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Garbage disposals are a really useful appliance to have in your kitchen. Using a garbage disposal can cut down on the amount of garbage your family sends to a landfill, help keep things from getting stuck in the pipes, and makes washing dishes so much easier. Let’s get into a few of the most commonly asked questions about garbage disposals.

How do garbage disposals work?

When you flip the switch to activate your disposal, a small blade or plate in the grinding chamber starts spinning really fast. The plate has impellers that propel your food scraps to the walls of the grinding chamber. Once the scraps are ground into a fine enough size to safely enter the drainage pipes, they are removed from the chamber.

What size garbage disposal do I need?

Garbage disposals are sold based on the amount of horsepower. Common sizes include  1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1, and 2+ horsepower. How much power you need will vary based on how many people live with you, how often you plan on using it, what kind of food do you plan on grinding, etc.

As a general rule of thumb, the more frequent and heavy use, the more power you will want to have. I would also advise that you buy a little more power than you think you will need. It is always best to have more power than you need than to overwork an underpowered engine. The less hard the machine has to work, the less likely it is to burn out.

What’s the difference between continuous & batch feed?

The most common type of disposer for residential use is the continuous feed. This is because it is reliable and easy to use. Continuous feed disposals turn on and off using a wall switch. A batch feed requires a stopper over the mouth of the disposal in order to activate the power. This added security step helps to prevent items from accidentally falling into the disposal while it is in operation.

Do you need to run water when using a garbage disposal?

The short answer is absolutely. Water helps the disposal grind the food as well as work the scraps through the pipes. Cold water is best for when you are grinding scraps but hot water is great for cleaning.

Why is my garbage disposal making funny noises?

If your disposal is humming, buzzing, or not working, odds are it is clogged. You should be able to handle this repair yourself. The owner’s manual will have specific instructions for your model, but please remember to unplug the disposal before sticking your hand in it!

Can I use a disposal if I have a septic system?

Opinions vary but most experts agree that you shouldn’t. Food waste going into your septic system introduces another source of solid waste that may disturb the balance of your bacteria, and require you to have to pump the tank more frequently to empty it.

Who do I call to repair a disposal?

A plumber or general handyman should be able to help you with any disposal issues.If you have any other questions about installation, maintenance, or picking out the right garbage disposal for your home or office, don’t hesitate to contact your trusted plumbing contractor.