In some locations garbage disposals are required by law. But they’re handy everywhere when it comes to hygiene and convenience. Unfortunately, buying and installing a fairly high-end product can often set you back as much as $500, while cheaper appliances don’t always cut the mustard.
Resolving dilemmas like these is exactly why All The Stuff exists. We’ve covered some of the differences between economical and more expensive disposal units in a previous article, but we’ve also found that the bare sale price doesn’t tell the whole story. As we all know, buying on the cheap often turns out to cost much more. Yet there are a few other strategies you can consider.
Is It Possible to Buy a Used Garbage Disposal?
There are certainly plenty of used garbage disposals available, and they sometimes cost only half of what an equivalent new machine does. Is this, however, a false saving? My own philosophy, at least, is that financial planning should always be long term, unless you are really in a hole.
In terms of convenience, the amount of money you’ll actually end up saving probably doesn’t justify the extra effort spent in locating a trustworthy seller and determining exactly what condition the disposal is in. There’s also the lack of a warranty and the possibility of existing damage to worry about. The lifespan of any given disposal depends heavily on how it has been treated; you don’t really want to end up paying for the problems someone else caused by dropping teaspoons into the feed, or refusing to clean the machine regularly.
This leads to a final point about second hand garbage disposals: they are often simply nasty with mold and other substances. You might have no choice but to take care of the messes you created yourself, but you probably don’t want to install someone else’s stinking disposal in your own kitchen.
Can I Save Money by Installing my Own Garbage Disposal?
This question is a bit like asking “How long is a piece of string?” – the answer will vary for each situation. If you’re used to this kind of work, you’ll be glad to know that garbage disposals don’t have any special magic that distinguishes them from other machines. If you can do an adequate job yourself, you will save $80 or more on labor costs, as well as any profit the plumber makes on the disposal unit itself. There are several Youtube videos available to help you, including (probably) one for your specific model. You can also find a useful general guide over here.
If you’re not much of a DIYer, though, it’s more than likely that contracting a plumber will actually cost you less. In the first place, many tradesmen will immediately double their rates if they have to fix the mistakes made by their clients following a burst of enthusiasm for the mechanical arts. Secondly, although anyone can buy a garbage disposal online, this does require you to understand the specifications and types of disposal if you want to get an appliance that meets your expectations. A mistake here can cause expensive plumbing problems later, while faulty installation may also be enough to void your particular warranty.
How Many Bells and Whistles do I Really Need?
Although most self-respecting, independent plumbers won’t try to upsell you into something you don’t need, corporate employees are often ordered to do exactly that. Presumably, the customer is expected to be sufficiently smart to make the right decision, but without knowing enough to think of it themselves.
There are indeed a couple of tools and attachments which may improve your experience: a connection to the dishwasher’s drain, a septic tank treatment dispense, if needed, or an extra start button. Unfortunately, just a few extras like these can easily raise the total cost by $100 or so.
In most situations you don’t need the very best garbage disposal, the correct answer regarding specifications like power output and grinding method will be fairly straightforward and you won’t want to deviate from these. Except where safety is a factor, any optional extras should be seen as just that, and budgeted for if necessary rather than bought on impulse. Very often, buyer’s remorse sets in not because we didn’t get what we paid for, but because it cost more than we thought. With a little planning and homework, you can avoid this happening to you.