I am not a handy person, so I had family members install a new dishwasher. When they finished, I noticed that this was how the electrical was installed. The dishwasher was plugged into a new outlet installed in the garage level below it. The plug runs through a hole in the kitchen subfloor behind the dishwasher and into the garage. I assume this is not to code, but I figured I'd ask. I want to make sure it's done right.

If not acceptable, is the solution to bring the outlet to beneath the sink next to the dishwasher and do it that way?

Thanks in advance.

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  • 1
    Did the dishwasher come with that cord, or was it added by your team? They're more typically hard-wired.
    – isherwood
    Dec 16, 2019 at 17:24
  • 1
    Ok, so can we change that outlet to a junction box and hardwire the dishwasher there instead?
    – Rob Irwin
    Dec 16, 2019 at 17:44

5 Answers 5


You are correct, the issue here is the cord and plug for the dishwasher running through the floor.

400.8 Uses Not Permitted. Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following: ... (2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

Running the cord inside the cabinetry does not break this rule.

Contrary to other answers, in my opinion, the cord and plug connection for the dishwasher is perfectly fine and makes it easy to disconnect power.

  • 1
    I should have continued reading , your answer is what I was thinking.+
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:30

Switch to Hardwired Connection

Dishwashers can be cord/plug connected. But more typical is hardwired because typically they only need to be worked on once in a very long while and even more rarely get moved. Assuming you require the GFCI protection:

  • Remove the cord from the dishwasher. You can't hardwire using a regular cord.
  • Connect one end of a 12/2 NM cable to the dishwasher. All connections should be inside the junction box on the dishwasher.
  • Connect the black & white wires of the other end of the 12/2 to the LOAD side of the GFCI receptacle. All grounds go together.
  • Test first by plugging a lamp or other small appliance into the receptacle. If it does not work (and TEST/RESET doesn't fix it) then disconnect the dishwasher wires from the LOAD screws to troubleshoot.
  • When passing the NM cable through the hole in the floor, should it be sleeved in conduit? Dec 16, 2019 at 18:55
  • All electrical junctions must remain accessible. While making the changes outlined above it would also be a good idea to re-orient the junction box so that it would be exposed through the ceiling in the event that garage space should ever be finished. Probably also a good idea to label the dishwasher junction box to indicate that it is GFCI protected and describe the location of the GFCI device.
    – Greg Hill
    Dec 16, 2019 at 19:01
  • I am pretty sure that is NOT required. What is required is that it be protected from damage. That typically applies to low areas - I think up to 8' above the floor. So on the bottom no problem - it is near the ceiling and no worse than the other cables running nearby. Above - i.e., coming out of the dishwasher - if it is coming straight down from the dishwasher than no problem. If it goes sideways - e.g., into another cabinet - and then down, then it should be secured to the back wall of the cabinet. But in general a hole through wood is not a problem. Dec 16, 2019 at 19:02
  • 1
    @GregHill The dishwasher junction box I refer to is part of the dishwasher - nobody will ever see that unless they pull out the dishwasher for service. What I would do though is put a label in the main panel next to the breaker that controls the dishwasher indicating where the GFCI is located because otherwise 10 years from now the next owner will have absolutely no idea where to look. Dec 16, 2019 at 19:03
  • 2
    @manassehkatz-ReinstateMonica yes, I agree labeling the breaker makes sense. I suggested the j-box in the dishwasher because if I were diagnosing such a fault, one of the first things I'd do is remove the washer's toe kick panel, open its j-box, and test for voltage. It's analogous to the "GFCI protected receptacle" labels affixed to outlets. The GFCI should have included a sheet of such labels -- stick one of them on the dishwasher j-box and maybe another of them on the breaker!
    – Greg Hill
    Dec 16, 2019 at 19:22

2017 NEC 422.16(B)(2) Allows a cord identified as suitable, and 422.16 (B)(2)(6) says "The receptacle for a built-in dishwasher shall be located in the space adjacent to the space occupied by the dishwasher".

210.8(D) Requires GFCI protection for a dishwasher. If you convert to a junction box you would need to install a GFCI breaker or feed from load terminals of a GFCI receptacle. If you installed that from the garage then I would consider it quite possibly not readily accessible. That's an interpretation.

422.31(B) Hardwired would require a permanently mounted breaker lock-off device in the electrical panel, and that may interfere with the GFCI button on the breaker.

Exposed NM cable in a cabinet or under the dishwasher could easily be interpreted as being subject to physical damage. So personally I would change the box below the floor to a metal box, extend 1/2" flex or MC Cable through the floor to the appropriate cabinet, and install a GFCI receptacle there.


In addition to other peoples comments about whether its electricaly acceptable to terminate the dishwasher connection like this, if if the entry from the garage to the house is sealed for air intrusion. In many jurisdictions there are requirements to properly seal any places where air could move from the garage into the house. The primary concern for is to prevent carbon monoxide from engine exhaust from getting drafted into the house.

The picture here indicates a back cable running up through the floor, but it's difficult to tell if it's the same cable as the dishwasher plug or not.


If we're talking North America under the National Electric Code (NEC), dishwashers must be on a dedicated circuit. There can't be a spare plug someone could plug, say, a vacuum cleaner into.

Really, it's best to run the yellow non-metallic cable right to the junction box in the dishwasher and nowhere else. This solves a bunch of problems all at once. No special armor is required, just run it.

Your area may, probably does, require an electrical permit for this work. For good reason too.

Most inspectors would require the hole be sealed tight, to prevent a garage fire from spreading to the kitchen. Intumescent caulk is typically used, but messy and sort of toxic. There are alternatives, such as a little doughnut of sheetrock. Your floor is wood, so it hardly makes sense to do much more than prevent air from entering the hole.

"Fireblocks can be constructed of materials such as 2 inch nominal lumber, structural wood panels, gypsum board, cement fiber board for larger fireblock, and batts or blankets of mineral wool or glass fiber, loose fill insulation, and caulks, sealants, and putties for smaller fireblocks. Similar text appears in the IRC. " Jointofeu® fire ropes are an option.

You want to seal the hole for air anyway, to save on heating/energy/carbon costs.

See also Does a garbage disposal and/or dishwasher need to be on a GFCI?

  • 1
    Where in code is a dedicated circuit required? 210.8 D states GFCI ok , if that section is adopted by your state (not in my state) but the dedicated circuits in a kitchen are the 2 counter top small appliance circuits. And you cannot pass a cord through a wall or floor.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:39

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