You would be hard-pressed nowadays finding a home that does not have a garbage disposal installed in the kitchen. Most of us have learned to depend on them as a necessary workhorse in our homes. With this incredible amount of use comes misuse as well. There are many food items you can put in a garbage disposal, but there are also a lot of items that you SHOULD NOT put down a disposal.
That can be a difficult question, but we suggest nothing smaller than a 1/2 hp garbage disposal. We have seen many 1/3 hp disposals in apartments especially, but we do not recommend them. They are less expensive, but the upkeep could end up costing you more in the long run because of frequent jams and other issues. We have seen property managers and owners of apartment communities take the garbage disposals out all together because of frequent and costly problems with them. It is likely they only needed an upgraded disposal. We tell those with more than two bedrooms in their homes or apartments to install a 3/4 hp or larger garbage disposal.
Below are the three most common repair needs for your garbage disposal. We can fix or replace your disposal for you generally in under an hour in most instances.
Leaks are the number one problem we run into with garbage disposals. They can leak from the seal where they connect to the sink, from the drain hose running from the dishwasher, the drain fittings, and from the unit itself. The first three leak issues can easily be repaired, but if the garbage disposal is leaking from anywhere in the housing it will have to be replaced.
Your garbage disposal can jam when items are put in that should not be there. The most common culprits that cause a disposal jamb is pieces of metal like utensils, jewelry, bottle caps, and pull-tabs that get caught in the shredder plate and it cannot turn. Plastic bags that accidentally end up in the disposal can also cause a jam. Generally you will hear a "humming" sound, and if left running your disposal will overheat and shut off requiring a reset or repair.
If you put potato peels, carrot peels, or any other starchy substance in your garbage disposal you are just asking for a clog. Grease is another no-no. Many think if they run hot water in their sink while pouring bacon or hamburger grease into their disposal with the disposer running it will not be a problem. The fact is that grease actually floats on water and when it gets to a cooler part of the drain it will solidify. Grease will build up over time and eventually clog the drain. If not under the sink itelf, further down the drain line where it will be harder to locate.