Grind More. Hear Less.
It may not be the fanciest gadget in your kitchen, but your humble garbage disposer plays a large role in keeping your kitchen clean from food odors and bacteria. In the 1970s and 1980s they were considered a “modern convenience” for the affluent, but today nearly half the homes in America have one.
Whether you’re building a new home or replacing an existing model, consider these factors before disposing your cash for a sub-par garbage disposer:
- Plumbing system compatibility. See if your plumbing and sewer hookups are compatible with a disposer and if so, what kind. Also, some municipalities have banned dispensers. Make sure your city and your neighborhood allow disposer use.
- The type of garbage disposal. There are two common types of garbage disposers. A continuous feed model will run as long as you leave the switch on. Batch feed models only run when the disposer cover is in place, allowing you to dispose of a limited amount of food at a time. Continuous feed models are the most common. They allow for disposal of more waste at one time.
- The power of the garbage disposal. Disposers range from one-fourth horsepower motors to one horsepower motors. The amount of horsepower has the largest impact on cost. Think about the size of your household and how much waste you’ll be disposing before investing in a high-horsepower model.
- Dishwasher drain connection. This allows food particles in the dishwasher to be ground up and flushed out through the disposal system.
- Disposer materials. Disposers with stainless steel components help prevent corrosion. If you’re building a new home or want to delay future repairs, consider investing in one of these longer-lasting disposers.
- Noise level. Disposers have the potential to be extremely loud. Consider the environment you want in and around the kitchen. Low-volume disposers are available but they generally cost more. If noise isn’t an issue, save money with a louder model.
The Care and Feeding of Your Garbage Disposal.
Garbage disposals are designed to last only about 10 years. But here’s information on how you can forestall its inevitable demise! There are a number of events that signal the end of a garbage disposal. Here’s one of the more common: it rusts out on the bottom, and water starts spewing underneath your sink and onto the kitchen floor every time you turn it on.
Can rust be avoided in the first place? Absolutely, and simply by running the disposal every time you put food in it. Otherwise, the acid and oils from standing food will eventually eat through the seals. Also, when you run the disposal, always use cold water. Hot water dissolves fats and grease, but then it deposits it in your drainpipes where it accumulates before eventually causing a clog.
Here are some additional tips for maintaining your disposal:
- Run cold water for 30 seconds or more after turning the disposal off to thoroughly wash ground-up food down the drain.
- You can grind almost any food waste, but don’t try to grind really fibrous foods like onion skins, celery stalks or asparagus. On the other hand, grinding ice and eggshells can actually help clean the disposal.
- If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset as necessary. Also check to see if the overload switch has tripped. Find the reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit and push it.
- If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller, and that’s a repairable problem.
- If the disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper may be defective…if so, you’ll need to have it replaced.
- A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust. The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can readily be tightened.
- How about that all-too-familiar racket a garbage disposal can sometimes make? When you hear it, chances are you’re trying to grind up something your disposal wishes you wouldn’t. The result could be a damaged blade, impeller or motor. But don’t be too quick to repair, since it’s highly likely that it would cost less to replace.
Bottom line, once a disposal stops doing a good job of grinding, or starts to leak, that’s usually the ball game. Give it a little loving care, however, and you might get a few extra innings.
For those times when repairs are necessary, our certified plumbing technicians can get the job done quickly and efficiently!