5 Things To Consider Before Installing A Garbage Disposal

Choosing a seamless garbage disposal system isn't by luck. It's often a careful and informed choice. If you've never owned a garbage disposal system, there are many features, items, models, and concerns to consider, such as how to know whether the product is right for your home.

It seems like a lot, but purchasing the right garbage disposal for your home is possible, and a careful choice prevents issues like foul odors, clogged drains, electrical problems, and more in the future. While we have some suggestions on ways to clean your garbage disposal system, if foul odors and constant clogging have become the norm, American Home Shield recommends an immediate replacement.

However, if you're in the market for a new garbage disposal system, you're probably overwhelmed with trying to make the right choice. Please do not fret. We've curated a list of things to consider before installing a garbage disposal system.

Consider the numerous specifications

Before installing a garbage disposal system, it is important that you consider the specifications of the intended disposal system in relation to your current home and your needs. This means reviewing the motor power, chamber size, and material. The engine is often measured in horsepower (HP). Whereas a 1/3 to 1/2 HP powered garbage disposal is ideal for a single or double-person household, Oh So Spotless recommends a 3/4 or 1 HP powered garbage disposal for larger families. Also, before choosing a motor capacity, ensure that your circuit breaker can effectively power it without glitches.

Additionally, if you tend to have a lot of garbage, you would require a large chamber-sized garbage disposal and effective blades. American Home Shield claims that your garbage disposal's chamber size often depends on the horsepower capacity while recommending that you choose a stainless steel blade. Not only is this durable and easy to clean, but you also run a lesser risk of corrosion.

The state of your plumbing system

Every garbage disposal system works with plumbing; it doesn't matter whether your garbage goes down the central waste system or your septic tank. To nip every issue in the bud, always check out the plumbing before installing a new garbage disposal system — especially if you're replacing the old garbage disposal with a different model or if you've never had one.

First, the experts at Consumer Reports suggest assessing the state of your pipes. Frankly, you're good to go if you have newer plastic pipes. However, if your home is of an older model — say, houses from before the mid-70s — your pipes are probably made of cast iron and, as a result of aging, prone to clogging. If this is the case, do not install a garbage disposal. If you must, you should change the plumbing first.

Additionally, if you plan to empty your waste into your septic tank, it is prudent to take prior measurements of the tank to cater to your food waste levels. Finally, plan to clean it out as often as it needs instead of the general rule of thumb of every two to five years (via Grants Septic Techs).

Choose a model based on your needs

There are two major garbage disposal models. First, the continuous feed model, and second, the batch feed model. They both have their peculiarities, their pros, and their cons. To help you choose, we've outlined a couple of their eccentricities.

When it comes to the continuous feed model, the unique selling point is that you do not have to turn it off to add another batch of food, as per Consumer Reports. Additionally, since it is a common model, you have a wide variety of brands to choose from at an average price of $100 to $500 (via Faucet Direct). Finally, this model lets you choose your power system. You can choose between a wall switch or an air switch that works in tandem with an under-the-sink outlet. However, the downside to this model is that, since it runs while open, food can spill out, causing a mess or even severe damage to others. 

On the other hand, the batch feed model runs with a stopper; this implies that you can only feed the disposal batch by batch, and whenever you remove the stopper lid, it stops working. According to the experts at Consumer Reports, this model works best for kitchen islands, especially because of its lack of a wall switch. The downside to this is that the model isn't so common, so you have fewer brand options to choose from and, as a result, higher expenses.

Grinding stages and noise systems

Another critical factor to consider is the ideal grinding stage and noise systems. While older garbage disposal systems were notorious for scathing noises and brittle grinds, recent technology has greatly switched up the game.

The current grinding systems available to you come in three stages. However, how do you tell the difference between a one-stage, two-stage, or three-stage grinding system? Frankly, this depends on the quality of the garbage after it has gone through the grinder. According to Kitchen Eminence, the first stage crushes the food into brittle pieces and then flushes it down the pipe. On the other hand, the second stage can liquify waste, while the third stage is capable of grinding heavy-duty items like bones. If you're concerned about clogs, you should invest in a premium three-stage garbage disposal.

Also, Build with Ferguson writes that investing in premium garbage disposals with higher horsepower reduces noise levels. It's simple — a quality garbage disposal equals little to no noise. 

Check out all the extra features too

We love how the saying "the more, the merrier" applies to everything, including garbage disposals! The more features are embedded in your garbage disposal, the more likely you are to enjoy it. However, here's a quick rundown of the features you want to ensure you get.

Firstly, we recommend an anti-jamming feature because prevention is always better than cure. According to McKeown Plumbing, the anti-jamming quality often auto-detects impending jams. To circumvent them, it reverses the entire system to loosen the stuck food before it runs again. 

Secondly, we recommend purchasing a garbage disposal system with a power cord as opposed to purchasing one independently. While you can always buy an independent cable, the experts at Tech Penny note that you could potentially end up purchasing one that might not possess enough safety against burns. Finally, buy a garbage disposal system with a good or extended warranty. If you ever have issues with the system within its warranty date, you can always have it fixed for very little, says 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty.