In this day and age, almost all American homes have a garbage disposal. The machine has become an essential tool for safely throwing away food scraps. Additionally, it helps us prevent food waste odor from clouding our kitchens. But have you ever asked yourself – how does a garbage disposal work?
We have created a fun and informative guide so you can understand how your disposer functions. You can learn about the parts of your disposer and how they work together to grind your food waste. Read all about the process below to discover just how does a garbage disposal work.
Breaking Down the Process – How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?
A garbage disposal unit usually goes through 3 main steps for introducing, grinding, and disposing of food waste. We’ll go into detail about each garbage disposer stage below.
1. Food Goes Down Sink Drain
Naturally, the process starts by putting scraps into your disposer’s opening – the sink drain. The sink opening likely has rubber flaps around it, which are part of the splash guard. As the name suggests, the part has the role of preventing the waste from splashing back up. It’s also an extra warning sign to never put your fingers in the disposer opening.
Depending on the type of disposer you have, you introduce food waste through the above-described opening. It’s best to cut larger foods into smaller pieces and to only grind biodegradable items. If you’re not sure about disposing of a certain item, read about what shouldn’t go in a garbage disposal.
2. Grinding Chamber Gets to Work
Once the food is pushed down with a steady flow of water, it enters the upper hopper chamber. The upper hopper contains the flywheel with impellers and the shredder ring. The impellers push the food waste onto the shredder ring, which is turned by the unit’s motor. As a result, scraps are literally shredded to pieces.
Garbage disposals use high-torque motors that generally range from 1 HP (750 W) to 1/3 HP (250 W). They can be induction motors (anywhere from 1,400 to 1,800 RPM) or universal motors, which rotate faster than the those in the former category. If you want a quiet garbage disposal, we suggest investing in a model with an induction motor.
3. Scraps Flush Down the Waste Line
After the food waste is all ground up, the flow of water pushes it to the waste line. From there, they go into the P-trap. The final step of the process is when the scraps are flushed into your water treatment plant. In some cases, they can reach your septic tank if your home has one.
How Does a Garbage Disposal Work Based on Type?
Garbage disposals are generally classified as continuous feed or batch feed. While they both follow the same grinding process, they differ in terms of introducing food waste.
Continuous Feed Garbage Disposals
The most common disposers are continuous feed. You can easily identify them by the wall switch operation they rely on. With continuous feed garbage disposals, you have to flick the switch on and gradually push food down the drain.
Batch Feed Garbage Disposals
On the other hand, batch feed disposals don’t use wall switches. Instead, they require a specific cover going on your sink drain to start. In this situation, you have to put the food in the sink drain and then apply the cover to get the grinding process going. Even though batch feed units are usually more expensive, they are appreciated for being safer.
Therefore, “how does a garbage disposal work?” is no longer a mystery. You now have a better understanding about your trusty disposer and how it makes scraps disappear. To ensure that your disposer keeps working like it did on day one, learn how to clean a garbage disposal the right way. You can also check out our garbage disposal maintenance tips for more disposer TLC guidelines.
Do you know any other cool facts about how does a garbage disposal work? Would you like to know more about any other part of the process? Let’s spark a discussion in the comments with your insight or questions below!