I need a new garbage disposal! (Tips for those who are drain-challenged!)

Garbage disposals are so, so useful in your kitchen. If you're building a new home or remodeling your kitchen, no doubt a disposal will be a default appliance that will be installed. But what do you need to know when choosing a garbage disposal?

A garbage disposal is not a very attractive appliance, and of course it doesn't need to be. You want to install it and forget about it, at least for a while. Here's hoping you don't have any clogged, backflow or sewage problems you'll need a plumber for! Looking for a new disposal, much like any other kitchen appliance, can be overwhelming. There are many of models out there, and going affordable may not be the best approach if you want something of quality that will take you through many years of faithful service.

First, determine if there are any local regulations you need to abide by. If you are replacing an old model you won't need to pay attention to this. Some municipalities don't allow disposals because they place an increased strain on new sewer lines.

Another thing many homeowners assume is that their plumbing can handle any disposal system model, let alone a disposal system, period. You're most likely going to have a plumber at your home for piping and the like, so have a good conversation about what you can and can't install, and what models would be compatible with your plumbing. Your plumber might even have a good idea about electrical outlets. If you have one under your sink you can plug your disposal in right then and there versus wiring it into an existing switch elsewhere, or to one that's compatible with electrical needs. An electrician might also be able to help on that front.

A "small" garbage disposal has a motor that's just 1/3 horsepower. For a larger house and a larger family, a ½ horsepower motor would definitely be the much-needed alternative. And depending on just how large of a house and how large of a family—or how many dinner parties you host—there are even 1 horsepower models out there for residential use.

If you have a dishwasher, find a disposal unit with a dishwasher attachment. This will attach via a tube and allow food from the dishwasher to be flushed into the garbage disposal where it can be ground up and washed away.

Additional features and benefits should also be considered. One of the most important features should be stainless steel blades. These are harder and sharper and will last longer, plus they will grind up your food much finer. Also, consider the noisiness of the disposal, for the ease of your family. A manual reset button is a good safety issue, and a corrosion protection shield will help the disposal last longer.


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