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Garbage Disposal Air Switch: The Definitive Guide

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Garbage disposal air switches are a convenient way to operate your garbage disposal. They are simple to use and  surprisingly easy to install. If you own a garbage disposal, you should definitely consider installing a garbage disposal air switch.

This article will cover what you need to know about air switches for garbage disposals. How to use them, the pros and cons of having one, and how they are installed. We'll even show you our favorites to help you begin shopping. If you're considering purchasing a garbage disposal switch, this article will give you the information you need to know.


Sink Top Air Switch Kit Air Button for Garbage Disposal with Aluminum Alloy Power Module (SHORT BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL BUTTON) by CLEESINK

What is a Garbage Disposal Air Switch?

A garbage disposal air switch turns on your garbage disposal with the press of a button by sending a pulse of air through PVC tubing to a control box located under your sink.

Most modern garbage disposals are able to be outfitted with disposal air switches, and it's rarely necessary to purchase the same brand of switch as your disposal since they all work basically the same.

Although, most air switches have limitations on the size of disposal they can handle, (i.e. can handle up to 3/4-horsepower garbage disposal) they are typically compatible with the most common sizes.

How a Garbage Disposal Air Switch Works

There are three parts to a garbage disposal air switch:

  • Countertop button
  • PVC tubing
  • Control box/air switch

When the countertop button is pushed, a pulse of air is sent through PVC tubing to a control box located under your sink.

The garbage disposal is plugged into the control box, which is plugged into a wall electrical outlet. When the pulse of air reaches the control box, it activates the internal air switch, and the garbage disposal turns on.

Press the countertop button again, and your garbage disposal turns off.

Watch the Video

Electrical Requirements

Since the countertop garbage disposal button doesn't rely on electricity to activate the air switch within the control box, they're much safer and easier to install than a traditional wall switch.

You won't need to worry about the risk of electrical shock if you have damp hands or the countertop button gets wet. Which is always a concern when garbage disposals are activated with an electrical wall switch.

Provided you have a standard 120v electrical outlet under your sink, you should be able to install the air switch kit yourself without assistance. Most modern homes are built for garbage disposal use, so most have this outlet in place.

Sink Top Air Switch Kit Air Button for Garbage Disposal with Aluminum Alloy Power Module (SHORT BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL BUTTON) by CLEESINK

How to Install a Garbage Disposal Air Switch

Although, you can always hire someone to install your garbage disposal switch, it's actually a very easy process. There are two reasons you may want to hire someone to do the install for you.

First, if you don't have a 120v electrical outlet under your sink; and second if you need to drill a hole in a countertop.

Many sinks are designed with a pre-drilled hole for a soap dispenser. These holes will easily work for the garbage disposal button. Although, in some cases, you may need to drill a hole in the countertop, if this is the case, you may want to consider hiring a professional if you're not comfortable doing this on you own.

Step-by-Step Directions on How to Install a Garbage Disposal Air Switch

  • Insert the tube into the bottom of the air switch button.
  • Feed the end of the tube through the hole in your sink or countertop.
  • Insert the air switch into the hole in your sink or countertop and place a heavy object on top to prevent it from moving.
  • Determine the amount of tubing you need to comfortably reach the outlet. Cut off the excess. You may want to store the extra tubing in a safe place in case you need to replace your PVC tubing in the future.
  • Secure the countertop button in place by running the washer and seal up the tubing and tightening it to the threads at the bottom of the button. 
  • Insert the end of the tube into the control box/air switch.
  • Plug the control box/air switch into the electrical outlet.
  •  Plug the garbage disposal into the control box/air switch.

Watch the Video

Pros and Cons of Garbage Disposal Switch

There are many advantages to using an air switch to activate your garbage disposal. Here's a look at some of the pros and cons:

Pros

Safety - First and foremost, air switches are very safe. Even though the control box/air switch is plugged into an electrical outlet under the sink, there's no electricity at the point of contact with the countertop garbage disposal button. Thus, reducing the risk of electrical shock.

Design Options - There's plenty of styles and color options available to match your kitchen decor.

Ease of Use - Because the countertop button is mounted on or near the sink, it'll be in easy reach to activate. Simply reach over and tap the button to start and tap again to finish.

Easy to Install - Garbage disposal air switches are extremely easy to install. In most cases, you'll have yours up and running in less than half an hour!

Cons

Additional Cost - Unfortunately, air switches are considered an add-on feature and aren't included when you purchase your garbage disposal. So, if you want one, you'll need to purchase it separately. They aren't too expensive, but they will increase the overall cost of your disposal.

Not Compatible with All Garbage Disposals - Although air switches work with the majority of garbage disposals, they don't work with all. Especially older models or heavy-duty large models. Before buying an air switch, double check that it's compatible with your disposal. Most likely it is, but it's a huge hassle when it isn't.


Moen AS-4201-BG Garbage Disposal Air Switch Coordinating Decorative Button, Brushed Gold

Troubleshooting

One nice thing with the simplistic design of garbage disposal air switches is that there isn't a lot that can go wrong. If you find your air switch isn't operating as expected, then the first thing you need to do is determine which part is causing the problem.

To do this, simply press the countertop push button. If you hear a click, then the air switch is sensing air pressure and the problem is NOT the countertop push button.

However, if you do not hear a click, the air switch is not sensing air pressure. This means that the issue is with either the air tubing or the countertop button.

Countertop Button Issues

In most households, the garbage disposal is a frequently used appliance, so its not uncommon for issues to develop with the push button itself.

Water can easily find its way into the button and make it difficult to press the button. Or an internal part breaks or becomes worn.

You could try taking the button apart, but in many cases this is a good time to change out the button with a new one. Maybe you even want to try a different finish! The good news is, you can replace just the countertop button itself.

Air Tubing Issues

Since the PVC air tubing connects the countertop button to the control box/air switch it's not uncommon for the tubing to be disconnected from either the control box/air switch or countertop button.

If this is the problem, simply reinsert the air tubing and you'll be back in business.

It's also possible that the tubing is kinked, or even develop a leak. When this happens the air tubing isn't able to deliver enough air to activate the air switch within the control box.

You can try to unkink the air tube, or even use electrical tape to seal a leak, but it's typically best to replace the tubing. If you had some extra when you installed the air switch kit you can use that, if not, you'll need to purchase new tubing.

It's also possible that the air tubing is obstructed with water or food. If this happens, clear the obstruction and reconnect the air tube.

Control Box/Air Switch Issues

The control box houses the air switch. The garbage disposal is plugged into the control box, which is plugged into wall electrical outlet.

If the air tubing is in good working order, but you hear a hissing sound coming from the control box/air switch, the most common issue is that the diaphragm has blown.

If this is the case, you'll need to purchase a new air switch. Many homeowners choose to replace the entire garbage disposal air switch kit when this is the problem.

Best Choice Dial

Best Garbage Disposal Switches

Finding a garbage disposal air switch for your kitchen is a fairly straightforward process, but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of choices to choose between. Here are a few of our favorites to help you get started.

Cleesink Garbage Disposal Air Switch

The Cleesink Garbage Disposal Air Switch is the perfect companion for any brand of disposal up to 2-horse power. Top brands such as:  InSinkErator, Waste King, GE and Moen all work perfectly with this air switch, and even less well known brands are compatible.

Sink Top Air Switch Kit Air Button for Garbage Disposal with Aluminum Alloy Power Module (SHORT BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL BUTTON) by CLEESINK

The air switch control box on the Cleesink can be mounted on the wall and plugged into an outlet with the power cord. This design prevents it from blocking the electrical outlet.

There are also two sizes of push buttons. You can select the 2-inch button, which is designed for stainless steel sinks, or the 2-1/2 inch, designed for marble, granite, or quartz countertops. And there are multiple push button  finishes to choose between so you'll be able to find the best match for your kitchen decor.

If you want to step it up a notch, or don't want to drill a hole for the countertop push button, Cleesink offers a wireless air switch. Simply plug the wireless control box into an outlet, plug your garbage disposal into the wireless control box, and place the countertop button in a convenient location. The button has a peel-n-stick backing, so there's no need to drill holes, or mess with air tubing.

Sink Top Air Switch Kit Air Button for Garbage Disposal with Aluminum Alloy Power Module (SHORT BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL BUTTON) by CLEESINK

Cleesink Garbage Disposal Air Switch


Essential Values Garbage Disposal Air Switch

The Essential Values Garbage Disposal Air Switch has a dual outlet control box. This means you can connect your garbage disposal and another appliance such as a hot water heater dispenser. One thing we really like about the Essential Values air switch kit, is if the dual outlet switches don't appeal to you, it's also available as in a single outlet design.

Garbage Disposal Air Switch, DUAL OUTLET Sink Top/Counter Top Waste Disposal On/Off Switch For Insinkerator, Waste King Garbage Disposals Without Switch Access by Essential Values (Chrome)

The countertop push button is available in three different color options to match your kitchen decor (satin brushed nickel, chrome, or red oil bronze). The power module/air switch is mountable with a  6-foot power cord, and comes with 6-feet of air tubing, which offers more than enough length to install in even the most challenging configurations.

Garbage Disposal Air Switch, DUAL OUTLET Sink Top/Counter Top Waste Disposal On/Off Switch For Insinkerator, Waste King Garbage Disposals Without Switch Access by Essential Values (Chrome)

Essential Values

Garbage Disposal Air Switch


InSinkErator Garbage Disposal Air Switch

The InSinkErator Garbage Disposal Air Switch, model STS-OOSN is also a dual outlet switch which can power both your garbage disposal and an instant hot water dispenser from a single electrical outlet.

InSinkErator STS-OOSN SinkTop Satin Nickel Button Dual Outlet Switch

There's the choice of the nickel finish air button kit, or a kit that includes a chrome and white button finish. In addition, InSinkErator has plenty of other button color options, such as matte black, french gold, among others that can be purchased separately.

The kit includes a 6-foot air line and a 33-inch power cord. It will work with all InSinkErator models and the majority of other garbage disposals. This air switch kit is a bit more expensive than many of the other air switches on the market, but InSinkErator is a trusted brand and offers a wide range of button color designs to add a unique and stylish finish to your kitchen.

InSinkErator STS-OOSN SinkTop Satin Nickel Button Dual Outlet Switch

InSinkErator 

Garbage Disposal Air Switch


NorthStar Decor Garbage Disposal Air Switch

The NorthStar Decor Garbage Disposal Air Switch has plenty of options to match your kitchen decor. The countertop button is available in three different styles: Round, square, and raised, with 25 choices of color. In addition, the button finish comes with a two-year manufacturer warranty.

Single Outlet Garbage Disposal Turn On/Off Sink Top Air Switch Kit in Stainless Steel. Compatible with any Garbage Disposal Unit and Available in 25+ Finishes by NORTHSTAR DÉCOR. Model # AS010-SS

The power module/air switch is compatible with garbage disposal units up to 1-3/4 horsepower or 22 amps, however it does not have a power cord, so it plugs directly into the electrical outlet. It comes with 6-feet of air tubing, which gives you plenty  of countertop installation options. 

Single Outlet Garbage Disposal Turn On/Off Sink Top Air Switch Kit in Stainless Steel. Compatible with any Garbage Disposal Unit and Available in 25+ Finishes by NORTHSTAR DÉCOR. Model # AS010-SS

NorthStar Decor

Garbage Disposal Air Switch


Last update on 2021-06-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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