Garbage Disposals

Features to look for in a trash compactor

Home garbage disposals perform a valuable service by breaking down food scraps that can cause environmental problems when allowed to decompose normally. Also known as garburators, these appliances allow for safer treatment of wastes while reducing the amount of garbage produced by individual households. If you enjoy the combination of convenience and environmental responsibility, owning a garbage disposal might be the solution for you.

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Deciding on a Garbage Disposal

Before making any concrete decisions, always check local regulations to be sure that your area can support the use of garbage disposals. They are usually installed directly under the sink and can be connected to an existing dishwasher. When making plans to install a garbage disposal, you also need to decide whether you prefer to dispose of the materials using a sewage drain or a septic tank.

There are two types of garbage disposals available: continuous feed and batch feed. Both can be powered by electricity or, in some cases, water pressure systems. Continuous-feed disposals are less expensive models that are simply turned on to grind and dispose of a continuous flow of waste, rather than the 1- to 2-quart batches required by a batch-feed model. Since batch-feed disposals come with covers, many families prefer them for safety reasons, but these systems may not be viable options in cities with strict septic system codes.

Most garbage disposals are sold with detailed manuals and do not require professional installation. However, if you want more guidance or visual aids to assist you, there are numerous home improvement websites online that post step-by-step instructions for installing garbage disposals.

What to Look For in a Garbage Disposal

Prices for garbage disposals typically range between $60 and $400, with more expensive models offering larger capacity and greater horsepower, as well as additional convenience features and more durable materials. When shopping for a new disposal, focus on models made from stainless steel, as they can last more than a decade if well cared for.

Horsepower varies from one-third to one, with three-quarter horsepower providing enough power to grind tough materials like chicken bones. Many models also include corrosion shields, overload resets and auto-reverse features to prevent jams that could damage the blades. If you want to reduce noise, ask about models with built-in sound buffering options, and to avoid messes, look for anti-splash components.

If your knowledge of garbage disposals is limited, start your search by considering the leading brands, Waste King and Insinkerator garbage disposals, which offer features like multi-grind technology, sound limiting insulation, and anti-jam and anti-vibration. Also, if you'd rather upgrade your appliance over time to save money, both Insinkerator and Waste King provide add-on accessories that can be purchased separately.

Insinkerator and Waste King garbage disposals are similarly priced with models in all price ranges, and both brands are highly recommended for their overall quality, durable motors and easy maintenance.

Waste Disposal Alternatives

If you're unable to install a garbage disposal or prefer an appliance with more versatility, home trash compactors can be used to compact materials other than food waste, ultimately reducing the number of garbage bags you fill each week. Trash compactors are ideal if you cannot accommodate a drain line or septic tank, and they help to reduce the buildup of garbage in landfills.

No matter which you option you choose, finding more economical ways to dispose of waste saves you money and space while also saving the environment.