By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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If you have ever wanted a question that would solicit never ending answers or opinions this one is it.  Everybody will weigh in based on personal experience, someone else’s experience, what someone has told them, or any other number of reasons.  In our experience we differ to the experts (no that doesn’t necessarily mean plumbers) the experts we speak of are the people who design and manufacture them.  After all they have a vested interest in telling you the way it is.  So here it is straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth.  Most anything you want to!  The caveat is of course that you pick a disposer that will accomplish that.  Speaking of horse’s, horse power is a major consideration in choosing a model to make that goal a reality.  There are varying sizes meaning power from 1/3 hp all the way to just over 1 hp.  Horse power is the strength of the machine. 

 It tells you how hard the motor will have to work to grind the material put in until it is satisfactorily suited to go down the drain.  Most people who opt for the smaller horse power generally do it with monetary goals in mind rather than getting the proper job done in mind.  In disposers and horse power the old saying is true, “bigger is better”.  Along with that some of the higher quality disposers will have multiple grind rings to make the material smaller for less drain stoppages down the road.  Nice additional features are noise level, and auto reversing when running, and you will not usually find that on less expensive models. 

Probably the second most important feature is a stainless steel grind chamber.  If a disposer has one it will usually never look worn when you look into it.  A steel grind chamber will rust out within a few years and will usually begin sending larger particles of food down the drain and cause drainage problems.  One of the major disposer manufacturers will tell you to put everything down but the kitchen sink.  This has to be taken with a grain of salt for this reason.  We have seen disposers grind up broken glass, pennies, and an assortment of other items.  This said large bones while being able to be ground up take some time to accomplish.  A plumbing professional is a good person to discuss this with prior to a purchase.  This does not mean a big box store clerk or associate, it means a plumbing contractor or licensed plumber. 

Now for a couple of tips:

1-    Don’t be afraid to grind orange, and lemon peels it will make the disposer smell nice right after. 

2-   Run cold water only when grinding products.  It makes them firmer so the grinding mechanism can grind them easier, and it helps them to move through the small holes without sticking so they can get into the drain.

3-   If you smell a foul odor it usually is decaying food particles that haven’t gone through the grind ring.  This can come from running hot water and making the food soft and more likely to stick as it is trying to run through.

4-   If you have the odors try three things.  First see if you can remove the gasket that is in the mouth of the disposer.  If you can turn it over, clean it off with soap and water.  Second put a batch of ice in while the disposer is running with cold water, it will help move the stuck particles of food down.  Third periodically run some small chicken, steak, turkey, or any other meat bones down it will accomplish the same thing.

5-   Don’t be afraid of running some water, meaning don’t race through the grinding process.  After all you don’t swallow your food after chewing twice.  Your disposer needs time and water to grind and flush the stuff down the drain.  Save water somewhere else, use a little more to move the product through the drain; you will save money on drain problems.  

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