A garbage disposal is a device installed under your kitchen sink that grinds up food waste to allow it to flow through your pipes and into the sewers. Garbage disposals are arguably a "green" waste disposal option, since they grind organic solids into a mixture that is mostly liquid, making it easier to classify as waste that can be processed into fertilizer.
If you're considering a garbage disposal, here is some information to bear in mind.
Typical Cost of a Garbage Disposal:
Garbage disposals generally run from $50 to $400, depending on the power level of the motor, which can be anywhere from 1/3 HP up to 1 HP. (HP stands for horsepower). Depending on your needs, you may wish to choose a more powerful unit to handle a large amount of waste. Certain types of food waste, such as vegetable matter, may require a more powerful unit to handle them without jamming.
Low-End Estimate for a Garbage Disposal: $90-$320 for a lower-powered model
High-End Estimate for a Garbage Disposal: $320-$430 for a higher-powered model
What to Expect:
Garbage disposals are available in two basic types: batch feed, which requires that the disposal be covered before it will run, and continuous feed, which will run constantly once it is turned on. Batch feed is safer for homes with small children, but it can be slower to use if you need to dispose of a large amount of food.
A garbage disposal installation is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project. An experienced plumber or electrician can install it for you, generally for around $100 in about an hour. Find recommended plumbers and electricians on Kudzu.
Installing a garbage disposal for the first time? Make sure you have enough room under your sink to accommodate a garbage disposal.
If additional electrical wiring is required to accommodate the garbage disposal, you could be looking at an extra $100-$200 for installation.
Due to corrosion issues, a stainless steel unit is highly recommended.
If you're looking for a disposal that isn't quite so noisy, you can find a super-quiet or soundproofed unit for an extra $50-$250.
If your home is on a septic system, you'll need to purchase a unit that is designed to work with septic systems. These units include additives that are combined with food waste to help break them down properly and prevent clogs or damage to your septic system.