Invented in 1927, the garbage disposal has become a mainstay of many kitchens around the country. Approximately 50% of homes in the U.S. now have a garbage disposal. Today, we’ll take a deep dive into all things garbage disposal. These include how they work, why you need one, and how to keep yours in good condition.

Our team at Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co. wants to help to make your dream kitchen a reality, whether you’re located in Chicago or beyond. Check out even more tips and advice for upgrading your kitchen on our blog.

How a Garbage Disposal Works

Many believe that garbage disposals have spinning blades inside the drain of your kitchen sink. We’ve all feared somehow putting our hand into a running disposal. There are actually no blades inside a garbage disposal. There are spinning metal teeth called “impellers.” These are blunt and help grind up food by throwing it against the corrugated walls. This allows the rinsing down the drain of the small pieces with water.

Of course, we’re not stating that you wouldn’t find yourself with a hand injury in the case of a freak accident. Blunt force trauma might be the cause rather than the clean slicing many of us envision.

The Two Types of Garbage Disposals

There are two main types of garbage disposals: continuous-feed disposals and batch-feed disposals. Continuous-feed disposals are the most common. You activate these by flipping a switch and allowing the disposal to grind food scraps. You’re able to insert these scraps while the water runs freely.

Batch-feed disposals are less common. Many consider these disposals to be safer because of their design. You can insert scraps in batches, and the disposal only runs once you’ve put the cover on the opening. However, there are some drawbacks to batch-feed disposals. Namely, they aren’t as quick and effortless to use as a continuous-feed disposal. Also, they’re more expensive upfront. This means that your choice will depend on your kitchen habits and what you’re looking for.

The Benefits of a Garbage Disposal

There are many benefits to having a garbage disposal. Statistics show that food waste makes up 20% of landfills. By using a garbage disposal, you can reduce the amount of food waste that you produce. You can avoid putting food scraps into the trash. Instead, you can grind them in your disposal and put them through the water system. This way, you contribute less waste to landfills. An added benefit is reducing the amount of trash bags you’ll need to buy and use.

On a much simpler level, garbage disposals make kitchen clean-up much easier and quicker. On top of the practical and environmental benefits, disposals also decrease your chances of getting clogs in your pipes and needing to pay for expensive repairs.

The Average Costs of Buying and Installing a Garbage Disposal

The average cost of buying and installing a new garbage disposal is $400-$500. In reality, this number can range anywhere from $150 to $950. It’ll ultimately depend on the type of disposal you choose and the labor you hire. Also, some brands are more expensive than others. Waste King is the most affordable, and KitchenAid is the costliest. So it’s worth comparing brands to see what could be a good fit for your needs and budget.

Continuous-feed disposals are cheaper to buy, but they’re more expensive to install. This is because the installation involves some electrical tasks. In contrast, batch-feed disposals are more expensive upfront but much easier and more affordable to install. Disposals last about 10 years if they don’t experience mechanical issues or breakage. At that point, it’s more cost-effective to replace the disposal rather than repair it.

Tips for Maintaining and Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Taking care of your garbage disposal and only discarding food scraps it can handle ensures that your disposal can last as long as possible. For continuous-feed disposals, be sure to keep cold water running before, after, and during the time you have your disposal turned on.

Some disposals can handle tougher food scraps than others. You should be aware of what you can safely discard. In general, you shouldn’t put bones, fruit pits, or gristle into your garbage disposal. Avoid pouring fats or grease down the drain as well, as these substances can clog your pipes. Don’t use chemical cleaners to clean your disposal; they can damage the mechanical parts. Instead, grind salt, ice cubes, and lemon peels about once a month.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

It’s common for garbage disposals to sometimes clog your sink. Is your sink beginning to fill with water, or does it not seem to drain as quickly as usual? In that case, try turning on your disposal to grind and discard any leftover scraps trapped inside. Is your disposal starting to develop an odor? In this case, you may have food trapped, or your disposal is in need of cleaning. To help reduce odors, you can try cleaning your disposal with baking soda and vinegar.

Upgrade Your Kitchen With Allied Plumbing & Heating

You should buy and install a garbage disposal in your home for many worthwhile reasons. Are you looking for a way to add convenience to your everyday cooking? Or do you wish to improve your impact on the environment? For any of these reasons, installing a new garbage disposal doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of accessible and affordable options available to help you to create the kitchen of your dreams.

At Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., we provide a range of plumbing and heating products. We’ve been family-owned and operated for over 30 years, serving Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding areas. We supply plenty of styles of faucets, sinks, bathtubs, and more to fit your vision. We also provide high-quality repair and replacement services by our expert contractors. Are you looking to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom? If you are, don’t hesitate to contact us today via our website. You can also call 773-777-2670 for more information.

Photo Credit: Image by Marek Studzinski is licensed with Unsplash License