Automatic, electric garbage disposers are becoming increasingly popular in communities where civic garbage disposal is not available or where garbage collections are so infrequent that housewives are forced to store waste in large quantities while waiting for its collection.
The disposal unit, when attached to the drain of the kitchen sink, automatically disposes of kitchen wastes. It has proved so practical that at least one small town is reported to have installed disposal units in every home to replace the more expensive town incinerator.
The electric disposer operates by reducing waste placed in the kitchen drain to finely ground particles. Cold water from the sink faucet flushes the unit and impels the particles down the drain. Although the disposer will take care of small bones, such as those from a chicken, many feel that it makes too much noise when grinding them.
They are also harder on the grinding edges of the machine than normal waste. Large bones, metal, glass, shells, and similar objects will clog the machine and should never be placed in it.
Families with private sewage systems may find the automatic disposal impractical. It cannot be used with a cesspool and usually requires the enlarging of septic tank facilities. Never install a disposal without first making an accurate check of the capacity of your septic tank.
A house with three regularly occupied bedrooms, inhabited by a maximum of six people, needs a septic tank with a nominal liquid capacity of 600 gallons. The addition of an automatic disposer would require that the capacity be raised to 750 gallons. It would then be necessary to replace the old septic tank entirely or to install another of adequate capacity on the same sewer line.
Each brand of disposal unit has its own peculiarities, so it is impossible to give standard instructions to fit all of them. Nevertheless, all follow the same general principles. Do not attempt to install an automatic garbage disposer without first checking up on local electrical and plumbing codes.
The disposer is mounted on a special sink flange. Before it is connected to the house drain, the drain should be cleaned out with a mechanical snake or sewer auger. Crease accumulated over the years might clog up the disposer's action.
When the drain has been snaked out, the disposer is attached to the drain. If you have a dishwasher as well as a disposer, run their drain lines separately to the main soil line. If you do not do this, pressure from the disposer may cause waste water to back up into the dishwasher.
It will next be necessary to make the electrical installation. The mechanical unit is attached to the switch box provided by the manufacturer, with the house or line wires connected to the switch box. Because of the special skills required, you may find that the disposer should be installed by a professional. The number of eventualities that have to be taken into consideration, and the addition of electrical connections to the plumbing work is apt to make the installation too complicated for the amateur.