Did you know garbage disposals originated with the name garbage disposer? The leading manufacturer of garbage disposers (InSinkErator) never used the term “disposal” in the past. They were worried about what homeowners would put down there, so they stuck with disposer – the original term for this appliance. Consumers and plumbers freely interchanged the two words, and now InSinkErator has switched to the term – disposal.
Some garbage disposals are made so well today that you can put virtually anything in them. The low-price disposals commonly found in new home construction do not have the features and the horsepower to be a catch-all. Builder model disposals are typically only 1/3 horsepower (HP), noisy, and do not grind well. If you have a clogged kitchen drain more than once per year, there is a good chance you have a cheap disposal.
When looking to replace or install a new garbage disposal, one-half HP is the minimum you should consider installing. Residential disposals also come in ¾ HP, 1 HP, and 1¼ HP. The larger the HP, the more features the unit will have. These features include the warranty length (up to 10 years for some models), grinding chamber size, grinding stages, and sound level.
If you have a stainless-steel sink, then, in essence, that is a megaphone for disposal noise. We recommend at least a ¾ HP or 1 HP Evolution model by InSinkErator. If disposal noise bothers you, then purchase the top-of-the-line disposal and a heavy cast iron kitchen sink. The combination of those two makes for a very quiet operation.
Nervous about accidentally dropping something down your kitchen drain? The batch feed disposal is for you. This unique model operates by inserting a plastic handle in the opening, which does not allow any other waste to enter. The turn of the handle is how the disposal engages, and that batch of garbage is ground. This is the safest disposal as nothing (like jewelry) can unexpectedly fall in once the plastic handle (the handle is called a “stopper” because it stops anything from being added – but it could be named a “starter” since it turns on the disposal). The batch feed disposal works well for island sink applications as there is no wall surface to install a traditional on/off switch.
An air switch, which looks like a button, can be installed in the countertop close to the sink where the disposal is. Air switches are convenient for both island sinks and traditional sink locations.
So, if this essential kitchen appliance can “dispose of all,” is there anything that should not be put in? Yes – items that could be sticky when wet, like a big glob of rice, coffee grounds, or eggshells. Leave beef and chicken bones for the big HP disposals.
If your garbage disposal has been giving you a headache or you’ve got a clogged drain, we’d be happy to have our expert plumbers help you out.