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EthanMars's avatar

Garbage disposal under a bathtub drain. Good idea? Or whacked?

Asked by EthanMars (70 points ) March 6th, 2012

I’m an architect, and a client wants me to spec a garbage disposal under the tub drain in a home to consume the gunk that would normally clog the flange. What do you Fluther people think of this?

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30 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I won’t say it can’t be done, but I have two key questions.

Will a garbage disposal handle the hair and gunk that normally clogs a tub drain?

How hard would it be to get to when it needs to be serviced?

Response moderated
saint's avatar

What do you care?

YoKoolAid's avatar

Perhaps your client is a big fan of Seinfeld

WestRiverrat's avatar

@saint well if @EthanMars puts his name on it and it creates an expensive mess to clean up and fix, it could kill his business. Never mind that it was the client’s idea, he is the professional that should know better.

chyna's avatar

@saint Nice answer to a new user.~

Response moderated
SpatzieLover's avatar

This seems illogical to me. As a property manager I can assure you, garbage disposals clog all the time.
_This would need to be readily accessed for service.
_The drain size isn’t that safe for a tub.
_A cheaper hair catcher would readily solve any tub clogging issues for a relatively low cost (and people still don’t like to clean out hair when it’s made easier for them)
_You would need access to the pipe below the disposal for snaking. Most likely, the hair clogs will still be in the pipe below the disposal.

john65pennington's avatar

This makes just about as much sense as installing a washer and dryer on the second floor of a house or condo.

Duh, what were they thinking?

You know that little key you use to unstop the garbage disposal in the kitchen? How would you ever reach it under a bathtub?

Brian1946's avatar

According to my domestic engineering consultant, Dr. Cosmo van Nostrand, it’s a great idea as long as it’s under a bathtub on the second floor or higher. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think it solves the hair and gunk problem? We need a plumber on the Q. I agree with @SpatzieLover it would have to be easily accessible. I also think it is too dangerous honestly. I guess you can keep a drain cover that would not allow someone to put their fingers in there, but really, a child could really harm himself. For instance, I don’t think stoves have knobs on the front anymore, because children could too easily twist them, the knobs are up on the top of the stoves. I would look for the best options for drain covers that catch hair and suggest those.

@john65pennington Washer and dryers on the second floor if the bedrooms are upstairs is genius. I always wanted that when my bedrooms were upstairs.

SpatzieLover's avatar

They’re genius until they flood. They truly are genius if done with a floor drain, easy access to water shut off and done in a room with tile up the wall…otherwise, they tend to make for thousands of dollars in reno @JLeslie. Often contractors put them in wrong, don’t watch for where the heat vents/returns are…which causing total flooding loss

chyna's avatar

@SpatzieLover That is exactly what happened to a friend of mine. The hose broke and ruined the upstairs flooring and the ceiling in the first floor. Thousands of dollars worth of damage.

SpatzieLover's avatar

^Yep we deal with this a lot at one particular property. What a mess! And, then if not re-done correctly, a mold issue develops.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Yes, I would assume a floor drain, and easy turn off, and tile flooring, with a tile baseboard. I have never had a washing machine flood, but I understand why there is risk. I have had my refigerator not hooked correctly and flood. My friends upstairs toilet flooded when she was away for the weekend and the ceiling was falling down by the time she arrived back home with water everywhere.

john65pennington's avatar

Jleslie…I answered a call where the washer and dryer were upstairs and the cold water pipe broke and water had flooded the downstairs living room, ruining everything.

On top of that, children were standing in 4 inches of water and the electricity was still on. I rushed them out the front door and cut off the power.

This is a major reason I would never trust a washer and dryer on the second floor.

HungryGuy's avatar

As both a programmer and a landlord, I subscribe to the KISS theory. Make things as least complex and least mechanized as possible.

Of course, if you’re an architect and your client wants something weird, I guess you don’t have much choice.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington Cold water pipes are upstairs anyway, for bathrooms, not just for washers.

john65pennington's avatar

Jleslie, true…..but you cut off the water when you leave the bathroom, but cold water pipe to a washer is always in the open position. This was a hose pipe to the cold water to the washer.

HungryGuy's avatar

@john65pennington – That’s not true. Nowadays, most washer fittings have one single lever which shuts off both the hot and cold water lines. Plus, I use metal-reinforced supply hoses to washers, dishwashers, etc. that are rated to umpteen thousand PSI of water pressure.

JLeslie's avatar

@John65Pennington Buildings with washing machines in every unit have them on every floor. Sure, once in a while one floods, other things flood too.

My washer has a turn off valve on the wall for the water.

john65pennington's avatar

Hungry, only talking about at the faucet where the hose screws onto it. It stays open all the time.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, my discussion is over. I do hope better safety measure have been taken to insure people with washer and dryers on the second floor, are living in a safe environment.

augustlan's avatar

My initial instinct is “genius!”. If it would actually work on hair, etc. But, it would need to be easily accessible, and have safeguards in place. It may be more trouble than it’s worth.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

What does the code say about it?

SpatzieLover's avatar

^I highly doubt this would be permissible @MollyMcGuire. My guess is that if anyone has done this, it’s been done it after inspection.

MadisonPaige's avatar

I have no right to tell you what you can talk about in your forum, but if I could beg your kindness please don’t joke about serial killers around Ethan.

I don’t know anything about building codes and architecture, so I’m trying to convince him to come back and follow up on your comments.

Response moderated
Response moderated
EthanMars's avatar

As far as I know, the building codes in my city don’t specifically prohibit a garbage disposal under anything but a kitchen sink. Or if they do, I can’t find the code about this specific situation. The NEC (National Electrical Code) only requires that electrical devices be accessible. The NSPC says pretty much the same thing. That means an electric junction box or device can’t be sealed behind a wall. I have some friends in the building trades that I usually defer such questions to, but they’re not sure either. If someone in the trades here can point to a particular code prohibiting this, I’d appreciate it. I live in a city in eastern PA, by the way.

And your comments are useful. Thank you. I’ll pass your advice to the client, the likes and the risks.

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