January 17, 2011
While the first garbage disposal was invented in 1927, it wasn’t offered to the general public until 1940. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1970s though, that this kitchen appliance became popular in homes across the United States. There are three basic types and each one provides the same end result.
Continuous Feed Models
This is the most common model found in homes today. Simply turn the water on, turn the machines on, add the waste, and the machine takes care of the rest. Once the waste is gone, turn off the machine, and turn off the water. The switch for this appliance is usually located on the sink or the wall. There is a button on the bottom of the machine that may help undo a jam. This type of disposal is inexpensive and relatively easy to install.
Batch Feed Models
This model works a bit differently. First, add the waste and the water. Next, place the cover on top of the opening. Once the cover is installed correctly, the garbage disposal will start to operate. Remove the cover and the disposal stops. This is a good choice in homes with small children, as the machine cannot be turned on accidentally.
Septic Tank Models
If your home has a septic tank system, this may be a good choice to avoid septic problems later on. It’s basically a continuous feed system, but there are replaceable cartridges used with the disposal. These contain enzymes to break down the waste. The cartridges have to be replaced about every three to six months.
Tips for Using Your Disposal
There are several foods that should never be put into a disposal. These include fibrous foods, such as artichokes and celery. The fibers can become wound around the blades, causing a jam. Seeds from popcorn, apples, peaches, and the like can damage the blades and cause the machine to quit working. Starchy foods, such as potato peelings can cause a build up on the blades, making them less effective. This buildup is also caused by using hot water in the system instead of cold water. Fats and grease will not only coat the blades, but can build up within the plumbing pipes, as well.
You can sharpen the blades of a garbage disposal by putting ice cubes or eggshells in it. Over time, there may be some rather offensive odors that emanate from the machines. A half a cup of baking soda and a bit of water may help, as can a handful of citrus peels. You should avoid putting any type of drain cleaner down a disposal, as this can cause the blades to rust.
Installation of a garage disposal should only be done by a professional. There are not only plumbing concerns, but electrical considerations, too. A professional can easily install your new disposal and make sure it is working properly.