If you're used to cooking for a large family, you're no doubt familiar with the post-dinner mess: crumbs on the floor, spills on the table, and a pile of dishes with gunky, caked-on food scraps monopolizing your sink. If only it were safe to just wash those food remnants down the drain without having to worry about clogs.
Thankfully, it is if you install a garbage disposal. A garbage disposal is a device that's mounted to the underside of your sink and grinds food matter into small-enough pieces that they can safely fit down the drain. While some types of food scraps and liquids, like chicken bones or oils, should not be poured into a garbage disposal, softer foods like cooked meats and vegetables can be ground up easily.
How much does a garbage disposal cost?
HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost of a garbage disposal with a one-year warranty is $185. But you might pay more or less, depending on the unit you choose.
Benefits of getting a garbage disposal
The main advantage of a garbage disposal is that it makes cleanup after meals easier. Rather than have to move plates from your sink to your trash can to scrape off food waste, you can generally just dump everything down the drain, grind it up, and call it day, all without damaging your pipes.
Furthermore, having a garbage disposal limits the amount of food waste that needs to sit in your trash can. That could result in fewer problems with pests, not to mention help you avoid unpleasant odors that can accumulate.
Drawbacks of a garbage disposal
Like most household appliances, garbage disposals can break if you don't maintain them properly. You'll need to clean out your garbage disposal every few weeks to ensure that food particles don't build up, and you'll need to be careful to not send too much food down your disposal at one time to avoid clogs.
Furthermore, installing a garbage disposal means giving up precious storage space underneath your sink. If you don't have a lot of kitchen cabinetry, that may prove problematic.
Is a garbage disposal right for you?
Garbage disposals don't cost a lot and are fairly simple to install, so if your goal is to make meal cleanup easier, it may be worth a shot. That said, if your home has a septic system, you're probably better off skipping the garbage disposal, as sending those food particles into your system could cause it to clog or get backed up to an unhealthy degree. However, some manufacturers do make garbage disposals that are designed to be compatible with septic systems, so if you're going to try one out, be sure to choose a unit with that specific distinction. Keep in mind, though, that you might pay a premium for a septic-friendly unit.