pros and cons of garbage disposals

Garbage Disposal Pros and Cons: Do I Need It?

Considering the pros and cons of installing a garbage disposal can be quite a debate. These kitchen appliances are essential for grinding food scraps and preventing unpleasant odors. However, they are not designed to handle all types of waste as these systems can easily become clogged with food debris if not cleaned regularly. 

So, whether you are a seasoned homeowner or a first-time user, we’ll go over the pros and cons of having a garbage disposal in your home! 

Key Takeaways

  • Garbage disposals grind food scraps and help prevent kitchen odor.
  • Garbage disposals need to be used carefully to avoid issues like food debris clogging the system. They can’t handle all types of waste, like bones and stringy foods, so they need to be cleaned regularly to work well.
  • With the ever-evolving garbage disposal technology, homeowners are always seeking upgrades. Staying current with kitchen innovations can become a draining maintenance cycle.
  • The two main types of garbage disposals are continuous feed and batch feed. Continuous feed is used for ongoing waste addition and batch feed is for added safety. Choosing the right one depends on factors like power, noise, and installation preferences.

Garbage Disposal Advantages

There are many benefits of having a garbage disposal:

  • Saves effort in cleaning up for small food particles after a meal
  • Help prevent the buildup of foul odors in your kitchen sink drain
  • No more scraping small particles of uneaten food into the trash can
garbage disposal system under sink

Reducing Food Waste and Foul Odor

Garbage disposals have revolutionized the kitchen, offering an efficient solution to manage food waste while keeping odors under control.

Dealing with food scraps can be a real headache, especially when you’re cooking for a big family. Those pesky leftovers have a way of piling up in garbage cans, causing all sorts of inconveniences. But by effortlessly grinding up food scraps, they reduce the risk of unpleasant smells in trash cans and keep your kitchen odor-free.

Easy Installation and Maintenance

Installing a garbage disposal may seem complicated, but it’s actually easier than you think! Garbage disposals are designed to easily fit under most kitchen sinks and only need a power source and a connection to the kitchen sink drain pipe for installation.

garbage disposal installation from plumber

Maintaining your garbage disposal is simple. To keep it running smoothly, follow these steps: always run cold water while it’s in operation, avoid putting fibrous foods like celery and banana peels down the disposal, and regularly freshen it up by using a mixture of ice cubes and rock salt.

Remember to regularly clear out any remaining food scraps from the garbage disposal basket. Before removing the scraps, ensure the fuse box breaker for the disposal is switched off. The most convenient method for removing food scraps is by using a wet/dry shop vacuum.

Increases Home Value

Having a garbage disposal installed not only adds value to your home but also enhances its overall appeal. Homebuyers seek modern conveniences that enable an efficient lifestyle, and a quality garbage disposal system checks this important box.

Installing kitchen upgrades like a top-of-the-line garbage disposal can significantly impact a home’s market appeal, potentially increasing its value by up to $3,500. Buyers perceive these upgrades as long-term features and signs of a well-maintained, contemporary residence.

So, if you’re thinking of selling your home in the future, consider investing in a garbage disposal now to reap the benefits later.

Garbage Disposal Disadvantages

Despite the advantages of a garbage disposal, they come with drawbacks. For instance, they can easily jam or clog if not used properly. These issues can occur more frequently as the appliance gets older. Also, certain items such as fatty substances, starchy foods, and hard materials should not be processed by the garbage disposal to avoid damage.

Another factor to consider is when parts of garbage disposal wear out, it often requires the whole unit to be replaced rather than fixing the individual component. Garbage disposals are not designed to be opened and their motors or internal components are not sold separately. As a result, the unit itself cannot be repaired. However, it is possible to address a clog in a garbage disposal. 

food debris and leftover food clogging drain pipe in sink

Clogs and Jams from Food Scraps

Garbage disposals, while convenient, are vulnerable to clogs if not used and maintained properly. Over time, food particles and waste can build up, leading to blockages that can disrupt the functionality of the appliance.

You might be wondering how you can prevent clogs and jams in your garbage disposal. It’s all about proper use. Running cold water before, during, and after disposing of food scraps is a good practice.

Running the disposal with cold water, even when there is no waste, is also beneficial as it helps prevent parts from seizing up and avoids potential clogs in the future.

drain cleaning for buildup of food scraps in garbage disposal

It’s equally important to keep the disposal and water running for an extra minute after grinding the food scraps. This helps flush out any remaining particles and reduces the risk of clogs.

Remember, while garbage disposals are designed to reduce kitchen drain clogs, improper usage or overwhelming the system can lead to clogs and backups. Especially in homes with older or more constricted plumbing, cautious use of garbage disposals is required to mitigate the heightened risk of clogs.

Limited Capacity and Food Restrictions

Despite its name, the garbage disposal unit isn’t equipped to handle all types of food scraps. For instance, certain foods should not go down the garbage disposal like:

  • Fatty foods
  • Cream sauces
  • Coffee grounds
  • Starchy and soft foods
  • Bones or seafood shells
  • Fibrous foods, fruits, and vegetables
chart showing what cannot go down garbage disposal

Did you know food debris can damage your garbage disposal? Not only can it cause clogging, but garbage disposals have a limited capacity for grinding up food waste. Homeowners should avoid putting large or hard items down the disposal to prevent clogging their plumbing.

Understanding the proper use of what your garbage disposal can handle is crucial to overcoming these issues. Therefore, it’s important to understand that ‘garbage disposal’ is a term implying a more selective process rather than a catch-all solution.

These disposal systems are designed to only handle small amounts of food scraps. These scraps typically come from leftover food stuck on plates that cannot be easily removed over a trash can. Getting rid of these stubborn scraps often calls for the use of hot water and good old-fashioned scrubbing.

Regular Maintenance To Protect Kitchen Drainage System

Like any other appliance, garbage disposals require regular upkeep for efficient operation. Keeping your disposal clean on a regular basis prevents food particles from lingering inside the disposal.

plumber maintenance for garbage disposal

Weekly cleaning of the garbage disposal is necessary to maintain its performance and prevent clogs. Here are some tips to keep your garbage disposal in good condition:

  • Use ice cubes, rock salt, vinegar, and baking soda to clean the garbage disposal.
  • Run the garbage disposal at least once a day with cold water to prevent rusting of the blades.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals as they may cause damage to the garbage disposal blades and drains.
  • If the garbage disposal is old and screeching, spraying a WD 40-type lubricant can sometimes eliminate the sound.

Constant Need for Upgrades

Despite their robust construction and advanced features, garbage disposals are not immune to wear and tear, and will eventually require replacement. Over time, the blades can dull, motors can burn out, and leaks can develop, signaling the end of the disposal’s life cycle.

Homeowners should be aware even with proper maintenance and care, the day will come when their garbage disposal will need to be upgraded to a new, more efficient model.

Types of Garbage Disposals: Continuous Feed vs. Batch Feed

Having evaluated the pros and cons of garbage disposals, let’s explore the different types available on the market. There are two primary types: continuous feed and batch feed. Each comes with its own set of convenience features and safety measures.

continuous feed versus batch feed in kitchen sink

Continuous feed disposals allow you to flush food particles while the unit is running, making it ideal for those who enjoy multitasking in the kitchen. On the other hand, batch feed disposals increase safety by requiring the unit to be covered with a stopper before use. This prevents foreign objects like spoons and forks from accidentally falling in while running.

Continuous Feed Disposals

Continuous-feed garbage disposals are increasingly popular, and rightly so. They allow users to:

  • Choose from a diverse range of available models
  • Add in food waste while the unit is running, making the disposal process quite convenient

Apart from the convenience, continuous feed models are often more affordable than batch feeds, providing a cost-effective option for many households. However, while they offer convenience and affordability, they can pose safety risks around young children and may consume more water and power during operation.

Batch Feed Disposals

Batch-feed garbage disposals provide an elevated safety level, making them a preferred choice for households with a septic tank. They operate only when the special drain cap or stopper is in place, which prevents accidental operation and eliminates the risk of objects falling into the unit while it’s running.

kitchen sink with drain cap to block drain opening

An added advantage of batch feed disposals is their activation method. The unit can be activated simply by placing a stopper over the disposal, eliminating the need for a wall switch. This makes them particularly suitable for areas like kitchen islands where an electrical wall switch is inconvenient or unavailable.

Choosing the Right Garbage Disposal for Your Home

Selecting the appropriate garbage disposal for your home is a crucial decision. Choosing the right system for your home includes considering the power, noise level, and activation method of your desired disposal. For instance, higher horsepower motors can handle slightly more difficult foods but should be chosen cautiously based on the condition of the home’s plumbing.

Power and Noise Level Preferences

When it comes to power, a 1/2 horsepower disposal is an ideal size for most kitchens. It can handle a wide range of food waste without jamming. Batch feed garbage disposals generally come with higher horsepower and added sound insulation, making them more expensive than a lower horsepower continuous feed.

Don’t forget to factor in the noise level before choosing a disposal. Quieter models come equipped with sound insulation, operating at 45 decibels. That’s a significant improvement compared to the average 80 decibels produced by regular units. After all, who wants a noisy appliance in their kitchen, right?

Rescue Plumbing’s Garbage Disposal Services

Whether you’re thinking about installing a new garbage disposal or replacing an outdated one, Rescue Plumbing is at your service! With our tailored garbage disposal services, you’re guaranteed proper installation for your household needs.

plumber near me servicing garbage disposal

For immediate needs, our team of expert plumbers always comes prepared, carrying two types of garbage disposals in their trucks to ensure any garbage disposal issues can be tackled promptly and efficiently.

Installation and Replacement

Every garbage disposal installation and replacement performed by Rescue Plumbing adheres to strict local building codes. Our team goes the extra mile, conducting a thorough inspection of your sink and plumbing system to ensure flawless compatibility and exceptional performance.

plumbing service providing fully stocked van

Besides installations, we can carry out efficient replacements for leaky or malfunctioning units. With extensive expertise in a wide range of garbage disposal brands and types, you can count on us for nothing less than outstanding service.

Repair Services

If you’re encountering problems with your garbage disposal, there’s no need to worry. Rescue Plumbing offers garbage disposal repair services in Chicago for issues such as:

  • Leaks
  • Clogged disposals
  • Disposal stops working
  • Other malfunctions in garbage disposals

Our plumbers are equipped to repair all of these common issues.

Using advanced diagnostic tools and techniques, Rescue Plumbing can accurately identify the issues with malfunctioning garbage disposals, ensuring our repairs are targeted and effective. You can count on Rescue Plumbing to fix your garbage disposal in no time!


Garbage disposals can be a great addition to any kitchen, offering convenience by reducing food waste, minimizing kitchen odors, and increasing the value of your home.

However, they do come with their own set of considerations, including potential clogs, limited capacity, and the need for regular maintenance. Understanding the different types of garbage disposals and their features can help you make an informed decision.

If you decide to install, replace, or repair your garbage disposal, our licensed professionals offer comprehensive services to ensure your garbage disposal performs optimally.


The disadvantages of a garbage disposal include the potential for clogging, jamming, and breaking, especially when the wrong type or too much food is dropped in. It’s a common issue, but pressing the reset button may help resolve it.

Another disadvantage is the amount of upkeep these devices regularly demand as well as having to constantly upgrade garbage disposals once the device completely shuts down.

While homeowners might initially find garbage disposals to be convenient, it is important for them to be aware of the potential drawbacks that come along with them. These drawbacks include potential plumbing issues, limited restrictions of use, and the need for regular maintenance. It is crucial for homeowners to carefully consider these factors before installing a garbage disposal in their homes.

A garbage disposal can save you time, reduce food waste, minimize kitchen odors, help with eco-friendly waste disposal, and increase the value of your home. Plus, they’re easy to install and maintain. So, it’s a win-win!

Schedule an appointment with Rescue Plumbing today for professional installation, repair, or replacement, and ensure your kitchen is fully operational with no delays!

The different types of garbage disposals are continuous feed and batch feed. A continuous-feed garbage disposal allows waste to be added while it’s operating, making it perfect for high-efficiency kitchens. A batch-feed garbage disposal, on the other hand, requires the user to secure a lid to the system before processing, ensuring user safety.

You can choose the one that best fits your needs!

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