Garbage disposals make life - and kitchen clean-up - a whole lot easier. Fortunately, installing a disposal is pretty easy too - especially when your sink is solid enough to anchor it and your kitchen's wiring and plumbing are disposal-ready. When in doubt, it's wise to check with a garbage disposal contractor.
Options: Continuous vs. Batch Feed
Two types of garbage disposals are available - continuous feed and batch feed. Both send waste through your sewer or septic system, but each feeds waste in a different way. Consider the following when deciding which disposal will work best for you.
Continuous Feed ($170 average cost)
- Continuous feed disposals are most common.
- These disposals allow you to feed waste as long as the power switch is turned on, permitting for disposal of larger amounts of waste without delay.
- Continuous feed disposals are least expensive.
- Continuous feed disposals cost less than batch feed.
- Since no cap is necessary, and the machines run constantly when the switch is on, silverware, bottle caps, and even fingers may become caught in the disposal.
- Grinding requires running water.
Batch Feed Garbage Disposals ($220 average cost)
- As the name suggests, batch feed disposals grind your kitchen waste in batches.
- Batch feed disposals operate like continuous feed disposals but are activated with a special cover that also keeps items from falling into the grinder.
- Because no food can be ground while the disposal is in use, this system is less convenient for households with high amounts of waste.
- Batch feed disposals are ideal for composters or others who don't generate a great deal of waste.
- Bacteria may grow when food sits in the disposal for an extended period of time.
Cost of Initial Installation
Garbage disposals can range from $70 on the low end to $380 on the high end - and generally speaking, you get what you pay for. A less expensive unit is likely to produce more noise, require more water, and clog more easily than a higher-end model. Likewise, a more expensive unit will be faster, quieter and less likely to malfunction than a lower end model - and it will be lighter-weight and offer greater capacity as well. The average cost of a garbage disposal installation with a one-year manufacturer’'s warranty is $185. The average amount of time taken to install a garbage disposal, including cleanup, is three hours. The hourly cost for labor will range from $20 to $40 - $28 on average.
Cost of Wiring
In the event that you do not have a grounded outlet to power the garbage disposal, you will need to install one. Adding a grounded outlet may cost as little as $5 when existing electrical wiring is placed a short distance away, plus an additional $75 for the electrician's labor. If a new grounded outlet needs to be added and electrical wiring does not yet exist, it will likely cost around $90, depending on labor and parts. If your project requires the addition of a new switch and wire, plan to spend an average of $5 to $10 on materials, plus about 30 minutes of labor at an average cost of $75 an hour.
Most garbage disposals are made with stainless steel blades, which prevent corrosion and prolong the life of the blade. A garbage disposal should be replaced when its blades begin to dull. The cost of replacing a garbage disposal is comparable to that of installing a new one - and wiring should already be in place.
Should your disposal suddenly cease to work, check its overload protection. A red button on the bottom of the disposal trips when the disposal becomes jammed or overloaded to prevent damage and motor burnout. Unplug the disposal, push the button and remove the jam. Some high-end models can sense a jam and will automatically reverse the direction of the blades.
Accessories and Other Considerations
Even garbage disposals offer upgrades. Consider whether one of these additional accessories may be appropriate for use in your home as well:
- Treatment Dispenser: If you have a septic tank, you may consider a treatment dispenser, which can be attached to most garbage disposals at an average cost of $40. This dispenser will treat the septic tank and prolong its life. Some garbage disposals also come with scent release mechanisms for use with septic tanks.
- Dishwasher Drain Connectors: Drain connectors will run dish water through the garbage disposal. The fitting for this mechanism can cost anywhere from $9 to $15 - $11 on average.
- A Push-Button System: push-button may be used to start the garbage disposal when a switch is placed in an inconvenient location. Push-button kits cost about $40.
- A Baffle: This $10 tool keeps unwanted items such as silverware from entering the garbage disposal - protecting both your silverware and the disposal itself from unnecessary wear.