Will A Garbage Disposal Trip A GFCI?(Yes,But..)

Will A Garbage Disposal Trip A GFCI? 

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Will A Garbage Disposal Trip A GFCI? 

Garbage disposals are commercial and residential appliances that are built and designed to shred up food so it can go through the plumbing system.

Garbage disposals usually run on electricity, although some run on water pressure, and the garbage disposals are installed under the sink.

Yes. Garbage disposal will trip a GFCI; this is possible. For garbage disposal to trip the GFCI outlet, various things must happen for it to do so.

The garbage disposal is connected to a receptacle fed from the load side of the GFCI receptacle.

If the garbage disposal trips the GFCI, there is a fault between the GFCI and the garbage disposal.

According to the International Association of Certified Home inspectors, installing a GFCI outlet for your garbage disposal is not an obligation.

However, installing a GFCI outlet for your garbage disposal is advisable because it’s usually near water. 

Can Garbage Disposal Share An Outlet?

Yes, a garbage disposal can share an outlet. Garbage disposal will only share an outlet with a dishwasher, and that is it, nothing else.

This will only happen if the load does not exceed 80% of the total capacity of the circuit.

Typically, garbage disposals are hardwired because of the work they do; they shred waste food and at the same time keep the homeowner’s waste management system safe.

So, having a dishwasher and garbage disposal on the same circuit is safe.

Will A Garbage Disposal Trip A GFCI? 

Dishwashers run on 125-volts and to have 15 amperes fed to the two appliances, garbage disposal, and dishwasher.

You will need to use a 14/2 NM, but if you are providing 20 amperes to the appliances, the wire to be used should be a 12/2 NM and it should be grounded. 

It’s not usually necessary to connect your garbage disposal to your dishwasher, but it is advisable to have them together due to various drainage problems and the sink.

Garbage disposals are either hardwired or connected to an outlet via a grounded electrical outlet.

Although it’s recommended to have a dedicated circuit for the garbage disposal, sharing it with a dishwasher is not disallowed, and this will entirely depend on the disposal’s manual.

The garbage disposal and dishwasher are not considered continuous loads.

So combining loads of the two appliances would not exceed 20 amps, i.e., the garbage disposal would use eight amps.

In contrast, the dishwasher would need 12 amps, which is code compliant if both are on a 20-amp circuit.

Does Garbage Disposal Need An Arc Fault Breaker?

Yes. Garbage disposal needs an arc fault breaker, an Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI), connected to it for protection.

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter protection is needed for garbage disposals because the circuit is operated using a wall switch.

At the same time, the garbage disposal can be wired to plug into a wall outlet. As we all know, garbage disposal does the work of cleaning up the wasted food after meals.

When garbage disposals are filled with garbage, they need a good amount of amperage to grind the waste.

You are allowed to feed the garbage disposal a dedicated 15-amp circuit using a 14/2 NM wire or a 20-amp circuit with a 12/2 NM wire.

And all the wires should have ground; that is when it’s sharing the circuit with a dishwasher and the code allows it. 

Garbage disposal needs both GFCI and AFCI protection, but this entirely depends on the jurisdiction of the specific area.

Hence, it’s advisable to always cross-check with your local authorities.

Having AFCI and GFCI is considered the safest way to protect your garbage disposal, but some professionals omit GFCI because they are susceptible to “ghost tripping.”  

Does Garbage Disposal Need A 20-Amp Circuit?

No. Garbage disposal does not need a 20-amp circuit unless sharing the circuit with a dishwasher.

To be on the safer side, it’s usually recommended that you install a circuit sized for the garbage disposal as some might need a 15-amp circuit or a 20-amp circuit.

With the work that garbage disposal does, it will require a dedicated 15-amp, 120-volt circuit that is fed by a 14/2 NM wire with ground.

A dedicated 15-amp circuit is the most recommended for garbage disposal. You can also put garbage disposal on a 20-amp circuit if you share the circuit with a dishwasher.

The maximum amperage capacity is 12 amps, and that of standard garbage disposal is eight amps.

Since garbage disposals and dishwashers are not continuous loads, you can combine them on the same circuit of 20 amps, which is code compliant.

A garbage disposal that shares a circuit with a dishwasher is very appropriate, and homeowners should not worry about any electrical issue.

The crucial point is that you should never put garbage disposal on the same circuit as countertop receptacles. 

In the garbage disposal manual, the guidelines will indicate whether it should be on a 15-amp circuit or a 20-amp circuit.

If it’s a 20-amp circuit, it will need a 20-amp circuit. If it’s a 15-amp circuit garbage disposal, it can use either a 15-amp circuit or a 20-amp circuit. 

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Trip The GFCI Outlet?

According to NEC, it’s not a requirement for a garbage disposal to have GFCI protection as it’s deemed optional.

As much as it’s optional to have a GFCI receptacle for your garbage disposal, some have GFCI receptacles installed, and as usual, GFCIs trip at some point.

Here are reasons why garbage disposal can trip GFCI outlets. 

For garbage disposal to trip a GFCI outlet, it needs to be connected to a GFCI receptacle, depending on the area laws.

As much as garbage disposals do not require GFCI outlets, they are installed to the garbage disposal because they are always connected near water sources.

To clarify, the garbage disposal will not trip any GFCI if it’s connected to a non-GFCI outlet.

Secondly, the garbage disposal needs to have a leak or some exposure to external moisture.

Should the water from the leak come into contact with a part of the conducting wiring done, it will make the garbage disposal trip the GFCI outlet.

In as much as it happens, it’s so rare because the wire‘s conducting portion is usually covered. 

So, one should always check their garbage disposal outlet for leaks or any sign of moisture coming from the appliance.

Or, you could not connect the garbage disposal to a GFCI outlet to avoid tripping because the wires are well covered, and it’s so rare for the garbage disposals to be short.   

Is My Garbage Disposal 15 Or 20 Amp?

Garbage disposal should be on a dedicated 15-amp circuit being fed with a 14/2 Nm wire of 120-volts.

Apart from being a 15-amp appliance, some manufacturers produce 20-amp garbage disposals.

So, the ampere size of the garbage disposal entirely depends on the manufacturer.

And it’s always advised to check the user manual guide to know the required items and specifications.

If the garbage disposal is a 15-amp appliance, it will be connected on a 15-amp circuit or a 20-amp circuit if the electrical code allows.

If the garbage disposal is a 20-amp appliance, it will be connected to a 20-amp circuit.

In summary, there are 15-amp garbage disposals and 20-amp garbage disposals, so the circuit should be sized according to the disposal’s amps.       

Can You Use Garbage Disposal Without A Dishwasher?

Yes. You can use a garbage disposal without a dishwasher and vice versa.

The same way a dishwasher does not need a garbage disposal with the option of bypassing that by installing specific piping attachments.

Garbage disposal is installed underneath the sink, and it helps clean up the food waste remains by shredding them into pieces that can go through the plumbing system.

As much as it’s possible to use a garbage disposal without a dishwasher, it’s more convenient to have both.

Dishwashers do not have a fitted drain line for them in the kitchen, and so, the dishwashers pump the refuse and dirty water via a hose into the garbage disposal.

The dishwasher will then prevent the garbage disposal debris from being pushed back into the dishwasher using an air-gap fitting installed in the drain system. 

You can use a garbage disposal without a dishwasher, but it would be of many conveniences if you used both appliances together. 

What Do You Do When Your Garbage Disposal Does Not Work? 

What happens when your garbage disposal fails to turn on? Reset by pushing the ‘Red’ overload protector button located at the bottom of the garbage disposal.

A garbage disposal might refuse to work when the following happen;

If the garbage disposal is run for an extended period, if the garbage disposal is overheated, if the disposal is clogged.

Generally, an issue with the garbage disposal, it will automatically shut down, requiring you to reset it.To reset garbage disposal, here is what you will need to do.

Ensure that the disposal switch is on the “OFF” position, then gently press the red overload protector button to reset the garbage disposal.

If the red button retracts, you should wait for ten minutes and try again.

After all, that, turn on a stream of cold water and switch on the garbage disposal; it should be back to full operation.

If the red button retracts after several attempts of resetting the garbage disposal, then it means the garbage disposal should get a maintenance check on it, or you should replace it. 

When Should Garbage Disposal Needs Replacement?

As we all know, the function of garbage disposal is to shred refuse and other forms of waste,

Allow them to go through the plumbing system, and keep the plumbing system from clogging or getting debris.

For a properly maintained garbage disposal, it can last for up to 15 years of service. To know that your garbage disposal needs to be replaced; 

You will hear unusual noises coming from your garbage disposal.

There are moving parts in the garbage disposal and so hearing the unusual noises can mean there is an issue with the appliance.

You can check the drain to see if there is a blockage in the unit because any small item can lead to a peculiar noise. 

If there is a persistent foul smell, that could be a sign to replace your garbage disposal.

If the bad smell persists even as much as you clean it, that means there can be some particles that do not budge.

It would be advisable to call for an expert to check out the garbage disposal in such scenarios. 

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, there is a severe problem with the unit.

Will A Garbage Disposal Trip A GFCI? 

If this is the case, try resetting it using the red overload protector button, and if it fails to run after a few trials, you should look for an expert to fix it or replace it. 


A Garbage disposal can trip a GFCI just like any other appliance connected to a GFCI outlet.

Although this is possible, it is sporadic to hear of a short caused by garbage disposal.

Garbage disposals must have a dedicated circuit, although it would be convenient to use the same circuit with a dishwasher since it is also coded compliant.

If the garbage disposal is on a dedicated circuit, it should be a 15-amp circuit, and if it is sharing, it should be on a 20-amp circuit.

When you maintain your garbage disposal properly, it can serve you for up to fifteen years without breaking down.

Unlike when you fail to perform regular checkups on the garbage disposal.

It might break down and fail to work again hence needing a replacement, or it might cost a lot of money to repair it.   


Hi! I I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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