It is important to understand how a garbage disposal works so you can get the best out of it. It will also help you to fix it in case there is any malfunction.
Apart from keeping the kitchen smelling fresh, garbage disposals also potentially reduce bacteria that are harmful and make cleaning up after meals a breeze. They do these by chewing up food scraps that are fed down the drain with a heavy flow of water. But just like every other appliances, they don’t last forever.
Disposers malfunction occasionally or die and when such occurs, you will need a little know-how or information in order to replace or repair it. Lugs or impellers make use of centrifugal force to force waste particles continuously against a static grind ring.
As it spins, it grinds the debris through the blades into particles that can easily be flushed down the drain. Garbage disposals rely on a lot of water to turn the food bits into slurry so they are easily flushed through the drain. From there, the wastes flow to your septic tank or water treatment plant.
A high-torque, insulated electric motor, normally rated at 250-750 watts for most domestic units, spins a circular turntable that is mounted horizontally above it. This electric unit is usually hooked up to your sink drain and it pulverizes leftover food and washes it away into the sewer. Some of them have a cylinder which contains a series of blades or grinders depending on the model, make and age.
There is usually a rubber closure at the top of the disposal unit that stops food waste from flying back up out of the grinding chamber. This can also be used to reduce noise from the grinding chamber for a quieter operation. But commercial or high-end disposals have additional blades attached beneath the turntable. The work of these blades is to chop up waste that would normally bypass the primary stage (grind ring) and clog the pipework.
Will Your Garbage Disposal Work With Your Septic Tank?
Garbage disposals are very good for the environment because they help cut down on the amount of waste going to landfills. All the waste water from the home goes into your septic tank and since some solids like oil, grease, etc. are usually lighter than water, they tend to float on the top and then form a layer commonly known as scum. But other solids are heavier which makes them sink to the bottom where they form sludge.
Virtually every septic tank contains naturally occurring bacteria that help in decomposing solid waste and there is often too much for it to handle on its own. Therefore you will need a sludge pump from your tank to prevent it from overflowing into your drain field. This releases millions of enzyme-producing microorganisms into your disposal and these enzyme treatment is usually environmentally friendly and it is made of naturally occurring bacterial already in your septic tank. Please note that most of these enzyme treatment don’t have harmful chemicals therefore, they won’t hurt your septic pipes or system.
Of course there is more to how a garbage disposal works than those described above. But if you understand the simple techniques highlighted above, you will be able to use to fix some basic problems you may come across when operating your unit.