. The soap helps break down any leftover food particles and grease.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Do not use harsh chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaner to clean your garbage disposal. These chemicals can damage the disposal's blades and pipes.
  • Clean regularly: Clean your garbage disposal once a week by grinding up a few ice cubes and a handful of rock salt. The ice cubes help sharpen the blades while the salt acts as a natural abrasive to clean the disposal.
  • Don't overload: Avoid overloading your garbage disposal with large amounts of food waste. Instead, feed small amounts of food waste at a time to prevent clogs and keep the disposal running smoothly.
  • Use citrus: Grinding up citrus fruits like lemons or oranges can help eliminate any unpleasant odors from your garbage disposal.

Disposing of Different Types of Waste

When you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, it's important to know what you can and cannot dispose of in it. While a garbage disposal can handle most food waste, there are a few items you should avoid grinding up.

The following items should not be disposed of in a garbage disposal:

  • Grease, oil, or fat.
  • Bones, shells, or pits.
  • Fruit stickers or produce labels.
  • Coffee grounds.
  • Eggshells.
  • Pasta, rice, or other starchy foods.
  • Fibrous foods, such as celery or corn husks.

While it may be tempting to dispose of all your food waste in the garbage disposal, it's essential to be mindful of what you're putting down. These items can damage your garbage disposal or cause blockages in your pipes. If you have any doubt about an item, it's best to dispose of it in the trash or compost bin instead.

Garbage Disposals and Environmental Impact

Garbage disposals not only make your life easier but also have a positive impact on the environment. Landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and groundwater pollution. When food waste decomposes, it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Landfills also pose a risk of groundwater contamination, which can affect the health of nearby communities. Using a garbage disposal diverts organic waste from landfills and reduces methane emissions. Wastewater treatment facilities can capture the methane produced during the treatment process and use it as a renewable energy source. When buying a garbage disposal, look for models that are energy-efficient and have a low water consumption rate. These features can further reduce their environmental impact. 

  • Choose a model that has a high motor power to ensure efficient grinding and reduce the amount of time the disposal is in use.
  • Avoid grinding items that are not suitable for disposal, such as plastic, glass, and metal, as they can damage the disposal and harm the environment.
  • Regularly maintain your garbage disposal to ensure it runs efficiently and avoid clogs that can lead to waste buildup in pipes and wastewater treatment facilities.

Remember that small changes, such as using a garbage disposal, can have a significant impact on the environment.

Navigating the world of garbage disposals becomes seamless with insights from this comprehensive guide, and whatever you opt for, at Town Appliance we offer a range of reliable options. Proper installation and regular maintenance are key to maximizing the lifespan of your disposal. Discover the convenience and environmental benefits of using a garbage disposal, available here at Town Appliance. Make an informed choice, and elevate your kitchen experience with an efficient waste management solution.