TO HELP OUR CLIENTS…
Garbage disposals decrease the amount of garbage in landfills. Since they eliminate garbage immediately, insects, rodents, and other pests are less likely to visit your garbage cans. This information sheet is designed to help you make an informed decision about selecting a disposal. Popham also encourages you to visit local business resources such as King’s Great Buys Plus and Lensing Home Consultants to learn more and to view products in person. Additionally, you may enjoy researching the websites at the bottom of this page. Popham does not endorse specific resources, but only offers them as a convenient source of information.
A garbage disposal unit is a device, usually electrically powered, installed under a kitchen sink between the sink’s drain and the trap which shreds food waste into pieces small enough to pass through plumbing to the municipal waste water facility. There are also models made especially for use with septic tanks.
Types of Disposals
- Continuous-Feed Models
- Pros: These garbage disposals are easiest to use since you can push new waste in as the old waste is ground up and washed down the drain.
- Cons: Their open filler necks pose a greater risk to small hands and can allow bone shards and other scraps to fly out. You should hold the supplied stopper at an angle over the drain as a shield while it’s running.
- Safety option: A safety wall power switch can be installed so that the disposal only runs as the switch is being pushed instead of the traditional wall switch that turns either off or on.
- Batch-Feed Models
- Pros: These require you to load them with waste before turning down the stopper to activate the blades.
- Cons: These tend to cost more and can require more time to get the job done.
- Safety: Because the stopper keeps food in and fingers out, batch-feed models are generally safest, especially for families with kids.
- POWER IS IMPORTANT – Find out what materials a model can grind. Some excel at grinding stringy vegetables while others are better at grinding bones. Disposals come in a range of motor sizes including 1/3 HP, 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP, and 1 HP. If you’re grinding only soft foods like vegetables, then 1/3 to 1/2 HP is fine. But paying a bit more for a 3/4 to 1 HP motor will provide you fewer jams and smoother operation. You will also get finer pulverization of the food waste which means less clogged drain lines and less stress on the waste-water system. The revolutions per minute (RPM) of the blades are definitive when it comes to grinding ability. Although 1,400 RPM may be good enough for fruit and veggies, you will most likely need to upgrade to a faster induction motor for stubborn bones, coffee grounds, and seeds. Some of the top units reach speeds of 1,800 RPM, but keep in mind that energy cost and water usage varies depending on the model.
- NOISE LEVEL – Disposals are generally noisy, but some models offer sound shielding and anti-vibration features. It’s helpful to visit a local store for a demonstration.
- SAFETY – Some safety issues apply to certain types of disposals as indicated in the first column of this sheet. An important feature of either type is overload protection that will turn off the motor if it begins to overheat. The electrical reset button will pop out and turn off the unit. Another option to choose is an auto-reverse feature to prevent jamming. Select a unit with a flywheel turning wrench hole in the bottom so you can manually turn the disposal’s grinding flywheel if there is a jam.
- WARRANTIES – Warranties can vary greatly, so avoid models with only a one-year warranty. Always read the warranty before any purchase.