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Is Garbage Disposal Plumbing Or An Appliance?

Garbage disposals are grinders that sit in your kitchen plumbing system. But they also use electricity to run. So what category do garbage disposals fall under; plumbing or appliance?

Garbage disposals are Plumbing Appliances, a special category for drain-connected or water-connected devices that use controls, motors, or heating elements to work. Since garbage disposals are part of the plumbing system and use electric motors, they are rightly called Plumbing Appliances.

Let us see in detail what a plumbing appliance and what devices fall under this category.

Is garbage disposal an appliance?

What are plumbing appliances

According to Wikipedia, an appliance is a device that is used to accomplish a household function. Ovens, stoves, vacuum cleaners, etc., fall under this category. Plumbing is any system that conveys fluids from one point to another. A plumbing fixture is any component that has a specific application in a plumbing system.

Garbage disposals fall under all these categories. They accomplish a household function, which is getting rid of food wastes, so they can be called an appliance. They are also part of a plumbing system that does a specific task, so they can also be called a plumbing fixture.

In fact, garbage disposals were called plumbing fixtures. But other plumbing fixtures like faucets, showerheads, etc., do not use electricity, and they do not have any motors or electric controls like garbage disposals. Therefore, it didn’t make much sense to call them fixtures, and so a new category was created for them by ICC (International lCode Council). This new category is plumbing appliances.

Plumbing Appliances is a new category created to include devices that are part of the plumbing system but dependent on one or more energized components like motors, controls, or heating elements to fulfill their functions.

Devices like garbage disposals, dishwashers, water softeners, water heaters, etc., fall under this category. (Source)

Who fixes Plumbing Appliances?

Since plumbing appliances like dishwashers, garbage disposals, etc are connected to water as well as electricity, people are not sure whom to call to repair them. Should you call a plumber or an electrician?

Plumbing appliances are usually installed and repaired by plumbers even though they run on electricity. Technically an electrician is needed to do the electrical side of the installation and repair. Still, in the case of these devices, a plumber knows more about them than an electrician.

So if a plumbing appliance in your home needs fixing, call a plumber.

Further reading:

My name is Thomas Anderson, author of DisposalQA. I have 15 years experience working as a plumber in CA, and this is where I answer common questions about garbage disposals.