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Disposals - Choosing and Using
No matter where you keep your kitchen's garbage can, food waste can be unsightly and
malodorous. It can also attract animals and insects and create unsanitary conditions around your

    Food waste disposals can eliminate this problem by grinding most waste
    right in the sink, where it's virtually liquefied to safely flow into your sewage
    system or septic tank. This leaves a cleaner food preparation area, and
    less garbage to clutter your kitchen.

       * Styles and Types
       * Impact on the Environment (septic & public systems)
       * Size/Cost Factors
       * Installation
       * Care & Maintenance
       * Thou Shalt NOT ...

Styles and Types
Most units are 'continuous feed' models where the on/off switch is typically mounted in the wall
above the counter.

This helps to ensure that the users hands are clear of the disposal when it's turned on. The mouth
of the unit remains open during the grinding process, protected by a rubber anti-splash baffle. That
allows food to be continuously fed into the disposal while it is running. This baffle must be replaced
periodically when it wears out.

The other type of unit is a "batch-feed model" which does not require a wall switch.

This type is activated by a twist-handle mounted on a lid inserted into the mouth of the unit. While
the lid allows water to pass through it, it blocks solid material from entering the disposal while it is
running. These units are safer because they're sealed off when power is turned on, but only the
'batch' of material already inside the unit is liquefied at a time, and this can be frustrating if there is
a lot of waste to be processed.

Impact on the Environment
Garbage disposals can safely be used with most septic systems.

A septic system is designed to safely treat and dispose of household waste from the kitchen and
bathroom(s). If your system is sized to handle a dishwasher or clothes washer in addition to sinks
and toilets, it can handle a disposal as well.

Wastewater flows into your septic tank, where solids that are lighter than water (such as grease, oils
and paper) float to the top and form a layer of scum.

    The only food waste that should not be poured into the disposal is grease,
    because grease buildup can cause major problems in the system.

The middle layer of partially clarified water flows through a distribution box that evenly disperses it
into your drain field. Gravel and soil then filter out pollutants and bacteria.
Solids that are heavier than water float to the bottom and form a layer of sludge. Naturally-occurring
bacteria in your septic tank help to decompose solid matter - but can't take care of it all. That's why
periodically, sludge must be pumped from your tank to keep solid overflow from contaminating your
drain field.

Standard garbage disposals actually help a septic system's breakdown process, however. The
grinding action that occurs each time you turn on the disposal actually increases the surface area
of the food particles by hundreds of times. This allows the food particles to be broken down that
much quicker by the bacteria within the septic tank.

If the waste particles are not broken down quickly in the septic system, they can settle to the bottom
of the tank forming a thick layer of sludge. As the sludge mass increases it effectively reduces the
working size of your septic tank.

That's why periodically, sludge must be pumped from your tank to keep solid overflow from
contaminating your drain field.

Enzymes, that are specifically designed for septic tank use, can be added to the disposal (or toilet)
each time it is used, to aid in the breakdown process. In most cases they are not necessary, but are
helpful, especially when sludge build-up is a concern.

For those who would rather not mess with having to manually add enzymes
to their septic systems, the In-Sink-Erator Septic Disposer® features an
injection system that automatically adds enzymes (brand name:
Bio-Charge®) to the grind chamber every time the disposal is activated.

    Bio-Charge® is a fresh, citrus-scented solution
    featuring natural microorganisms that help break
    down food waste.More than 300 million
    microorganisms start to digest food waste instantly -
    even before waste reaches the septic tank. (each
    cartridge lasts 3 to 4 months with average use, and
    is easy to replace.)

Inside the septic tank, Bio-Charge® accelerates the digesting action - breaking down food and
household waste, including toilet paper - thereby reducing scum and sludge and helping to keep
drain lines clear. No other additive is needed to keep your system working the way it was intended

It is a good idea, though, to compost some waste where practical and not throw it all down your food
disposal. Not only is this good conservation practice, but it also provides an inexpensive source of
rich fertilizer.

By putting a disposal in your kitchen, you're doing your part to help reduce a growing problem.
When food waste is dumped in landfills, bacteria and other harmful organisms can seep into the
ground and contaminate our water. Decades of scientific studies have shown waste disposal to be a
sound ecological alternative.

Learn more about  Septic & Sewage Systems

Size/Cost Factors
Residential disposal models are available in several sizes and capacities, and driven by motors of
1/3 hp to 1 hp.

The size of the unit and motor and the construction design are the principle factors affecting price,
along with the warranty period, which tends to increase with the size and power of the unit. More
expensive disposals are usually quieter, and offer extra features like auto-reversing motors. High-
end units are made of stainless steel and carry a 7-year warranty. The most popular models are ½
to ¾ hp continuous feed models.

Everything needed to install a new or replacement disposal in a standard kitchen sink is included
with the unit, including instructions.

However, disposal models do vary somewhat from year to year and replacements may not fit in
exactly in the same place as the old unit (even if it is the same model number and from the same
manufacturer). But generally just a few common parts are needed to make the change over.

It is recommended that you use the drain flange that comes with the disposal rather than a special
finish flange, because flanges are subject to strenuous abuse and decorative models may not be
built to take this abuse. They most likely will become tarnished or dull in time. Flanges provided with
disposals are tough and durable.

Care & Maintenance
When properly used, garbage disposals clean themselves.
Remember: Small amounts of fat are not harmful, but too much can solidify and clog your system

    * Grind food waste with a moderate flow of cold water
    When running your disposal, always be sure to run lots of cold water during grinding and 15
    seconds afterwards.

    * Grind hard materials such as bones, fruit pits, etc.
    Use small bones and fruit pits to clean grind chamber A scouring action is created by the
    particles inside the grind chamber.

    * Grind peelings and rinds from citrus fruits to freshen up drain smells

    * Dispose of coffee grounds in your disposal whether or not you are on metropolitan
    sewer or septic tank.

    * Flush disposal  Allow disposal and cold water to run after grinding or after draining sink of
    dish water.

    Periodically, and always after disposing of fibrous food wastes, purge the drain line by filling
    the sink with two or three inches of cold water. Turn on the food waste disposal and allow this
    water to run through with no wastes added.

    Some detergents are caustic; flushing will pass such material into the drain line without
    disposal damage.

    * Use a disposal cleaner, de greaser, or deodorizer as necessary
    Disposers may also be cleaned with Disposer Care®, generally available in major home
    centers, hardware, and grocery stores.

Before leaving your home for several days, check to be sure all wastes have been flushed out of
the disposal to avoid the occurrence of odors. If odors should occur through an oversight, they can
be removed by running orange or lemon peels or ice cubes through the disposal.

Thou Shalt NOT ...

    * DON'T put your hands into the grinding chamber - even if the disposal is turned off

    * DON'T pour or use hot liquids of any kind in the disposal when it is running
    It is OK to drain hot water into the disposal between grinding periods.

    * DON'T turn off motor or water until grinding is completed.

    * DON'T attempt to grind high-fiber foods such as corn husks, artichokes, celery stalks,
    as the fibers will clog the holes in the grinding chamber

    * DON'T attempt to grind shells such as clam or oyster shells

    * DON'T pour caustic materials into the disposal
    such as lye, chemical drain cleaners or similar products

    * DON'T put large bones or non-organic materials in the disposal such as glass, china,
    plastic, metal, plastic wrap

    * DON'T pour hot grease into the disposal (and never pour hot grease into any drain)

    * DON'T pour chemicals into the disposal such as paint, solvents, household cleaners &
    chemicals, or auto fluids

    * Don't be alarmed if a brown discoloration appears A brown discoloration on the face of
    the grinding disc is normal. It is surface discoloration only and will not affect the life or
    performance of the disposal.
Garbage Disposals
Source: Keidel
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