After your done eating dinner and clearing your plate, you’ve got to dispose of those pesky food scraps. However, you can’t send any of it down your drain because it will clog up your pipes. Installing a garbage disposal, however, will make your life a lot more convenient. The device itself is fairly easy to install and that way you will also reduce a lot of waste and contamination.

However, despite the many advantages of installing a garbage disposal, you should also inform yourself about some of the drawbacks. This way you can make an informed decision moving forward. Every home is different and you should determine if your situation would merit the use of a garbage disposal.

The Pros: Clean Kitchens and Less Waste

Easy Cleanups – A sink that is equipped with a garbage disposal will make cleaning up a lot easier. This includes those small scraps of food that are stuck to your plate which you would otherwise need to dump into your trash bin. This means that when you finish eating your meal, you will spend a lot less time having to clean up your mess. Disposals are the quick and sanitary way of preventing any potential waste from accumulating in your home. Think about it – dropping your breadcrumbs or food scraps on the floor creates a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

Protecting Your Plumbing – You’ve got a big pile of dishes in your sink and you need to clean them off. They contain a lot of leftover food and now you have to carry your plates all the way over to your garbage bin. This can be time-consuming and tedious, so instead, you dump it all down your drain. Over time, however, those food scraps begin to accumulate, which will cause your pipes to become clogged. This is an issue that you can’t ignore and you will need to fix it sooner rather than later. A garbage disposal, on the other hand, allows you to grind down the food scraps so that they won’t create any major blockages in your drainage system.

Affordable Installations – The average garbage disposal will cost you anywhere between $70 and $130. Also, if you are a handyman and possess some basic plumbing skills, then you can install it all by yourself. You can also hire a professional plumber to handle the installation, which is a relatively low-cost job. If you properly use and maintain your garbage disposal, then you can expect it to last up to 10 years easily before having to replace it.

You Can Install Them Almost Anywhere – Most garbage disposals are compatible with almost every type of sewage system, including municipal sewers and septic tanks. If you do have a septic tank, make sure your garbage disposal is the correct size for the system. Older municipal sewage systems struggle with processing food particles that come from garbage disposals. If you have an older septic tank, be sure to call your waste management or water authority before installing your garbage disposal.

The Cons: Maintenance, Jams, and Clogs

Jams and Clogging – When you send something down your garbage disposal which you shouldn’t, or if you send too much food down it, the device will jam up. It’s something that happens very commonly and all you will need to do press the reset button on your garbage disposal. If this doesn’t work, then you will need to go in and dislodge the clog. You can reach down into your drain by using a broom handle or needle-nosed pliers and remove any organic waste materials.

If this sounds like a lot of trouble, then you should avoid installing a garbage disposal. Jams and clogs are going to happen no matter how much effort you put into maintaining and preserving your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are also very tricky to repair, and if one of the components is no longer functional, then you may have to replace the entire thing.

Careful Handling – Many of us assume that we can dump a bunch of food down our garbage disposal and nothing bad will come of it. However, in addition to moderating the amount of food you put into your garbage disposal, you will also need to avoid sending certain foods down it as well. This include:

  • Foods that are fatty and contain a lot of oil, cream or grease
  • Starchy foods, including rice, pasta and beans
  • Solid waste materials, including bones, fruit pits, and seafood shells
  • Fibrous foods, including banana peels, potato peels, celery and carrots

As you can already tell, there are quite a few food items that you can’t send down your garbage disposal. For many people, this can defeat the purpose of having a garbage disposal in the first place. We want to mention, however, that sending trace amounts of pasta down your garbage disposal won’t make a huge difference. You also don’t want to do this too often either, because a clog will eventually occur.

The way you use your disposal is also important. Turn on your faucet and allow cold water to run down your garbage disposal and let it run as you are using the device. Dispose of the food in gradual amounts – don’t jam everything in there at one time. Once you are done, let the water run for another 20 seconds before shutting it off. This will flush out every remaining food particle in your system.

Regular Maintenance – For being a small and simple device, your garbage disposal requires a lot of attention. There are always lingering food particles that you will need to remove every once and a while. Turn off the power to your garbage disposal and clean it out at least once a week. Use a brush to scrub out the inside of the disposal and you can keep your disposal fresh by grinding up ice cubes made of vinegar in between cleanings every week.

If you are still unsure of what to do, then you can always contact one of our technicians. They can answer all of your questions and provide you with detailed information on the benefits of installing a garbage disposal.