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How Do Garbage Disposers Work?
Garbage disposers all work according to the same principles. In most garbage disposer units, a high-torque electric motor spins a round turntable, sometimes referred to as a masher plate, which sits above the motor. The garbage is fed through an opening at the top of the disposer unit which is attached to the sink drain. The turntable has small metal lugs, kind of like little dull blades or teeth, which help to shred and diffuse the waste. This turntable is enclosed by a shredder ring, which is loaded with sharp slots.
The garbage drops onto the turntable, and the centrifugal force that's generated by the motor turns the table rapidly and forces the garbage to the outside of the table, where it gets shredded by the lugs, and goes through the shredder ring. The food waste then falls through the shredder rings' small holes where it is then shunted to the drainpipe.
You want to have cold water flowing through the disposer at the same time to help maintain flow and prevent clogging of the drain. We recommend a strong flow of water, maybe up to about two gallons per minute, and keep it running for a minute after you turn the disposer off.
Continuous feed disposers are activated by a wall or under counter switch, while batch feed disposers are activated by turning a stopper which presses against a switch.
Make sure that if you do any kind of work to your disposer, that you disconnect the power at the main disconnect.
Most disposer problems are caused by jams, clogs, and leaks.