Plumbing Blog

Disposals: Continuous or Batch-Feed?

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.


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.

Click here or call 877-694-5176 to schedule an appointment.


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