Garburators in Edmonton

This term is more of a Canadian term than in the rest of the world.  In the US the term used is garbage disposal or waste disposal.  I find about 1 in 3 people have a garburator hooked up to their kitchen sink in Edmonton.

There are only a few brand name garburators on the market.  The two big name brands are Insinkerator and Waste King.  Besides these there is also Kenmore, General Electric, Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid,   and Whirlaway (which is also made by Waste King).  I listed these in the order of which I have personally installed the units.  With the exception of the last 3 which I have not run across.

If you are looking for a garburator that is a little more quiet then listen to these from Insinkerator

Each unit installs slightly different from the other units.  In any case all the units are mounted to the sink drain where the basket strainer would normally go.  You will either need a rubber gasket or plumbers putty to install the drain assembly.  If you are installing on a sink that is not stainless steel you will need to know what you can use to seal the assembly and won’t stain your sink.  As plumbers putty will stain sinks other than stainless steel.


The purpose of the garburator is simply to remove food wastes rather than putting the waste in the garbage which in turn creates Methane or Greenhouse gases.  There are some areas of the world that believe this is better and other areas that believe this is worse on the environment.  You will have to do your own research to see how this affects your way of life and beliefs.


The garburator is a simply motor that turns a shaft with one or two pieces of metal attached to the shaft to force the food through small holes.  The food is chopped into sizes of about 2mm or less and then flows through your drains into the city sewer.

Types Of Garburators

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Insinkerator garburator in an Edmonton house.

There are two distinct types of garburators on the market.  Batch feed and continuous feed.

Continuous feed units are the most common that I have installed.  These require a switch that will turn the unit on and off while you are pouring down water and food scrapings.

A batch feed garburator does not have a switch, instead the unit turns on when you push the plunger for the unit into the top feed area of the unit.

My preference is the continuous feed.  This allows you to keep water flowing into the unit while the food is being shredding and also allows you to add more food.

The downside to continuous feed is if the switch is on the top is open and other things can fall into the opening.  Or worse yet a small child might be able to place their hand into the opening.


Some of the foods you do not want to put into your garburator are foods like raw potatoes or potato peels, onions, egg shells, coffee grinds, corn husks, bones of any type, or large amounts of rice and pasta.

As a plumber I have unplugged drains that have been plugged because of potatoes, egg shells, onions, and coffee grinds.  But large amounts of rice and pasta can also stick together after going the garburator and clog your drains.

I have had people wreck their units from bones, corn husks, banana peels, and even cherry pits.  I have also had to un-jam garburators that have a fork, bones, even a penny once, that has fallen into the garburtor jamming up the motor.  You do not want to call out a plumber for upwards of $200 for a small fix like that.

Also, please never place your hand into the unit without the power turned off at the breaker or disconnected from the power.  If the unit does turn on you will seriously damage yourself.

I also had one client that dropped down a scrubbing pad.  It was one of those plastic chore boys, which jammed up the garburator so bad that the unit needed to be replaced.

Most Common Problems I have Encountered

If the unit hums when you turn it on but does nothing else then there is something jammed.  You should have a tool that will allow you to un-jam the unit from the bottom.  Turn off the power, find the hole in the center of the shaft at the bottom.  Put the tool in, with the POWER OFF! and turn the tool in both directions.  This should knock out whatever caused the jam.  Now you might need to pull it out from the top.  In the worst case you will need to remove the unit and turn it upside down to get the debris out.

If the unit does not hum then find the reset button on the bottom plate.  Push the button and turn on the unit.  If it hums for a second then stops something is jamming the unit and blowing the breaker.  Use the tool as mentioned above and see if you can move the shaft easily.  If not the unit is jammed up with something.  If you can move it easily then the motor must be shot and needs replacing.

Over the years I have installed 100’s of garburators.  The newer more expensive models are certainly the new favorites for most people.  These have a larger capacity and have much less noise.

If you need a garburator installed in your home or any other plumbing feel free to give us a call at 780-264-0878

Kramer Plumbing and Radiant Heat

249 Grand Meadow Crescent NW, Edmonton, AB T6L 1W9

(780) 264-0878