Exploring How a Garbage Disposal Works

Exploring How a Garbage Disposal WorksA garbage disposer is a kitchen appliance a lot of people mistake for a secondary miniature trash can built into the sink. Not only is that line of thinking very far from the truth, shoving trash and old food down a garbage disposer will cause it to malfunction. In order to understand why a garbage disposer isn’t just a trash can, as the name suggests, it can be helpful to learn more about how exactly this kitchen appliance works.

The Breakdown of a Garbage Disposal

From top to bottom, a garbage disposer is made up of the following components:

  • A stopper
  • A sink-mounted flange
  • A support flange and screws
  • A hopper
  • A stopper switch
  • An inlet for the dishwasher
  • A clamping ring
  • A motor housing gasket
  • A shredder and impeller
  • A drain chamber
  • A shredder housing
  • A drain
  • A power supply
  • A reset button

While the components may vary slightly depending on what type of garbage disposal you have, this is the basic makeup of any disposal.

So, How Does a Garbage Disposal Function?

Using a heavy flow of water, this appliance chews up anything that comes down the drain. The disposal will be mounted to the underside of the sink drain. It will either be hardwired, use a 120-volt box, or use a receptacle for power. If you take a look inside of the disposal, you will see a grinding chamber. The blades shred the food (and anything else you shove down the disposal) and then the impeller arm forces everything down the drain.

Putting Anything Down The Disposal Causes Problems

If you put too much down the disposal at one time or you put a lot of larger items down the garbage disposal, you can cause it to get clogged up. Putting more than you should into the disposal also causes the shredder blades and impeller arm to work harder than they need to. This causes your garbage disposal to stop functioning before it would have if it had been used properly.

Two Common Types of Disposals

While there are a plethora of different garbage disposals on the market for you to consider, there are two that are most commonly available. These include continuous feed disposals or batch feed disposers. A switch operates the continuous feed disposal anytime you run the water. The batch feed requires a separate stopper to be turned in order to function. Basically, you have to decide whether you want a garbage disposer that functions automatically when you are running water or if you want one that requires a separate switch to be pressed in order for it to turn on.

Batch feed disposals tend to be a little more popular as they are considered to be the safer option. This is especially true if you have children as you could have the switch to operate the disposal installed so it is out of reach of the children.

As you can see, garbage disposal is a fabulous kitchen appliance for breaking down small bits of food to prevent the food from clogging up your plumbing. It, however, is important to make sure the appliance is not being used as if it were a small trash can.