Garbage Disposals: Everything You Should Know

There is a lot of mystery surrounding garbage disposals. Not a lot of people are aware of the proper use and what should and should not be put down them. If you find yourself having questions surrounding garbage disposals, you are in the right place.

Proper Use of a Garbage Disposal

The key to proper use of a garbage disposal is:

  1. Running plenty of water
  2. Turn on the garbage disposal
  3. Put the food in last

The food should not be going down the disposal before flipping the switch. We like to tell our customers to run the water for about 1 minute longer than you would have originally thought to turn it off.

Like most motors, the more they run the longer they will last. This means that even if you do not have food waste, still turn on the garbage disposal with water and let it run at least once a day.

What NOT to put down the Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal leads to a drain. Yes, it grinds up food but that does not mean that just anything should be going down them. To avoid ruining your garbage disposal and clogging drains, avoid putting the following items down the garbage disposal.

  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg Shells
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Rice
  • Starchy foods
  • Pasta
  • Medication
  • Chemicals

What CAN You put down the Garbage Disposal?

Here is a list of what should be going through the garbage disposal.

  • Soft foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Ice
  • liquids
  • Most veggies

These items are easy to grind up and have a low chance of clogging your drains. Remember to run plenty of water!

Garbage Disposal Not Working?

A common problem people have is that the garbage disposal stops grinding and starts to hum. Before you decide to call a plumber try these two steps.

  1. Turn the garbage disposal off and find the reset button. You can find this button on the garbage disposal under the sink. A lot of the time, this is the issue.

If this does not work try…

2. Look in the owners manual. High grade garbage disposals come with a tool and directions to fix a jam with auto reverse. Take a quick look and follow the instructions to see if yours has this feature.

If your garbage disposal is still not working, go ahead and call a licensed plumber. If you are in the surrounding Indianapolis, IN area call 317-243-3581 to have one of B&W’s plumbers come solve the problem for you!

What to Look for in a Garbage Disposal

There are a few categories to look for in a garbage disposal. Horsepower, sound, grindability, durability, Jam and warranty.

Horsepower: The more horse power, the better the garbage disposal will grind the food waste. Here at B&W, we recommend at least 1/2 horse power.

Sound: The less insulation within the garbage disposal, the cheaper it is and the louder it will be. Cheap garbage disposal can be so loud that two people will not be able to have a conversation in the same room.

Grindability: It is important that garbage disposals have powerful grinding capabilities to grind the food up finely so it can go down the drain without clogging it up. The best models will have power grinding of 2 or 3 to grind food waste to a fine pulp.

Durability: It is best to choose a model that uses stainless steal. These may be pricier, but cheaper models use pot metal or galvanized steel that tend to rust and pit easier. Spending more money up front will save money in the long run because they will have a longer lifespan.

Jam: In cheaper models, the grind blades only go in one direction. This causes issues when there is a jam because there is no way to reverse the direction of the blades to get it unjammed. The higher end models come with auto reverse and a tool that comes with it to fix a jam.

Warranty: Look for a garbage disposal with a 4-10 year warranty. The less expensive models will typically have less of a warranty because of their inability to last as long.

If you are looking at what garbage disposal would be best for you, here is a great source to look at to compare specs of different types. Call B&W Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical at (317) 243- 3581 or go to our website to book a service regarding a garbage disposal repair or installation.