I want to add a dishwasher for my parent's house but I'm not sure if there's any electrical work that would need to be done prior to starting the plumbing.

There is no outlet under the sink but there is one above the counter directly on top of where the dishwasher would be installed.

I do know that the outlet is on a 15 amp breaker which I assume needs to be changed for the dishwasher.


3 Answers 3


Depending on what's behind that cover plate, you will probably be able to run some NB cable, if it' allowed, from there down the inside of the wall to a new junction box for the washer. If conduit is required, you'll have to cut away the wall below the counter to install your conduit. You cannot just change a 15 amp breaker to a 20 amp breaker without replacing the 14 AWG wire with 12AWG wire. If instructions call for a 20 amp circuit, then you'll have to run new wire. You'll have to check to see if GFCI protection is required. Since your basement is finished, you could use conduit or some of the decorative wire channel to run the wire on the surface of your finished wall. See picture below from Lowes.

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  • So i spoke to a friend who is an electrician and told me that I need a dedicated 15 amp line to the electrical panel. The panel is in the basement on the opposite side of the house would this be a difficult thing to do considering the basement is already finished? Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 1:38
  • You would have to remove some wall material or go up and remove some ceiling material to run your power lines. You could run conduit or decorative channel mounted on the finished wall surface to the location where you'd go vertical into the kitchen.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 13:19

The problem is not that the circuit is only 15 Amp, as that is fine for many dishwashers. There are two problems:

Hardwired loads > 50% capacity

Technically, this may not be a problem. If the dishwasher is plug-in then it is not a permanent load (arguably, though practically speaking it is). If there are hardwired loads > 50% of the circuit capacity (and that will almost definitely be the case for a dishwasher because of the heater used for water heating and drying), then you can't have additional receptacles on the same circuit.

Dedicated Countertop Receptacles

This is the big problem. Current code requires 2 dedicated 20 Amp circuits for countertop receptacles in the kitchen. There are few exceptions, but not for major appliances like a dishwasher. If you currently have 15 Amp circuits, you don't have to upgrade them. If you currently have shared circuits, you don't have to change them. But you can't make things worse.

Adding receptacles below or, alternatively, a hardwired dishwasher, means that the circuit is now shared in a way it was not shared before.

Removing the receptacles so that the circuit is only used for the dishwasher might work, except that in most cases by doing so you will now violate the rules for how many countertop receptacles you need to have and where they need to be located (the specifics depend on size/location of counters).


Have you considered a portable dishwasher? Look them up on-line and watch a video of how to connect and use one. They come in 18" and 24" wide sizes and clean dishes very well. It may not be the perfect solution but may work in your case.

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