One of the confusing factors almost everyone faces while setting up garbage disposal for the first time is whether the garbage disposal needs a GFCI.
While many other household electrical appliances and technologies require GFCI for a well-protected electrical connection, so, it is obvious to ensure whether the garbage disposal requires GFCI too or not.
If you are here to find out the answer to this question, read out this article as we are not only going to reveal whether garbage disposal needs a GFCI but also, if not, then what type of outlet would be the best for the garbage disposal.
Does garbage disposal need GFCI?
According to the National Electric Code (NEC), garbage disposal does not require a GFCI outlet. But if someone wants to, then they can definitely go for it. However, it is not mandatory but optional.
However, even though it is not mandatory to wire the garbage disposal with GFCI protection, most people usually plug it into a 120-volt GFCI outlet which is generally located under the kitchen sink to avoid extra hassle.
If there is no outlet under your kitchen sink, in that case, you can call an electrician to set up an outlet for your garbage disposal, which does not necessarily have to be GFCI protected.
What is a GFCI outlet?
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. They are designed in a way that resists people from getting into contact with an electric shock.
GFCI outlets are not expensive are very easy to install. Moreover, NEC encourages most of the pre-installed electrical outlets of the houses to be GFCI protected.
Because they are essential for the safety of the people living in that house, especially if there are children in the house.
While all other regular electrical outlets are designed to protect the house’s electrical system, GFCI is a type of outlet that protects people against electric shock.
Also, the GFCI outlet minimizes the risk of electrical fire by the help of monitoring power and tripping, that is, automatic shutdown of the system when the current flow excessively from an unintended path or if there is an imbalance in the distribution of current.
GFCI outlets are easy to recognize by the two visible buttons on the outlet’s face, one for reset and the other for the test.
Should I use a GFCI for my garbage disposal?
Even though NEC reported that a GFCI outlet is not necessary for garbage disposal, there is no harm in setting up the garbage disposal in one if you have an option.
Like most other houses and condos of America, if your house’s kitchen also has a 120-volt GFCI outlet under the kitchen sink, it is not required to wire another non-GFCI outlet only for the garbage disposal.
You can use the GFCI outlet under the kitchen sink. There will not be any harm for you unless your local government has any objection to it.
Therefore, it is better to determine the rules or obligations for electrical outlets of garbage disposals set up by your local government first before setting up the garbage disposal to the GFCI outlet.
You can also discuss this with a local electrician as he might have good knowledge about such rules.
However, if you do not have a GFCI outlet already wired under or near your kitchen sink, there is no need to go for one.
Advantages of using a GFCI Outlet
One of the most significant advantages of using a GFCI outlet is that it provides the utmost safety and protection that no other outlets bear.
GFCI outlets are specially manufactured and designed to prevent the risk of electrical shock and to reduce the threatening toll of death due to electrical outlet and circuit accidents.
GFCI outlets contain sensors that recognize the electricity while passing from an unexpected path.
And when such a phenomenon takes place, they automatically cut off the electrical power from passing through the outlet to prevent electrical shock.
That is why suppose one of your children accidentally puts their finger inside the hoses of the electrical outlet; there will be the least chance of receiving an electrical shock in case of GFCI.
Rather than that, the GFCI outlet also prevents the risk of an electrical fire. Especially in old homes where the electrical wires might get worn out, causing electrical leakage and further dreadful accidents like fire in the walls, GFCI can be a huge protector.
As said before, GFCI detects immediately when the electricity passes through an unexpected path and turns off the electric supply.
Hence, in case of electrical leakage as well, mishaps are prevented. Moreover, the modern interior is getting more acceptable to GFCI outlets.
That is why many modern technologies are designed to match the ports of the GFCI outlets, which the other electrical outlets might not have.
What kind of outlet do I need for garbage disposal?
There are two types of outlets ideal for setting up garbage disposal.
One of them is hardwiring them to a dedicated circuit. The other is plugging them into a wall outlet under the sink base cabinet with a cord of any other kitchen appliance such as a dishwasher or water filter.
Hardwiring the garbage disposal is an expensive and complicated process. But through this process, your garbage disposal will be directly connected to the power source of electricity, that is, the power box or junction box.
This is the perfect option for you if your house and you do not have any plans of changing it or renovating it shortly.
Because this system is permanent and requires an electrician to install it.
If you ever need to move your setup from one location to another, it will be quite troublesome for you if you install your garbage disposal by hardwiring.
In the case of plug-in configuration, you armustet a plug and wire separately from any electrical item store as they do not usually come with the garbage disposal.
It is easier when you already have another appliance plugged into the outlet. All you need to do in this regard is wire the garbage disposal with the cord of that very kitchen appliance.
However, the only obstacle you might face is that the length of the plug of the garbage disposal from the electrical outlet might not be enough to reach properly to connect.
Moreover, it would help if you were extra careful not to bend the plug while removing it.
Ensure you are properly checking the voltage and amperage ratings of the plug and the wire matching with the requirement of the garbage disposal before purchasing it.
Why does my garbage disposal trip to the GFCI outlet?
Is your garbage disposal tripping the GFCI outlet?
The possible reason for that can be that the receptacle your garbage disposal is plugged into is fed from the side of the load of the GFCI receptacle.
And hence, it provides ground fault protection to the receptacle. There might be a ground fault that has taken place anywhere between the garbage disposal and the GFCI.
That is why the GFCI is tripping to protect from further accidents that might take place due to the ground fault.
Hardwired vs. plug-in configuration for garbage disposal
Till now, you have already known that there are two types of outlets most appropriate for garbage disposal. But now, the question you might have in your mind is which among these two types is better than the other.
In my opinion, the plug-in configuration is a much better option than hardwiring. Even if you live in a permanent house, it is better to have flexibility with the appliances.
Hardwiring is a callous and troublesome process. Moreover, if the garbage disposal is not hardwired correctly, it might lead to severe accidents.
Besides, hardwiring is also comparatively expensive and difficult to set up than plug-in. You can easily install the plug-in configuration by yourself.
But for hardwiring, it is must contact a professional electrician to do it properly.
The advantage of hardwiring is that it provides an organized and clean look to the house, like hotels and offices, because it requires less visible wires.
On the other hand, the plug-in arrangement will provide a comparatively messier look, but it will be easier to install.
However, even though you can install your plug-in configuration by yourself, you will have to buy some extra tools required for it.
One of the mentionable advantages of plug-in configuration is that it does not require a dedicated circuit. So, if there is enough capacity, you can use more than one appliance together with one plug-in outlet.
I hope now you have a clear idea which option would be the best for you. Make sure you select an option that matches your house. Choose wisely!
James is an organic fertilizer professional who owns a successful organic fertilizer company in new jersey. He is an expert in waste management in both houses and community cases. In his free time, he loves to write about his experiences in the field.