What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

When it comes to kitchen appliances, nothing is quite as important as your garbage disposal. Unless you like having to toss out all food before you wash your dishes, a disposal can make your cleaning experience much more efficient and convenient. Unfortunately, as these are complex machines with a lot of moving parts, they can sometimes break down. When that happens, you need to replace your old unit with something more robust and reliable. But if the time comes to install a brand new appliance, what kind should you get? After all, if you’re going to get a new machine, you might as well get the best option available.

Size of garbage disposal
Under the sink garbage disposal unit.

If you’re in the market for a new garbage disposal, the most important thing to know is which size will be right for your needs. When talking about size, what we are really talking about is power. As such, garbage disposals come in four different varieties: one-third horsepower, one-half horsepower, three-fourths horsepower, and one full horsepower. To better understand which one will be ideal in your sink, let’s look at each model.

⅓ Horsepower

As you may have guessed, this is the smallest and least powerful disposal unit. For the most part, people only get a ⅓ model if they don’t use a disposal that often. Because the motor is not as sturdy as others, you cannot toss hard or fibrous foods, such as bones, peels, and nuts. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t cook very often or rarely needs a disposal, then this is the size for you.

½ Horsepower

Although a ⅓ model is usually the cheapest, most experts would recommend at least a ½ horsepower disposal in your home. The reason for this is that the higher rpm will last much longer and the unit is much stronger than the ⅓ version. Overall, this is probably the best option if you’re on a budget and don’t need that much power to cut through bones and peels.

¾ Horsepower

If you have the space for it and want to get the best options, then a ¾ horsepower garbage disposal is an ideal choice. These units are a bit pricier and larger than their ½ counterparts, but you usually get much better performance as well as improved features. For example, most ¾ disposals have stainless steel components which will not rust and will last much longer. Also, stronger units usually are faster and quieter, which can be a nice feature for some households. Overall, this is a fantastic size to get if you want to get something durable and reliable that will last for years.

One Horsepower

This is the ultimate in garbage disposals. If you want to be able to toss practically anything into your sink without worry, then a one horsepower unit is for you. While we don’t recommend throwing bones or other hard materials into the machine, you can rest assured that if something accidentally drops down it will be handled appropriately. These machines are generally quite large and are ideal for small businesses or some light commercial applications, but you can easily fit it under your home sink.

5 Tips for Using and Maintaining your garbage disposal

using maintaining garbage disposal
Using maintaining garbage disposal

When it comes to household appliances, most people think of the refrigerator or the microwave. However, one device that you probably have in your kitchen that you likely don’t pay enough attention to is your garbage disposal. Typically, unless there’s a problem, you don’t have any reason to check or maintain your disposal unit. Today we hope to change that by providing you with some handy tips for cleaning and maintaining your garbage disposal. Using these tips will help extend the life of your machine so you can keep not worrying about it for years to come.

Only Grind Soft Food

To help prevent any problems with your disposal, make sure that you only toss soft food into your disposal. Anything hard, like bones, metal, or anything else that can’t be broken down easily will damage the machine and could force you to get a replacement. If you have fibrous or tough foods, try to cut them into smaller pieces first.

Use Lots of Cold Water

When using the disposal, make sure to run cold water the entire time. Why cold water? To help get rid of any oil or grease that is trapped in the machine. Cold water will make it solidify so it can be broken down and go into the drain. Also, water will help keep the blades lubricated. For best use, run the water for about ten to fifteen seconds after turning the machine off so you can flush any leftover gunk down the drain.

Ice Cube Maintenance

Every once in a while, it helps to toss some ice cubes into the unit. The ice will knock loose any stuck-on debris or food, allowing the blades to work more efficiently. Just don’t dump too much ice in at once or it could damage the machine.

Citrus Cleaning

To help keep your disposal smelling nice, toss some citrus rinds every so often. Just make sure to cut the rinds down to smaller pieces, so they don’t get clogged in the blades.

Use Often

If you don’t use your disposal on a regular basis, then it’s good to turn it on every once in a while. Regular use will help keep everything running smoothly, as well as help prevent rust or corrosion. Also, when you do use it with food, make sure to let it run completely, meaning don’t turn it off until you’re sure that all the food has been chopped up.

How Does a Garbage Disposal Works? With Video

Although garbage disposers differ from model to model they all operate on similar principles. In this video we will address how the disposer works as well as common problems you may encounter. Garbage disposers are designed to grind solid foods into small particles which can then be washed down the drain.

To do this the disposer is installed between the kitchen sink drain and the drain pipe which sends water and debris to the outside of the home. Be aware that if you have a dishwasher the disposers knockout plug will need to be removed in order for the dishwasher to drain disposers are often hard wired to a switch in the kitchen.  Although batch feed disposers have a start switch activated by the stopper. When the switch is actuated 120 volts of alternating current flows to the disposer motor the motor rotates a grinding or shredder plate to break down the food particles.

How Does a Garbage Disposal Works –  Video

how does garbage disposal works
Closeup of a plumber using a wrench to tighten a fitting beneath a kitchen sink. Only the man’s hand and arm are visible. Horizontal format.
A steady stream of cold water should be running through the disposer for this process to work effectively the disposer uses a splash guard which prevents the water from being slung upwards common problems that occur with disposers include the drain becoming clogged the grinding plate becoming jammed and the disposer developing a leak. To avoid clogging the drain potato peels courthouse and other fibrous materials should not be put into the disposer. After clearing out a clogged you should consider using disposer cleaner to clean the appliance and reduce odors. Most disposers have an opening on the bottom of the housing if the grinding plate becomes jammed and allen wrench can be inserted into this opening to manually turn the motor in plate to clear the obstruction.

If your model doesn’t have an opening on the bottom a wooden broom handle can be inserted through the drain opening to turn the plate a grinding plate jam can overheat the disposer motor which may trip a reset button often found at the bottom of the housing. If the disposer doesn’t run at all first try pressing the reset button. If the disposer still doesn’t run check to see if a house fuse has blown or circuit breaker has tripped the switch may have failed as well you can test the switch for continuity to determine if a continuous electrical path is present a leak originating near the top of the disposer is often caused by the failure of the mounting gasket or splash guard replacing the gasket or splash guard assembly can correct this problem. If the leak is coming from the disposer housing then the entire disposer will need to be replaced repairclinic has a solution for many of the problems you may be experiencing with your garbage disposer enter the products full model number in our website search engine for a complete list of compatible parts our site also has an extensive selection of instructional videos to assist you covering topics like part testing disassembly and part replacement at repairclinic we make fixing things easy.

How Much Does a Garbage Disposal Cost?

Garbage disposals are wondrous kitchen tools.  Despite our best efforts to eliminate food waste, there always are a few orts leftover.  Putting the leftovers in the garbage can result in flies, stinky cans, or pets, making a mess while searching for the morsel. That’s where the garbage disposal comes in.

How much does a garbage disposal cost
Portrait of a plumber at work

Basically, the garbage disposal is a small grinder.  The disposal unit is attached under a kitchen sink drain, with a switch close by (usually on the wall next to the sink).  When the disposal is turned on, a spinning disk, located on the bottom of the unit, with small blades (look for stainless steel) that stick up, grinds and pulverizes food as it’s fed down the drain.  As the disposal does it’s job, water running down the drain helps clear the food into your sewer line.

The use of a garbage disposal greatly reduces the amount of food leftovers that end up in your garbage.  Disposals are a much more sanitary method for disposing of unwanted or rotten vegetables , their peels, and leftover food, than throwing them into a garbage can.

How Much Does a Garbage Disposal Cost?

As with any other product, costing for garbage disposals range from fairly inexpensive 70$, up to almost $400.  For installation, figure another $50 dollars for a simple installation by a handyman.  If the disposal requires its own electrical circuit, or one is not available, the resulting electrical work and disposal installation can run upwards of $500.

Residential garbage disposals vary, depending on the size of the motor, and also by brand name.  The least expensive disposals, equipped with a ⅓ horsepower motor, cost between $50 and $100.  Disposals are also available with ½, ¾, and 1 horsepower motors.  Of course, the larger the motor, the higher the cost.  The most expensive, name brand units carry a price tag close to $400.

If your home is on a septic system, you will need a disposal which is intended for septic system use.  The price for septic units is not any higher than a regular sewage unit.

You are always looking for solid value for your dollar.  A cheap, poorly built disposal can be more hassle than help.  The InSinkErator brand of garbage disposals is a well-known and trusted brand.  They offer a wide range of models, with prices varying from $85 [InSinkErator Badger 1] up to around $350 [InSinkErator Evolution Excel].  All InSinkErator units are highly rated by consumers (at least 4 ½ out of 5 stars).  Another well known name in kitchen product is Moen.  Their product line in not as extensive as InSinkErator, but their prices are comparable, as are their consumer ratings.

Garbage Disposals Price Between $50 to $100

Garbage Disposals Price Between $100 to $200

Garbage Disposals Price Between $200 and above

Regardless of the garbage disposal you choose, make sure you do your homework.  Know exactly what your family requires, and how much you’re willing to spend.  With a properly chosen and installed garbage disposal, your days of stinky garbage cans and refrigerators full of little leftovers can be put behind you.  Oh happy day!

How To Keep Your Garbage Disposal Unit Functioning Properly

You can find a garbage disposal unit in most kitchens these days. A garbage disposal unit can really help you with the clean-up involved with food preparation. A garbage disposal unit is usually connected to the underside of a sink drain in the kitchen.

It has a chopping mechanism, similar to what you would find in a blender, which grinds up food scraps that you feed down the drain. To wash down the food particles faster and easier, you should run water from the faucet. A mechanism that looks like an arm pushes food scraps and water down the drain.

garbage-disposal functioning properly
Man with pipe wrench under a kitchen sink fixing a leak

The garbage disposal unit is usually connected to a dishwasher’s water supply. Sometimes, the water that the dishwater releases after draining the dishes flows through the garbage disposal unit in order to wash away food particles from the pans, plates, glasses and silverware, just as if you utilized the garbage disposal unit directly.

Proper maintenance of a garbage disposal unit can keep it in good working order for longer; possibly for over ten years. Here are some ways to use your garbage disposal unit that will help you lengthen its life.

1.Don’t forget to run water before and after you use the garbage disposal. If you don’t, food particles may be trapped in it, causing unpleasant smells in your kitchen.

2. Always use cold water when using your garbage disposal unit. This is because any fat in the food scraps you feed down the drain can melt in hot water. The melted fat will then travel through the pipes and solidify when it cools, causing clogged pipes.

3. Avoid using bleach, drain cleaner or any chemical incompatible with garbage disposal units, as chemicals like these may damage the unit. What’s more, chemicals such as those used in the kitchen can cause harm to the environment.

4. Avoid feeding rice, egg shells, bones, coffee grounds, stringy vegetables and similar foods into the garbage disposal unit as doing so affect the functionality of the unit and shorten its life.

Take a cue from horror movies and never use your hands to remove an item that’s stuck in your garbage disposal unit. What you can do instead is grab a pair of tongs and use it to remove the stuck item. If your garbage disposal unit starts giving off unpleasant smells, chop up a piece of lemon and feed it down the drain while running warm water.

Alternatively, you can feed a couple of ice cubes along with some rock salt down the drain while running warm water. Either of the two methods should remove foul odors from your garbage disposal unit. If you use your garbage disposal unit properly and employ the methods stated in this article, you should be able to use your garbage disposal unit for a long time as yet.

Garbage Disposal Motor Failures

Garbage disposal itself fails in a number of different ways
1. If the main seal begins to leak, water will get down into the motor. The motor will get wet, short out and fail to start.
The motor may hum or it may be completely quiet when power is applied.

Feel the bottom of the disposer and if necessary, remove the cover of the wiring connection box. With the connection cover and the power off, stick your finger up inside the disposer and feel for any rust or moisture. A leaky main seal will frequently cause rust and water to collect on the bottom of the disposer. If moisture is found replace the unit.

2. The grinding plate may break loose from the shaft of the motor and start to wobble around. Sometimes it makes loud noises as it scrapes the outer wall.

3. Teeth may break off of the grinding plate unbalancing it.

4. The motor starting switch may fail.

5. Occasionally, the seam between the grinding chamber and the top of the motor will leak or the mounting flange will rot out and the disposer will start leaking up near the sink. Once a disposer is more than five years old, the grinding chamber begins to rot from the inside. It is very difficult to take out and reinstall an old disposer without having it leak. The components are all corroded and will be difficult to reseal.

A Guide To Finding Trustworthy And Skilled Plumber

Who likes having to call in a plumber? Plumbing services cost a fortune, and more often than note the work costs more than was quoted. To make matters worse, the work’s never done on time. Additionally, plumbing services are kind of like car repair services in that most people really don’t know what the plumber is working on.

Finding a plumber garbage disposal
Finding a plumber

This makes it so much easier for an untrustworthy plumber to overcharge a homeowner for doing work that wasn’t necessary in the first place. There are a lot of horror stories about hiring a plumber. However, sometimes you don’t have any choice but to hire a plumber to fix a garbage disposal. If you can’t fix that garbage disposal on your own, you just have to bit the bullet and make the call.

How can you be absolutely certain that the plumber you’ve heard is trustworthy and competent?  Here are some of the things that you should be aware of before you hire a plumber.

Before anything else, you should talk to people for whom a plumber has worked in the past, and find out if they were satisfied with the quality of the work done.  You can try asking around your neighborhood or you can ask your friends. A lot of them may be able to recommend plumbers whose work quality and work ethic were good; a lot of them may also share plumber horror stories.

Don’t hire a plumber because of his or her advertisements, and don’t hire a plumber because he’s been in business for a long time.  A lot of people make the mistake of going to a plumbing firm because they’re familiar with its name through the firm’s advertisements; more often than not these types of firms are the worst.

This also goes for a plumbing firm that’s been around for a long time.  Just because a company has a recognized brand name doesn’t always mean that it offers good service. If you’re considering hiring a plumber for a big remodeling job rather than a simple home repair, don’t be afraid to ask for references.

A good, trustworthy plumber or plumbing company should always provide references when you ask for them. Never hire the services of someone who refuses to provide references.

The Internet can really help you in finding a good plumber. A lot of people who’ve had bad experiences with plumbers and plumbing companies have websites where they list the names of those who had done unsatisfactory work and those who overcharged them. Check the website for plumbers in your town and avoid them like the plague.

One other thing you should look into when hiring a plumber is his or her hourly rate. Request rates from plumbers and plumbing companies and compare them. Check whether or not the plumber agrees to sign a price guarantee before he starts the project.

You should also check whether the plumber will charge you for the time spent traveling to and from your place and how he plans to calculate the charges and prove the charges to you. It may seem difficult to obtain a definite price, but you should not hire a plumber who isn’t able to give you an explanation on as to how he’s going to bill you.

It’s possible to find an honest and trustworthy plumber who does quality work. Just do a little research and you’re sure to find one.

Fix a Clogged/Leaking/Not Working Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. The ability to toss food waste into the sink with impunity has enabled even the messiest of us to maintain a clean, grime free kitchen without having to resort to tossing scraps into the garbage. While this device can be a godsend, however, it is not without its limitations. Sometimes, even the sturdiest, most steadfast disposal can clog or break down, requiring you to perform maintenance on it. Sure, you could call a professional to come out and take a look, but we aren’t all made of money, are we? Fortunately, we’ve developed a list of procedures you can take to assess your garbage disposal’s health, as well as fix it yourself. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work!


Before performing any maintenance on an electrical device, make sure to turn off the breaker before diving into the project. Electrical shock is a nasty wound, and we hold no liability for any emergency room visits that result from poor electrical safety.

Assess the Problem

Because of the somewhat complicated nature of the garbage disposal, there are several problems that may arise. If your machine isn’t working, it could be a number of issues, so it is imperative that you determine what exactly is wrong with it before trying to fix it. If you start meddling with the internal workings of the machine without knowing what’s broken, you could do more harm than good. Here are the most common issues with garbage disposals.

No Power

If your disposal isn’t making any noise or doing anything at all, it may be that it is not receiving any power. Make sure to test for this before switching off the breaker, mind you, to ensure that this is, in fact, the problem. If it seems likely that no electricity is going to the unit, you may have to reset the device yourself. Usually, there is a reset switch on the bottom of the disposal, and it may simply need turning on. If this doesn’t work, test the outlet in which the disposal is plugged into, to determine if that is the problem. If your outlet isn’t working, even after tripping the breaker, it may require an electrician to come out to fix any faulty wiring.

Fix Clogged Garbage Disposal

Sometimes material falls into the garbage disposal that shouldn’t be there. Items such as silverware, fruit pits (such as from an avocado), or other hard materials may get stuck between the blades and the impeller (the piece that forces the liquid into the drain). If this occurs, your disposal will most likely make a lot of noise, or hum but not be shredding anything.

To remove unwanted debris from your unit, you will need to get under the sink (after turning the breaker off, mind you), and uncap the impeller from the disposal itself. There should be a hexagonal hole at the bottom, in which you place a hex screwdriver and loosen the base. Once the base has been pulled off, you should be able to pull out whatever item was clogging it. There shouldn’t be any material in the drain pipe, as the impeller is designed to filter large objects from getting in there.

After removing the debris, reattach the base to the unit, and then test the disposal. If it still isn’t working, it could signify a larger issue, which may mean the disposal needs to be replaced.

Fix if Blades Not Working

If you notice that the material you put into the disposal is not getting ground up enough to drain out, it could mean that the blades are broken or dulled down. Typically, it is much easier and cheaper to replace the whole unit in this case, as purchasing blades separately is somewhat more challenging.

Drain Is Clogged

As I mentioned above, the impeller is designed to prevent large debris from entering and subsequently clogging the drain pipe from the disposal. If you notice that water is coming back up from the disposal, this usually means that there is a clog further down the pipe, and will require a plumber to come out to remove it. If you want, you can check the drain from the disposal by removing the unit from the sink and looking inside the pipe.

Fix if it Leaks

If your unit is leaking, find the source of the leak and try to tighten any valves or seals that may be loose. If a seal is damaged or cracked, you can usually patch this up with plumber’s putty or plumber’s tape. If the leak is significant, you may need to replace the unit entirely.

Basic Care and Maintenance

If you treat your garbage disposal properly, then you shouldn’t encounter any of these issues. Make sure to run lukewarm to cold water every time you use the unit, to keep everything lubricated and working correctly. Hot water may dissolve fat, which can then solidify in the piping and cause a clog. Also, make sure that only soft foods are tossed into the unit; nothing hard or extra fibrous, as this can damage the blades and get stuck in the impeller.

Batch Feed vs Continuous Feed Garbage Disposals

For most of us, our garbage disposal is something that we rarely think about unless there is a problem. Many people are blissfully unaware of how a disposal operates, only knowing the absolute basics, such as “don’t put metal in it” and “run the sink while you use it”. Even if you haven’t thought much about your disposal, if you ever have to get it replaced or repaired, you’ll need to know more than just what kinds of material you can put in it. While most disposals are very similar regarding their operation, there is one important classification that can come up when picking a new model: batch feed vs continuous feed. Although most of you probably have a continuous feed model, there is a critical difference between the two. Let’s look at those differences, as well as the pros and cons of each model.

Difference Between Batch Feed and Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

What is Batch Feed Garbage Disposal?

Continuous Feed vs Batch Feed Disposals
Continuous Feed vs. Batch Feed Disposals
As the name would suggest, this model of disposal is meant to grind through small batches, one at a time. The way it works is you put the material into the disposal, cover it with the provided stopper, and then turn it on. Unlike continuous feed, you can only turn the unit on when the cover is sealed.

The benefits of a batch feed garbage disposal are:

  • Perfect for households with small amounts of waste to process
  • Cover eliminates the possibility of “foreign” objects falling in the unit
  • Since the disposal only works with the cover on, it can be much safer than continuous feed

Downsides to batch feed disposals:

  • Take more time if you have a lot of waste
  • Not as many options to choose from when purchasing
  • Can be more expensive than a continuous feed model

What is Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal?

As the most popular option between the two, continuous feed disposals are installed in most homes around the country. These disposals are much easier to operate, turning on and off with the flip of a switch. As far as speed and convenience go, a continuous feed disposal is the best option.

Here are the benefits of continuous feed disposals:

  • Super easy to operate
  • Can grind material as you work
  • More options to choose from when buying
  • Usually a bit cheaper than batch feed models

Downsides of continuous feed disposals:

  • Less safe, since “foreign” objects can fall into the unit while operating
  • Can use more electricity than batch feed, especially if you use it while preparing food
  • Uses more water than a batch feed, since you have to run the water while operating
When comparing batch feed vs continuous feed disposal, the most important aspect is how often you use the machine. If you dispose of a lot of waste while cooking, then a continuous feed model is probably right for you. However, if you don’t produce that much material to be ground up, you may be better off with a batch feed model. Ultimately, it will boil down to personal preference.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal Naturally | Step by Step

One of the many needed skills in our lives that we do not ever expect to need to know is how to safely clean a garbage disposal. If let to accumulate, it can create a fetid environment for where your dishes should be cleaned, and can let off a dirty smell that can soon permeate your whole home. However, to clean your garbage disposal, you have a few options.

Clean a garbage disposal with ice

For your first method, grab:
– Two cups of ice
– One cup of rock salt or vinegar
– Tongs or pliers
– Lemon peels

First, pour the ice down the drain and then the rock salt or vinegar on top. Chemicals, such as bleach and drain cleaner, can damage your disposal. Then, let the cold water run over the ice and rock salt/vinegar mixture while the garbage disposal runs, for about five to ten seconds. This allows the gunk trapped in the garbage disposal to come loose and be cleaned out.

Then, unplug your garbage disposal and use tongs to remove any larger items blocking the drain. Never use your hands to remove any item from your disposal, as the blades are sharp and can cut you and the gunk inside may cause an infection.

Once you have removed any large items blocking the disposal, plug the drain and fill your sink halfway with cold water. Then, unplug the drain and let the garbage disposal run, clearing the pipes of any debris left over. Following that, pour your lemon peels down the drain, without the seeds. Then, turn on the warm water and the garbage disposal. The acidity of the lemon peels sanitizes the disposal as it passes through the system. Additionally, the roughness of the peels scrubs the blades of the disposal and leaves a citrus scent in your sink.

Clean a garbage disposal with baking soda and vinegar

For this method, pour about a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a full cup of vinegar. The mixture will soon foam and bubble in your drain. Once you see signs of this, wait five to ten minutes and then turn on your tap to as hot as it can go and direct the stream straight into your drain. This will flush everything through the system once the mixture has finished cleaning your disposal of all harmful bacteria and gunk.

If you need a quick fix, try to simply flush the dirt out. First, stopper the drain. Then, fill the drain halfway with hot water, as this will be more effective in removing leftover grease and other particles stuck in the sink. After that, fill the sink with two pumps of dish soap, and use your hands to create some bubbles in the water, adding some more water to the sink. Then, unplug the drain, and watch all the gunk be cleaned away.

You could also spot clean your garbage disposal with a scrubber or old toothbrush, using the bristles to remove gunk.

Clean a Garbage Disposal With Borax

Borax is another commonly used product to clean drains and garbage disposals. Borax is a natural and safe cleaning product which will reduce the odors coming from your sink. Simply pour three to four tablespoons of Borax into the drain, wait an hour for it do its magic, and then rinse away with hot water.

Be sure to maintain the hygiene of your garbage disposal by cleaning it at least once every few weeks.

Additionally, the best form of treatment is prevention. Therefore, while you may not be cleaning your disposal every few days, try to follow the following tips to maintain your garbage disposal’s lifespan for as long as possible.

Do not put items that are not biodegradable down the drain. Items that will last for a long time in your drain will only spell disaster in the long run. So small food particles that fall off a plate may pass through the disposal, but larger trash items, such as pieces of plastic will clog the drain.

However, not all biodegradable items are as disposal-friendly as others. For example, the starchy material in potato peels manages to create a paste in the disposal that can solidify over time and because tiresome to clean out. Fibrous food items, such as onion skins and artichokes get loose in the drain and can get caught on the blades of the garbage disposal, tangling within themselves and impacting the quality of your garbage disposal. Additionally, do not send coffee grinds, pieces of pasta, or grains of rice down the drain.

Items such as fruit peels, pieces of eggshells, and small bones from fish or chicken, can all actually help the garbage disposal remain clean, though, since they clear away parts of the disposal while going down without getting caught in the drain themselves.

We encourage you to keep these tips and methods in mind while you maintain the hygiene of your sink!