Garbage Disposal (9 Helpful Answers!)

A kitchen without a garbage disposal is like a laundry room without a washing machine. Both appliances have fairly functional alternatives but the ease and convenience they provide cannot be matched.

Garbage disposals haven’t changed much since they were first invented in 1927, however, you will need some insight on how to select quality pieces, and properly install and utilize them.

Whether you’re looking to get garbage disposal or already have one, there’s a high chance that the questions we’d be answering in this article would be of value to you.

So, keep reading to find out what the 9 commonly asked garbage disposal questions are and our expert responses to each question.

Are Garbage Disposals Universal?

Garbage disposals come in different types, sizes, and materials and have varying features. The design or model you go with depends on the size of your kitchen sink’s drainpipe. So, they can’t be universal.

You can get these devices for as low as $100 and as high as $400. Make sure you go through online reviews when shopping for a quality model, this would help you make the right selection.

There are two types of garbage disposals currently being manufactured,

  • Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

Just as the name implies, a continuous feed garbage disposal functions non-stop. Once switched on these devices grind food waste without an end in sight.

Continuous feed garbage disposals are quite popular amongst buyers because they do an amazing job at grinding or shredding food into tiny pieces.

Despite how highly rated these types of garbage disposals are they have a few drawbacks. They are not water-efficient and consume a lot of power, so they are quite costly to operate.

Also, users have to be extra cautious about accidentally dropping items that are not food waste down the drain and reaching into the drain, as these types of garbage disposals are designed to grind endlessly.

  • Batch-feed Garbage Disposal

Batch-feed garbage disposals start grinding only when their lids are covered, they cost way more than the continuous feed garbage disposal because they have more grinding power.

This type of garbage disposal is both energy and water efficient which means that it doesn’t cost a lot to run.

If you accidentally drop anything useful down its channel, you can simply put your hand in and retract the item. Remember, it only grinds when the lid is on.

How High Should Garbage Disposal Be?

Your garbage disposal should not be higher than your sink’s drain pipe. We recommend that you install it at the same level as your drain pipe.

Kitchen sinks are typically 20-24 inches from the floor, so the distance between your floor and garbage disposal should be about 10-13 inches.

These units would ensure that there’s adequate space beneath your garbage disposal, this is important because it enables easy correction of installation errors.

Are Garbage Disposals Hardwired or Plugged in?

You can set up garbage disposal either by hotwiring it into a circuit or by plugging it into an outlet. Both methods work fine so it doesn’t matter which one you go with.

Here’s everything you need to know about the two ways of setting up garbage disposal.

  • Hardwired Set-Ups

Garbage disposals that require hardwiring are usually attached to a switch inside an electrical box.

This switch is usually located at the base cabinet of the sink or on the wall close to the sink.

Although most people hardwire their garbage disposal into the same circuit as their dishwasher, it is not recommended.

The safest way to install a garbage disposal with this kind of connector is by hooking it up to a dedicated circuit.

Hardwired garbage disposal has an uninterrupted power supply because installing it involves cutting through walls and inserting different wires connected to the main power supply of your home.

  • Plugged in Set-Ups

Plugged-in garbage disposals are way easier to install and un-install compared to hardwired garbage disposals.

They come with a cord that can be plugged into a socket outlet, this outlet should be placed on the wall close to the sink for easy access.

Usually, the cord for garbage disposal comes separately. When purchasing a cable, ensure it matches the voltage and amperage of your garbage disposal.

This method of setting up garbage disposal is undisputedly safer because when there’s an issue with the current or connection, you can simply unplug the garbage disposal or switch off the socket.

Does Garbage Disposal Need GFCI?

GFCI stands for Ground-fault Circuit Interrupter. It doesn’t need to be installed with the garbage disposal, however, it’d make a positive difference if it is, here’s why.

GFCI is usually installed to prevent people from getting electrocuted. These circuit interrupters are usually put where electrical circuits are vulnerable to water or may be exposed to water.

Whenever an appliance sparks or causes an electrical shock, the GFCI senses it and cuts the power before anyone can get hurt.

Although the National Electrical Code (NEC) states that your garbage disposal doesn’t need a GFCI protection, for safety reasons, it’s better you get one.

If your outlet is properly installed and protected from water, then you don’t need to get GFCI for your garbage disposal.

How Many Amps Does a Garbage Disposal Use?

The standard amps garbage disposals need when they are first used is 15 amps, they can also work efficiently on a circuit of 20 amps.

As I hinted at earlier, the more you use garbage disposal the lesser the number or amount of amps it’d function on.

You must know that the number of amps your garbage disposal needs solely depends on its size, and features or model.

Also, when electrical appliances are newly purchased, the amount of amp they operate on can be found in their instruction manual alongside other valuable pieces of information.

Is Glass in Garbage Disposal Bad?

Some people are of the opinion that grinding glass in a garbage disposal is good because it helps sharpen the disposal’s blades, but this causes gradual damage to the appliance.

Avoid putting materials that are not food waste in a garbage disposal, these can shorten the life span of the appliance. Certain food waste should be kept away from the garbage disposal too.

Food waste like coffee, animal fat, sizeable bones, shells, peanut butter, and the list goes on, are not good for garbage disposal.

What Size Drain Pipe for Garbage Disposal?

The drainpipe for garbage disposal is usually the same size as the drainpipe of a kitchen sink, so the pipe size is 1½ inches. It’s important that the two pipes connect.

Garbage disposals are made to fit whatever kitchen sink drain size there is. So, ensure that you buy a drainpipe size that matches the size of your sink’s drain.

Can You Have a Garbage Disposal with a Single Bowl Sink?

The answer to whether you can have a garbage disposal with a single bowl sink is a resounding yes. As a matter of fact, you can have a garbage disposal with any type or design of the sink.

Before installing your garbage disposal, ensure there is enough space underneath the sink for it.

The process of setting up garbage disposal under a single bowl sink is way easier than setting it up under a double bowl sink as there’s no second sink to do additional linking on.  

 Which Side of The Sink Should the Garbage Disposal Be On?

If you use a double bowl sink, the garbage disposal should be beneath the smaller sink or the sink on the left, as this is the sink where you do most of the washing.

Whichever sink you use to wash is the main sink where food waste is offloaded, so that’s the ideal side of the sink for your garbage disposal.

Although, it is the standard for a garbage disposal to be placed beneath the smaller sink or left sink. If it doesn’t seem suitable to you then place it wherever seems convenient.

Some people place their garbage disposal on the side of the sink where the dishwasher is located or on the side adjacent to where the drain pipe meets the wall.

Final Thoughts

Having a garbage disposal installed beneath your kitchen sink is an easy way to keep your kitchen clean-up routine mess and odor-free.

We hope we have been able to answer all the questions you may have on garbage disposals and we are always striving to put out more helpful content.