Should a garbage disposal be on a GFCI?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Erico, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Erico

    Erico New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    NY
    I opted to install a switched outlet under the sink for the disposal (rather than a hard wire with a whip). Should I install a GFCI?

    Also, there will be a non-switched outlet for a potential hot water dispenser. I thought I remembered seeing in one set of specs that they recommend a GFCI but the specs I printed for a model we are considering do not say anything about recommending GFCI.

    My inclination is always GFCI near water. But will there be tripping issues with a switched appliance such as a G/D?
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Sorry, I cannot answer your first question but as for this one, I think it could have a propensity to trip. All my outdoor recptacles are GFCI and when I use them to power motorized tools like saws and drills, they easily trip when shutting off the tool. I think it has to do with the collapsing magnetic field on the motor coils and/or the motor becoming a generator. Possibly not all GFCIs are created equal and YMMV.
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is this a kitchen sink? If so then no GFCI required
  4. Erico

    Erico New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    NY

    Yes. Kitchen sink. Two outlets. One switched for the disposal and the other non-switched for a hot water dispenser.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If it is a regular wall switch then it should be GFCI protected. Don't most disposers have an air coupled push button?
    [​IMG]
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with jwelectric. I've never seen a GFI on a disposer.

    And I sold very few air switches for disposers. They are handy if there is no space on the wall for a switch though.
  7. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Would you like to provide a code citation for this?
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Not really. The operative question was "should", not "must" as was my advice. There is no point in me quoting Canadian Electrical Code to the OP who lives in NY.

    If you can ground one hand on the sink or tap and reach the unprotected switch with the other perhaps wet hand, common sense dictates that a GFCI "should" be used. Canadian code may dictate it too. When I built my home 12 years ago, I did my own wiring and read through the code books at the time, but am too lazy to scour through it now.

    A quick google search suggests that GFCI outlets must be installed on all receptacles within 1.5 meters of a sink.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
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    Here is an excerpt from my google search.

  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    So........are you planning on using the disposer like a toaster? And have it on the counter?

    Everybody knows that the outlets "above" the counter are GFI''d
    That wasn't' the question though. The question was for a disposer that is "below" the counter.
    Below; opposite of above.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I realize the outlet is "Under" the counter but the switch presumably will be "Above" the counter. I'm sure I can find some code reference to a light/fan/switch near a sink or bathtub/shower etc. We GFCI protect anything that is within easy reach of a sink/tub/shower/etc. Why would a disposer be any different?


    We see here in a lot of new construction that the light switch is on the outside of the bathroom. Mine is on the inside, albeit protected by GFCI. The same with my laundry room. Now, I stopped short of using GFCI on the washer because it would likely trip it. I don't generally operate the wash machine while I have a hand in the sink or on the tap. A garbage disposer however is more prone to be operated whilst touching the faucet which is why they came out with those air switches. If you guys want to build to minimum code, that's your choice.

    I would choose not to use a GFCI but then I would use an air switch. ​
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2011
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Location:
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    Being that Canada uses the NEC there is no requirement to GFCI a receptacle below the sink there just as there is no requirement to protect the receptacle with GFCI here.

    Switches are not required to be GFCI protected at all in any location.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    A typical light switch would have to be in really bad shape to get a shock off of it. Now, a static discharge if you happen to hit an exposed cover screw could happen!
  14. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    No, this is a case of not knowing the code and throwing an OVER coded situation at it to cover yourself, in the guise of "safety".

    So you wired you own house a few years ago, and "read through the code books at the time", and you think this give you the authority/experience to be giving advice on electrical mesage boards???
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,889
    Location:
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    So we have a guy that works in an IT department for his day job that used an air switch in his home.

    And all the electrical contractors that wire homes for a living, that know what the code says and can wire to code saying; No. a GFI is not used.
    Sounds like the question has been answered.

    NO GFI needed for a disposer.
    Thanks to all the sparky's that had a handle on this.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    No, I was not claiming expertise and you quoted me out of context. What I said was "read through the code books at the time, but am too lazy to scour through it now" with the emphasis on lazy. I don't know why eveyone is twisting this into a "CODE" issue. I never claimed to know, nor did I quote NY code and only gave a code example to show how far Ontario code goes in this regard. If you feel minimum code is fine that's your (professional) opinion. It would appear Ontario electrical safety inspectors may have a differing professional opinion. If I were to err, I would prefer to err on the side of caution, spending a few extra dollars for an air switch or GFCI. Again, my operative word was "should" and that is my personal (not professional) opinion.
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,897
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If that's a NY code question/answer, I will defer to the code experts.

    BTW, I don't have an air switch, but only because I don't have an in-sink garbage disposer.
  18. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I realize that you were not, and NO I did not. Yet you really do not know the codes and even common practices but you are giving advice here on electrical matters.


    "Twisting"??? You CANNOT be serious. :rolleyes:
    It IS a code issue!


    Yes, I certainly do feel code minimums are absolutely safe. Without question.
    That said, rarely do most professionals wire to absolute code minimum.


    This is NOT a NY thing. Bottom line, in the US disposals are typically NOT wire through a GFI. Simple as that.
  19. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Air switches work with ANY disposal that can be plugged in, which is all of them.
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Should you have some tool that is tripping your outside receptacles then your tool needs attention or replacement. The GFCI device is doing what it was designed to do.
    What is a YMMV?
    I do believe you have crossed over the boundary of knowing and guessing or inserting opinion in a matter in which you have little or no knowledge. Neither the US or Canadian codes require a switch to be ground fault protected,

    This makes me wonder just what your point is in this post. Why do you think the switch should be GFCI Protected? In your next statement you say that the Canadian code requires it to be protected but refuse to post a quote from the code.

    If the sink is not in contact with earth is some matter how is it grounded? I think you are grasping at straws here as you sure don’t understand the concepts of grounding and bonding.

    1.
    Dang if I can find one word from this quote that says a “switch” is required to be GFCI protected. Shucks I only see the requirement for countertop receptacles which wouldn’t include one under the cabinet.


    But your code section says nothing about a switch. The switch is something you have come up with. The receptacle for the disposer is under the sink not above the sink.


    I say that if this is true then those living north of the boarder have completely lost what few brains they had left. As to the washing machine if the receptacle is located within 6 feet of a sink then the washing machine receptacle would be required to be GFCI protected. Should the washing machine trip the GFCI the there is something wrong with the washing machine.
    All this bull waste of collapsing magnetic fields tripping a GFCI device is some idiots way of trying to explain something they know nothing about. It simply doesn’t happen.
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