Garbage Disposal Wiring | Kitchen Disposal Safety

Have you ever looked at your garbage disposal wiring?

If you did, you’re probably not one of the homeowners that own garbage disposal units visible on the pictures.

Garbage disposal wiring performed with a lamp cord, exposed bare wires, missing connection box coverGarbage disposal wiring performed with electrical tape instead of conduit connectorThis is just another waiting for an accident type of a situation and garbage disposal wiring should be on a home maintenance routine check-up list.

Garbage disposal vibration, especially under some heavy loads … by the way – this is not a garbage can, and don’t use it as such, sometimes causes garbage disposal wiring and plumbing connections to separate.

Loose garbage disposal wiring / connectionGarbage disposal wiring cord installed without a connectorEven properly wired garbage disposal electrical cable might become loose and fall off the connector creating hazardous condition. Because there are different requirements for garbage disposal wiring (types of conduit, disconnect / switch) you have to check that with your local code enforcement division.

There are however some items that apply to every type of a garbage disposal wiring / installation:

  • In most cases manufacturer will recommend or require garbage disposal to be installed on a dedicated 15-ampere or 20-ampere electrical circuit (not shared with any other appliances). For the smaller units with less HP you might be able to share dishwasher power supply but you’d have to compare ratings on both – check this Kitchen GFCI post.
  • Garbage disposal wiring connections must be concealed within the wire compartment box at the base of the unit (behind the metal plate)
  • Depending on your local jurisdiction requirements, garbage disposal might need to be hard wired (no plug), or connected with an approved cord and plug. Either type of the garbage disposal wiring requires dedicated type of a connector at the appliance wall penetration. Conduit or cord must be secured in place and connection checked periodically.
  • Garbage disposal wiring must include grounding! For a hard wired appliance the wire must be attached between the disposal grounding terminal (usually green screw) or green wire, and an electrical system grounded terminal.
  • Cord connected units must use an approved type cord with a ground conductor and a 3 prong plug inserted into a grounded receptacle – no lamp cords please.
  • Some brands have an ON/OFF switch build into the garbage disposal, activated by turning specially designed drain plug. However, even with this future, your local jurisdiction might require installation of an additional ON/OFF switch while performing garbage disposal wiring.