Garbage Disposal Comparison
Garbage Disposal Buying Guide
What is a Garbage Disposal?
When it comes to finding the perfect disposal for your home, there are a number of considerations to think about, such as price, size, power, durability, and style. It can seem quite daunting at first when you’re trying to choose the right one, but with the correct frame of mind, it’s quite easy to narrow it down to a few models that might be your solution.
History of Garbage Disposers
Invented in 1927, the garbage disposal has a unique and interesting history that most people don’t know about. A man named John W. Hammes is the one responsible for the discovery. He was an architect working in Racine, Wisconsin, and when he created the essential kitchen device it was patented in 1933, backed by his InSinkEratorcompany, and finally put on the market in 1940. There was some contention, however, as General Electric put their own version on the market in 1940, and still claim that the invention is theirs.
There were strict regulations in the 1940s which prohibited putting food waste down the drain, as per the rules of the municipal sewage system. With the considerable effort of InSinkErator, they were able to convince many localities to lift their prohibitions to allow for the use of their handy invention. Towns across the country began to lift their bans, except for New York City which believed that placing food down the drain posed a threat to the city’s sewer system. After an extensive 21 month study the NYC Department of Environmental Protection rescinded their ban in 1997.
Today garbage disposers are universally accepted across the country, but have not grown in popularity to such an extent around the world. Perhaps the only town to still be uncomfortable with disposers is Raleigh, North Carolina, which attempted to ban the devices in 2008, but lifted this ban one month later. In reality, not only do disposals not pose a threat to sewage systems, they’re actually great for the environment and making working and cleaning in the kitchen easier than ever.
How to Get Started With Your Garbage Disposer
- Efficiency: Garbage disposals create an efficient link between the demands of convenience and conservation by expertly grinding up kitchen scraps and then releasing them down the drain, and finally to a sewage-treatment plant or septic system. It is here when decomposition will take place. Studies have shown that some systems grind more finely and quickly than others, and are better for preventing jams.
- Eliminating Pests: Using a garbage disposal system in your home is perfect for discouraging bugs in your kitchen environment as well as other pests. Not only that, but a quality disposal will shift food waste from landfills to wastewater systems, thus being more healthy for the environment of the planet, and the environment of your kitchen.
- Saving Money in Communities: Disposals are quickly becoming mandatory in some towns across America because they’re a more efficient means of waste removal, and since many towns charge for waste removal, having a disposal saves overall costs.
- Saving Time in the Kitchen: If you’re someone who loves to cook, you know how many ingredients go to waste. The majority of the waste that a household produces comes from excess food, and that’s why it saves families and individuals so much time to be able to get rid of this waste at the touch of a button.
Choosing the Right Disposer
There are four basic questions that you should answer before selecting the proper disposal for your home.
Is a garbage disposal the right choice in your area?
This is the first question that you should ask yourself. If you utilize a municipal sewer system, you must call your local sewer authority to figure out if their disposal policy will permit you to have one. There are some towns that will require that you have a permit to purchase one, and there are others that will discourage their use due to a limited water and sewer capacity in the municipality.
Do You have a big enough septic tank?
Another important question that you should ask yourself is whether or not your septic tank is big enough. Some towns will even require that you upgrade your septic tank if you want to purchase a garbage disposal. Consult with your local building inspector or environmental health official to see what your local rules are. Keep in mind that you may need to empty your existing tank more frequently once you purchase a disposal.
Is the extra water that is required worth it to have a disposal?
When you factor that you’re using 2.5 gallons of water per minute for most faucets, or 800 gallons a year, using a garbage disposal will increase your water use. This may potentially increase your water bill, and so if you live in a drought area you may want to first question your use of a disposal.
Is your plumbing strong enough?
If you experience frequent clogs and backups in your plumbing system, then you may want to second guess your use of a garbage disposal. The added waste that comes from a disposal may over-burden your system even more. If you have a troublesome septic tank, then be sure to have it fixed, emptied, or enlarged before installing a disposal.
Types of Garbage Disposals
The truth of the matter is that most garbage disposals are quite similar, and in fact, the majority of them are made by the same company but just have different brand names. For instance, InSinkErator makes a vast majority of the garbage disposals that you find on the market. That being said, there are two basic types of disposal to choose from.
- Pros: These are the disposals that are the easiest to use, because you can push in new waste as the old waste is being ground up. This simultaneous action makes the process of washing food down the drain much easier.
- Cons: The open filter necks of these disposals pose a greater risk to those with small hands, and it’s possible for bone shards and other scraps to fly out of the disposal. Should you choose to purchase this model you’ll need to have an electrician hard-wire and mount the power switch, as these are not corded. You want to also be sure to hold the supplied stopper at an angle over the drain when the disposal is in operation, as this acts as a shield.
- Pros: This model requires that you load the waste into the drain before turning on the blades. The stopper is used to keep food in and keep fingers out, making this the safest disposal that you can buy. That’s why families who have children often opt to have this version of disposal as a precaution. The batch-feed can also conveniently plug into an outlet.
- Cons: The only downside to this model is that you cannot continuously load food into it, and therefore have to go one batch at a time. This takes more time.
Choosing a disposal based upon its features is tricky business, as researchers have found that models with the most features are not necessarily the most durable. Also, some models with fewer features and shorter warranties actually cost more than their similar counterparts. In general, you can expect a home disposal to last you about 10-12 years. Keep in mind that just because a disposal has a longer warranty does not mean that it will have a longer life. Here are some key features that you should consider when purchasing a disposal:
- Electric Cord: This allows the machine to be used with switched outlets. Those that don’t have a cord will need to be hard-wired by an electrician.
- Auto-Reverse Mode: This mode will help the disposal’s spinning blades to clear jammed waste, which is one of the biggest challenges that disposals face. There are even models that have a “Jaminator”, or blade-oscillating feature for clearing.
- Horsepower Ratings: Even the most basic disposal will have a power of about 1.2-hp to the motor, and this means they can handle bones and softer waste such as corn kernels and carrots. However, if your kitchen waste tends to be tougher than this, you need a more powerful motor at a rating of 3/4 hp to 1 hp. This more powerful rating will reduce the incidence of clogging and other plumbing problems.
- Quick-Mount Neck: Many models of disposal today will have a quick-mount neck that allows you to install it yourself with ease. However, keep in mind that most 3/4 hp and 1 hp models can weigh anywhere from 16 to 30 pounds, and therefore they’re too heavy to install by one person alone.
- Safety Cover: Most InSinkErator models will have a safety cover, which prevents the unit from being turned on unless the cover is in place. This is a great option for families with young children.
- Stainless-Steel Grinding Chamber: These chambers are said to increase durability, but tests have also shown that these can be easily damaged by bones and other tough materials that come in contact with it. That means that these do not guarantee a longer shelf-life for your
- Warranty: Most disposals come with a warranty, and these can range in length from 1 year to 10 years, dependent upon the brand. Keep in mind that a longer warranty doesn’t necessarily guarantee a longer life or better performance. A longer warranty can also really add to the price of the device.
Tips for Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal
Lets be honest, a quality garbage disposal does wonders for any kitchen, but there’s nothing more frustrating than a stinky disposal. Here are the very best tips for keeping your disposal fresh year-round, especially after massive food assaults around the holidays.
- Embrace the Power of Citrus: Anyone whose mother owned a garbage disposal learned this trick early-on, but if you weren’t given the tip, then now’s the time to learn. Whenever you have leftover lemons or oranges from cooking or juicing, be sure to use those peels in your disposal for a fresh citrus infusion. Simply place the pieces into the drain, run some water through the peels, turn on the disposal, and smell the amazing fragrance that results. The fresh scent can cut through anything, even if you’re getting a fishy or eggy smell from the drain.
- Ice Cubes: This is another simple method for freshening up your drain. Simply place a handful of cubes into the disposal, turn on the water, and let it run for about a minute or two. This will remove all the excess gunk from the blades, as well as odor-causing food particles that may be lurking there. Another variation of this practice is to freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and perform the same method.
- The Volcano Method: The Volcano Method is otherwise known as the baking soda and vinegar method. Simply sprinkle some baking soda down the disposal, then pour some vinegar down as well. Allow these two ingredients to foam and bubble, and let the mixture sit there for 5-10 minutes before running some hot water down the drain, thereby flushing everything out. Baking soda and vinegar are marvelous cleaners and deodorizers that are safe to use in the kitchen, and incredibly effective.
Garbage disposals have quite a unique history, but time has proved that they’re an amazing alternative to trashing food waste, and are great for both the kitchen environment and the natural environment of our planet. There are many models to choose from, but these share more similarities than differences, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find a model that works perfectly in your home.
There are a number of things you should consider before purchasing one, including what your local regulations regarding garbage disposals are, how much water you’re willing to use if you live in an area that suffers from drought, and what your safety considerations are. Once you deal with these basic issues, you’re well on your way to finding the right system. Determine how much power you need, how much food you generally put down the drain, and whether you want a model that you install yourself or not.
There are so many features that come with these various devices, but some of them just might not be right for you. Do your research, read lots of reviews, and find the simple solution that has proved time and again to be the answer when it comes to longevity, power and performance.
Lastly, as is always advised with any kitchen device, do be sure to read the manual fully before installing, using, and cleaning your disposal. If you want to get the most out of the system, you have to understand it fully, and know what the best methods are for taking care of it. After you do your research, you can finally enjoy a cleaner and more efficient kitchen environment that is safe for the whole family.