Garbage disposals are a convenient way to dispose of kitchen scraps and prevent the annoyance of clogged kitchen drains due to food scrap accumulation. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best garbage disposal for your home. First and foremost, what size of disposal will fit under your sink? If safety is an issue, consider a batch fed model over a continuous feed, which activates on insertion of a special stopper rather than with a wall switch.
These aren’t the only factors, however. In comparing specs to choose the best garbage disposal for your home, be sure to consider horsepower, quality of parts, noise level, and warranty as well. Some of the best reviewed disposal options available today include:
- Waste King Legend 8000 1 Horsepower Disposer
The best garbage disposal for grinding beef bones and vegetables, such as stringy celery, without clogging. A removable splashguard makes this disposal easy to unblock in the event of an obstruction. According to owners, this disposal is quiet and easy to install, dropping in without screws or plumber’s putty on stainless steel sinks. This unit, with its stainless steel grinding components, also offers a lifetime warranty and in-home service and replacement. Be sure to measure for space before purchasing this disposal, as it is large, measuring 16.1 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide.
- KitchenAid Superba KCDS075T
If you are looking for something quiet, this is the best garbage disposal for you. Among the quietest models tested, possibly in part to a slower grinding speed than some models, this disposal still grinds comparably when disposing of meat bones and vegetables. It is smaller than the Waste King Legend, 12.75 by 9 inches, and was also found by consumers to be easy to install. Warranty coverage is 5 years, and it doesn’t provide in-home service.
- Waste King Legend 2600 1/2 Horsepower Disposer
This is the best garbage disposal for those that don’t often grind hard foods and are looking for a more inexpensive disposal. It is a good solution for cramped under sink spaces as well, though jamming is more of a concern due to the lower horsepower of this system. It offers similar features to the Waste King Legend 8000 for about half the cost. It also has stainless steel grinding components and a 5 year, in-home warranty.
- KitchenAid 1/2 Horsepower Continuous Feed Disposer KCDB250G
The best garbage disposal for those working with tight spaces, this system measures 11.4 by 6.7 inches, is inexpensive, and gets good reviews from consumers. Grinding blades are galvanized steel rather than stainless, and the one year warranty doesn’t compare to the Waste King Legend 2600.
- InSinkErator Evolution Cover Control 3/4 Horsepower Disposer
If safety, quiet operation, and longevity win out over pricing, this is the best garbage disposal for you. It grinds meat and bones as quickly as more powerful disposals with less noise. This disposal will not activate until a magnetic cover is placed on the drain, making it a great system for families with small children. This system also offers stainless steel components and a 7 year in-home warranty.
If your old garbage disposal is wearing down, then you’re going to have to go out and purchase a new one. However, don’t feel like you have to hire someone else to remove your old garbage disposal and install a garbage disposal for you. Installing the garbage disposal by yourself is not as difficult as it might sound.
Getting a New Garbage Disposal
The first thing you need to do is to find a replacement for your old garbage disposal. When looking for new garbage disposal units, consider who will be using it, whether the noise is going to be an issue and what type of plumbing your home has. If there are children in the household, you may want to consider purchasing a batch feed disposal. A batch feed disposal requires a stopper to be used prior to operation, which is safer than a continuous feed disposal that uses a switch that turns the disposal on until you switch it off. As far as motors go, it depends on how big your household is. Lower horsepower is more suitable for households that produce a small amount of waste. You can also purchase a disposal that is made especially for septic tanks if your plumbing connects to a septic tank.
Removing the Old Garbage Disposal
If your garbage disposal is attached to your dishwasher, the first thing you should do is to detach the dishwasher hose using a screwdriver. You’ll then want to use a wrench to remove the “P” trap waste line that runs from the disposal by unscrewing the slip-nut that connects the disposal to the trap. There might be some waste-water sitting in the bottom of the trap, so be sure to place a bucket underneath while doing this. Then insert the screwdriver into the mounting ring lung and turn until it is loose in order to remove the disposal. Once the disposal unit is out, remove the sink sleeve’s ring, the sink sleeve, the fiber gasket and finally the plumber’s putty. Clean the sleeve, sink opening and flange to prepare the sink for your new garbage disposal.
Installing the Garbage Disposal
Now it’s time to install the new garbage disposal. Most disposals come with appliance wires attached. If yours does not, then remove the cover plate underneath the garbage disposal and attach the wires using the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the wires are connected, reattach the plate. The next step is to apply plumbers putty underneath the drain flange underneath the sink. Take the flange and insert it into the drain hole, attaching it with the use of the backup ring, the fiber gasket and the mounting ring. Use a screwdriver to attach everything tightly. Any plumber’s putty that has squeezed out around the flange can be trimmed away with a knife. The new garbage disposal can now be placed into the mounting ring. Make sure to tighten it until it stays in place. Once the disposal is up, connect it to the P-trap. You’ll have to measure the discharge pipe and then cut it to size using a hacksaw. Attach it to the garbage disposal’s outlet. To make sure it’s properly connected, read your manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, attach your dishwasher discharge tube.
Once your garbage disposal is installed, you’ll want to check to make sure it works. Turn your power back on and run water into the sink. Make sure the garbage disposal works by turning it on. Check underneath the disposal to make sure there are no leaks – then run food through the disposal to make sure it’s properly ground and disposed of.
Following up from our last post on garbage disposal troubleshooting, you might realize it’s time for some garbage disposal repair instead of buying a new one. This can become costly if you always have to bring out a professional. Here are a few tips for keeping your garbage disposal healthy and some basic repairs you can do on your own. There is, however, one very important rule: when performing garbage disposal repair NEVER put your hand down the disposal (also called the hopper). Instead, use an object such as the other end of a wooden broom stick.
Garbage Disposal Basic Maintenance
- Keep your disposal healthy by regularly grinding lemon peels and ice cubes.
- Keep odors away by first turning off the unit and then adding two handfuls of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar to the hopper. It will foam, once foaming is done rinse it clean with regular water and turn it back on.
Garbage Disposal is Stuck
This is the most common problem and is fairly simple in terms of garbage disposal repair. If your disposal makes a humming sound when you flip the switch then you probably have a stuck flywheel.
- NEVER stick your hand down the hopper (just a reminder but it deserves repeating).
- Turn off the disposal by unplugging the unit or switching it off at the electric service panel.
- Using a wooden broom handle try to dislodge whatever is stuck, you’re successful when you can feel the flywheel turn freely.
- OR (instead of step 3) find the offset wrench that came with the disposal (if you don’t have it you can get one at a hardware store that cares your same make and model). Insert the wrench into the flywheel turning hole (located in the center of the bottom of the unit). Turn clock wise until the unit flywheel turns freely.
- Plug the unit back in or flip the electric switch back to on.
- Back at the disposal press the reset button.
- Run water while flipping the switch on and off in short bursts, this will wash away whatever was causing the flywheel to be stuck.
DIsposal Won’t Turn On
Unlike the disposal being stuck (where you will hear a humming noise) if your disposal is not turning on there will be no noise at all when you flip the switch. Again, we’ll mention the golden rule of garbage disposal repair, NEVER stick your hand in the hopper, even if the entire unit is off.
- Check to make sure the disposal is plugged in.
- Press the Reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal unit then see if it’ll work.
- If not check the circuit breaker. If it’s not the circuit breaker or the reset button then either the switch or the garbage disposal is broken.
- If you’re able turn off the circuit breaker and replace the switch (you may need to hire someone for this).
- If that doesn’t work you’ll need to have your garbage disposal replaced.
Garbage Disposal is Leaking
If it’s leaking where it connects to the dishwasher simply tighten the clamp. If the hose between the dishwasher and disposal is leaking replace the hose. If the leak is at the drainpipe of the disposal make sure all bolts are tight enough. If it’s not the bolts you’ll need to remove them and replace the gasket, make sure the bolts are tight once the replacement is in.
In terms of garbage disposal repair it simply can’t be said enough that you should NEVER put your hand in the hopper. Even if the disposal is off, even if you’re sure it won’t turn on take the extra 10 seconds and use a broom handle. Your fingers will thank you!
Like any appliance, garbage disposals can have problems from time to time. The common problems range from clogs to dulled blades. If you are skilled at plumbing you may want try fixing it yourself. Even if you have limited plumbing skills, a minor problem may be easily solved without the need to call in a professional. Before you attempt a fix, some garbage disposal troubleshooting will be necessary to discover the cause of the problem. A word of caution: In all cases, it is a good idea to turn the power off at the circuit breaker prior to attempting any repairs.
Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting Tips
- Problem: The garbage disposal is humming but is not grinding the waste.
Solution: The problem here may be that the flywheel is stuck. The flywheel is the part that spins the blades. A stuck flywheel is most likely caused by an obstruction. Use a pair of pliers to remove whatever is causing it to stick. Some newer disposals have a reverse switch that may be helpful for removing obstructions.
- Problem: The garbage disposal does not turn on.
Solution: The problem may be as simple as a tripped fuse. Go to the circuit breaker and check to see if any breakers have been tripped. If not, check the disposal’s reset button. If it is out, this may mean that the disposal has overheated (possibly because of a jam); reset it and see if the unit works.
- Problem: slow drainage.
Solution: the cause of this is usually a clog of some sort in the drainpipe. Remove the trap and the drainpipe to check for clogs. If there are none, then the blockage is probably further along in the drain system. Snake it and reconnect to the garbage disposal.
- Problem: The garbage disposal makes more noise than it did before.
Solution: a clattering noise may be caused by any number of objects in the disposal. Items like very hard bones or glass may not immediately go down the drain. In some cases, this is a symptom of dull blades that are not able to grind efficiently anymore. In other cases, clattering may be the result of a part of the unit that has come loose; metal screws, and other parts hitting against the blades will make a considerable noise. While some disposals do allow for the replacement of these parts, other units may be old and so the different components may not be readily available; if this is the case, replacement of the whole garbage disposal may be your the best option.
- Problem: The garbage disposal is leaking.
Solution: a garbage disposal may develop leaks at a number of points, like:
- The Sink Flange
For a leak where your garbage disposal connects to the sink, check the mounting bolts and the plumber’s putty. Tighten the bolts and reapply plumber’s putty as needed.
- The Connection to the Dishwasher
Check the clamp on the dishwasher hose and tighten if necessary.
Check the connection to the drainpipe and tighten loose bolts if necessary. If it still leaks, replace the gasket.
Note that if the body of the garbage disposal is leaking, you may need to replace the whole unit.
Proper use of the appliance can eliminate the need to do any garbage disposal troubleshooting at all. You should avoid using it to grind up items such as coffee grounds and hard bones that are known to cause problems.
Our next piece is about garbage disposal repair. See it here.