Disposals: Continuous or Batch-Feed?

June 18, 2012

Garbage Disposals in TacomaWhile a garbage disposal may not be the star fixture in your Seattle kitchen, such as a large, stainless steel refrigerator, it just might be its unsung hero. Disposals provide a great deal of convenience when cleaning up after a meal, and if you have ever cleaned up in a kitchen that doesn’t have one, you probably noticed its absence. Garbage disposals will also help to keep your kitchen and garbage areas from smelling bad by immediately disposing of food wastes. Putting less garbage into plastic garbage bags can also help reduce the amount of non-biodegradable plastic we are sending to Seattle landfills. Food waste that is run through a garbage disposal and sent to a waste water treatment facility doesn’t necessarily go to waste. Most waste water treatment plants will either convert food waste into energy or fertilizer, which is considerably better than being sent to a landfill.

Types of Garbage Disposals

There are two basic types of disposals to choose from. The most popular type is a continuous-feed garbage disposal. This is the type of disposal that we are all used to, it turns on when you flip a switch and you feed waste into it until you are finished, and then you turn it off.

The second type is called a batch-feed garbage disposal. This type offers an additional level of safety as it will only operate when a cover is placed over the disposal flange and is then turned to activate the garbage disposal. The primary benefit of this disposal type is that it will prevent people from putting their hands into the unit while it is activated, and also keeps small objects such as silverware from falling into the garbage disposal while it is running.

The disadvantages to batch-feed disposals are that only a small amount of waste can be fed into it at a time, so if you have a moderate amount of food waste to dispose of, it may take several batches to get rid of it all. The other issue is that it will only work with the manufacturer-issued cover, so if it becomes lost or damaged you will have to replace it before being able to use your disposal again.

Horsepower

A major consideration when selecting a disposal is how much horsepower to get. To help you make this decision, you will want to consider your expected usage and family size. If you are a single individual and will only be grinding up carrot peels, you can get away with a smaller horsepower disposal. If you have a large family and expect to feed all sorts of food wastes into your disposal, you will want to opt for a higher horsepower rating.

You will typically have 3 choices for a residential garbage disposal: ½ horsepower, ¾ horsepower, and 1 horsepower. One-half horsepower is becoming harder to find and given the reasonable price of a decent ¾ horsepower disposal, is not recommended.

Most people will want to purchase a ¾ horsepower disposal. It provides plenty of power for an average size family, and you can safely put a moderate amount of food waste through it. If you have a large family or expect to use your garbage disposal frequently, you will probably want to get a 1 horsepower disposal.

Additional Considerations

There are a couple of other issues to consider when purchasing a garbage disposal. It is recommended that you purchase a disposal from a manufacturer with a reputation for quality and reliability. Ease of installation is a big consideration if you will be installing your garbage disposal yourself. Most new garbage disposals from reputable manufacturers will be relatively easy to install. If you are not comfortable with doing some basic plumbing and installation work, it is recommended you hire a professional Seattle plumber to perform your installation.

A major consideration will also be noise level. Unless you like yelling while using your garbage disposal you will want to look for a brand of disposal that includes some sort of built-in noise reducing technology. Many newer disposals will also feature vibration-reducing technology as well.

One item people take for granted when purchasing a new garbage disposal is the switch you will use for a continuous-feed garbage disposal. We are all used to the typical light switch on the wall, but now you can purchase an “air switch” which can be installed on the countertop and is safe in a wet environment as it is not electrified.

The last thing to consider will be the color of your disposal flange. The disposal flange is the drain opening in your sink basin that you put your food waste into, or the large hole that everyone is afraid to put their hand into. Most new garbage disposals will come with a chrome colored disposal flange, but if you are outfitting your kitchen with fixtures (such as your kitchen sink faucet) in a different finish, for example oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel, you may want to consider buying a disposal flange in that particular finish as well.

Making Your Final Decision

While picking out a garbage disposal may seem a bit daunting, given the wide selection of models available, with a little preparation it should be easy to choose the appropriate disposal for your Seattle home.

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No More Stinky Sink

March 12, 2012

Even though the garbage disposal is designed to pulverize and remove kitchen waste from food products, food particles often become trapped in the nooks and crannies of the disposal and drainpipe. This provides the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow and create unpleasant odors, as well as unhealthy spores – nothing you want in your Tacoma home.

At first, the odors may not be noticeable. However, given enough time and lack of cleaning, the unpleasant odors may become stronger as the bacteria and mold continue to grow. Cleaning the garbage disposal at least once a week with one of the following methods will help to keep it free of nasty bacteria and unsightly mold.

Tip:  When cleaning your dishes use detergents that break up grease and use hot water. Remember that kitchen grease will harden in your drains and retain odors. Put as little grease down your sink as possible. And always run water while running your garbage disposal to help keep it clear and clean.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Pour one half cup of baking soda down the kitchen drain. Carefully pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain on top of the baking soda. Place the drain stopper in the sink to close off the drain. If you have a double sink, you should do this for both of them. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise. Allow this to work its magic for a few minutes while you boil some hot water. Use a full teakettle or medium size pot of water. Once this has boiled, pour it down the drain.

Water and Bleach

Using a clean container, mix a gallon of water with one tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach. Carefully and slowly, pour the solution down the drain and allow it to sit for several minutes. Flush the drain thoroughly with water for several minutes.

Tip:  Do not use too much bleach in your solution. While bleach kills germs and helps smells it also will harden any grease in your drains.  Flush the drain with warm to hot water instead of cold. This will help to loosen the grease and not solidify it.

Ice and Citrus Peels

Maintaining a clean garbage disposal using one of the above methods will help to keep it smelling fresh and odor free. You can encourage this by grinding ice cubes in the garbage disposal to clean the cutting blades. Simply place several cubes in the drain and grind. If you want to add a little bit of scent to the area, you can add rinds from any of the citrus fruits in the drain with the ice cubes.

Tip:  Always disconnect the power to the garbage disposal before putting your hands inside it.

Should bad odors persist despite your best efforts, you may need to call your Tacoma plumber who can determine whether there is a more serious problem causing the odor.
Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/freshdisposal#ixzz1ouYZU9oA

 

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The ABCs of Garbage Disposal Repair

January 23, 2012

Garbage Disposal RepairGarbage disposals offer King County homeowners and renters alike the convenience of ridding themselves of unwanted items quickly and easily. It’s a simple fix for various types of waste and a staple in most every King County home. But what happens if this handy device breaks down? In this article we will outline some simple plumbing tips and techniques to help you potentially fix your garbage disposal before deciding whether to call in your professional King County plumber.

1. Keep Your Hands Out of the Drain

Fixing a broken disposal is not worth losing a hand over. Keep in mind that there is a motor and a blade underneath the drain which can cause serious injury if you’re not careful. Be sure to unplug all parts prior to attempting any sort of repair.

2. Tighten All Connections

Check for leaks by running water through the removal and tighten any connections where leaks are apparent. You may also try taking the entire unit apart and replacing the seal. If the leak persists, you should replace the drain gasket. If all of these methods fail, it’s time to take the unit in for servicing.

3. Check Breakers

As the garbage disposal is an electrical device, it has been known to trip circuit breakers in some instances. Thus, it’s a good idea to check and see whether the panels have been turned off. In this case, all that is needed is to flip the switch and reset the disposal.

4. Freeing the Flywheel

The flywheel is the piece of the disposal that spins the impeller, which cuts up the waste. This piece may have become stuck, in which case you’ll need a hex wrench to free it. Find the hex hole under the unit, apply the wrench, and rotate it until the piece is loosened.

5. Maintaining the Impellers

If you suspect the issue is that the trash is not being properly shredded, you may need to sharpen the impellers. In this case, you’ll need to remove the entire unit. Once this is accomplished, remove the flywheel and take the impellers out the sharpen them. Based on the type of unit, you may even be able to leave the impellers in place while sharpening.

6. Clog Removal

Remove the bolts on the drain pipes and inspect for any readily apparent clogs. Remove anything that is stopping the passage of waste and replace the pipes.

If you’ve tried each of these possible solutions and still find you have a problem on your hands, if just may be time to call in a professional King County plumber. The damage you could potentially do by experimenting may end up costing you more in the long run. Play it safe, and when in doubt, ask for help.

If you are looking for a Tacoma plumbing contractor, please call 877-694-5176 or complete our online request form.

What Not To Feed Your Tacoma Garbage Disposal!

November 29, 2011

The garbage disposal was invented almost a hundred years ago and since then it has grown into popular use. This device helps clear the drains of food scraps that we may or may not intentionally put into the sink. And because of it, there are fewer plumbing repairs necessary for the kitchen sink and your Tacoma drainage system.

However, as amazing a plumbing product a garbage disposal may be, we still cannot simply put any kind of food scrap that we want into it. It cannot grind into small pieces everything that we put in there. Just like all mechanical and electrical products, it has limitations and our failure to follow instructions for its intended use might result in a clogged drain and the need to call your Tacoma plumber for help.

The following are some of the food items or scraps we must not put into a garbage disposal unit if we want to avoid any further plumbing repairs in your Tacoma home.

1. Bones

Specifically animal bones. This is because the garbage disposal is not strong enough to grind or chop such hard items. Even if the bones are already in very small pieces, the disposal can still have a hard time breaking them down and might result in some pieces of the bones getting stuck in one of the blades or crevices of the unit.

2. Egg shells

There is a myth that egg shells help in sharpening the blades of the garbage disposal device. This is completely false. Egg shells are hard enough to cause some blockage within the unit as not all of them can easily pass through the system.

3. Rice

This goes for both cooked and uncooked rice. Cooked rice further expands when it is submerged or exposed to water and that is exactly what happens when rice goes through the skin. Uncooked rice does not fare better. Aside from it being a very hard item for your Tacoma garbage disposal unit to break down, it also expands when put in water. Therefore it is still best to simply avoid putting any rice into the sink.

The same thing goes for pasta. Bits of it can get trapped in the unit and cause it to work harder with each use.

4. Grease

One of the top causes of drain blockage is grease and the garbage disposal unit, being a part of the drain, can also be affected. Grease solidifies and can cause clogging and eventually, damage to the unit.

5. Stringy vegetables

Celery, lettuce, and other related vegetables can cause some blockage in the disposal unit. Just imagine yourself chewing hard on a very stringy vegetable and you will have a good idea  why it can harm your drain and the disposal system. In very small amounts these vegetables can be ground, but it is best to simply avoid getting any of it into the drain.

Tacoma plumbing repairs can be avoided if we can just get rid of our old habits, such as absentmindedly throwing all scraps in the sink. Even the garbage disposal unit can’t work on every type of food and in the long run it will break down.

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