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Do Garbage Disposals Need GFCI?

By February 13, 2023Electrical
A GFCI outlet is not required for a garbage disposal hookup.

When owning a home homeowners need to be well aware of the amenities and maintenance needs of their homes. Before purchasing any additional products to assist with your homeowner needs, be sure to read up on the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation. Not every appliance has the same electrical needs or national electrical code (NEC). For example, does a garbage disposal have the same needs as a dishwasher or microwave? Do garbage disposals need GFCI? According to the national electrical code garbage disposals do not need a GFCI circuit switch.

Let’s look below at some more specifics regarding a GFCI and your garbage disposal.

What Is A GFCI?

When it comes to electrical work, you should get to know some of the basic terminologies. For example, knowing the differences between the types of electrical outlets in your home will allow you to better understand what your appliances need. The purpose of installing a GFCI outlet or ground fault circuit interrupter is to protect you and your family from accidental electrical shock, injury, or even death. Let’s take a look below at how it works.

  • Keeps you from getting electrocuted – When the circuit is overloaded the GFCI will trip the breaker and shut down the electrical current.
  • How does this happen – Electrical current overloads or changes can occur due to power surges, electrical overload, excess water, or other electrical issues.

Why Use A Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals are installed under one side of a sink. The purpose of the garbage disposal is to reduce food waste by shredding excess food and flushing it down the plumbing pipes. Chopping up food waste into tiny particles keeps it from clogging your P-trap under the sink. The P-trap is meant to keep gases from your sewer system from getting into the home.

A new garbage disposal hookup without a GFCI outlet.

How Are Garbage Disposals Wired?

Keep in mind that garbage disposals do not necessarily need a dedicated circuit. In many cases, garbage disposals will share an electrical outlet with the dishwasher. However, garbage disposals should have a dedicated circuit to avoid an overload on the circuit from the dishwasher. In most cases, a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit is suitable. Also, keep in mind that a GFCI is not required, but would be a great idea if share circuits with a dishwasher.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you are aware of whether or not a GFCI circuit is required for your garbage disposal, you can determine which type of outlet to use. Be sure to go with a tamper-resistant outlet. This will protect you and your children from accidental electrocution.

Next, read up on how long garbage disposals might last. If the garbage disposal keeps tripping your circuit breaker, it might not be due to the wiring. Rather, it could be time for a new garbage disposal.

Lastly, before putting anything down your garbage disposal read up on what is good and not good. For example, should you put drain cleaner into your garbage disposal? Most of the time, this is a bad idea. However, read up on which drain cleaners might be environmentally safe.

Make sure you hire a licensed electrician if you are wanting to switch your electrical outlet to a GFCI outlet.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Calling on a licensed electrician is very important when dealing with anything related to electrical work. You wouldn’t want to wire your garbage disposal to the incorrect circuit accidentally. You will need a licensed electrician if you desire to have the garbage disposal on the same circuit as your dishwasher and on a GFCI. Also, use your local home inspection team as they can inspect your current electrical system and make any additional recommendations.


When looking into the type of circuit breaker that you have for your garbage disposal, consulting a licensed electrician is key. Consequently, they can recommend whether or not a GFCI circuit is needed for garbage disposal. If you aren’t sure exactly what you need for your garbage disposal installation, reach out to All Coast Home Inspections for a home inspection in Houston, TX. They can refer you to the most reputable electrical contractors to assist with your GFCI needs.

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