Does a garbage disposal need a dedicated circuit?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: December 2, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Like most people, you probably have many questions about your home’s plumbing. After all, a lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure your sink doesn’t back up or your toilet doesn’t overflow.

Today, we’re answering one of the most common questions: do garbage disposals need a dedicated circuit?

Does a garbage disposal need a dedicated circuit?

According to NEC rules, garbage disposal must have a dedicated circuit. A garbage disposal uses to power up to 700 to 1650 Watts. Depending on the garbage disposal’s power consumption and motor size, expert electricians recommend a dedicated circuit of 15 or 20 amps.

Garbage disposal typeMotor TypeDedicated circuit
Continuous feed½ horsepower15 amp
Batch feed¾ horsepower15 or 20 amp
Under Counter1 horsepower20 amp
Manual2 horsepower20 amp
Table 1:  Types of dedicated circuits and their compatibility for different garbage disposals.

Can a garbage disposal be on the same circuit as outlets?

Yes, a garbage disposal can be on the same circuit as an outlet. The main reason is that both devices use less than 1 amp of power. This means that they can share the same circuit without overloading it. Most homes have multiple outlets and devices on the same circuit. 

Another reason garbage disposal can be on the same circuit as outlets are that they are typically used at different times. For example, you might use your garbage disposal in the morning to grind up food waste from breakfast. Then, you might use your outlets later in the day to charge your phone or laptop. This staggered usage means there is never too much draw on the circuit simultaneously. 

You can always invest in a circuit breaker if you have many devices plugged into one circuit.

Can a garbage disposal and dishwasher be on the same circuit?

The answer is yes, but you should know a few things before doing so.

First, it’s essential to understand how much power each appliance uses. A typical garbage disposal uses about 700 watts, while a dishwasher uses around 1,500 watts. So, if you’re running both appliances on the same circuit, you’ll want to ensure that the circuit can handle at least 2,200 watts.

Second, you’ll need to use a larger gauge wire for the circuit. This is because the dishwasher will draw more current than the garbage disposal. So, using a larger gauge wire will help to prevent any problems with the circuit overheating or tripping breaker switches.

What size breaker do I need for a dishwasher and garbage disposal?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about the size of your breaker very often. But the size of the breaker is critical when it comes to appliances like dishwashers and garbage disposals.

The dishwasher uses around 15 amps, while the garbage disposal uses around seven amps. So, if you have a dishwasher and garbage disposal that you want to run on the same circuit, you’ll need a breaker of at least 22 amps.

Of course, it’s always best to err on caution and get a bigger breaker than you think you need.

What kind of outlet do I need for garbage disposal?

If you’re considering installing a garbage disposal in your home, you’ll need to choose the proper outlet for the unit. The most common types of outlets are 1/2 hp and 3/4 hp. HP stands for “horsepower.” This is a measure of how much power the motor has.

A 1/2 hp motor can handle most household tasks, such as grinding up food scraps. A 3/4 hp motor is more powerful and can grind up more demanding items, such as bones. You’ll also need to decide on the voltage of the outlet.

The most common voltages are 115 and 230. A 115-volt outlet will work for most homes. However, if your home has a lot of appliances that use a lot of power, you may need a 230-volt outlet.

Once you’ve chosen the proper outlet for your garbage disposal, you can begin installing it.

Should garbage disposal be on a GFCI?

Most homes in the United States have a garbage disposal unit installed in their kitchen. While these devices can be very convenient, they can also be dangerous if they are not correctly installed.

One important safety measure that should be taken when installing garbage disposal is to ensure it is on a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter).

A GFCI is an electrical device that protects people from shocks and electrocution. It does this by sensing when there is a difference in the current flowing through the hot and neutral wires.

If there is a difference, the GFCI will trip and shut off the power before anyone can be harmed. While most new homes are required to have GFCIs installed, older homes may not have them.

Can a garbage disposal be on a 15-amp circuit?

Yes, a garbage disposal can be on a 15-amp circuit. A circuit’s amperage rating is the maximum amount of current that can flow through the circuit. Current is measured in amperes or “amps.” One amp is equal to the flow of one coulomb per second.

The power rating of a circuit is the maximum amount of power that can be dissipated in the circuit. Power is measured in watts and is calculated by multiplying the voltage by the current. For example, if you have a 120-volt circuit with 15 amps of current flowing through it, the power rating of the circuit would be 1,800 watts (120 volts x 15 amps).

Does the outlet under the kitchen sink need to be GFCI?

Most homes have a GFCI outlet installed under the kitchen sink. This is because water and electricity can be a dangerous combination. If there is a problem with the wiring, a GFCI outlet will shut off the power to prevent an electrical shock.

In some cases, a GFCI outlet is not required. If the outlet is not near water sources, it may not need to be GFCI-protected. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution and install a GFCI outlet if you are unsure.

Does garbage disposal need a P trap?

Yes, the garbage disposal needs a P trap. This is because the P trap holds water in the pipe’s bend, preventing sewer gases from coming back up through the drain. The P trap also keeps small objects from falling into the sewer line and causing clogs.


So, does a garbage disposal need a dedicated circuit? Yes, it does need a dedicated circuit. A garbage disposal may use up to 1650 Watts of power. A dedicated circuit of up to 20 amps may be required for this appliance’s smooth and safe functioning.


Appliance daily energy use in new residential buildings: Use profiles and variation in time-of-use. Journal of Energy & Buildings.

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