My in laws have a newer house (4 years old) they have had issues with the garbage disposal tripping the breaker but it has gotten worse over time.they changed the outlet. (The garbage disposal is plugged in to an outlet controlled by a light switch.) They had an electrician come out and change the garbage disposal out and replace the circuit breaker switch. It worked for a while but now when the switch is turned on to give the garbage disposal power it trips the breaker almost immediately.

Here’s what I’ve done. I plugged in an outlet tester which showed an open neutral. I checked and resecured the wiring for the outlet,switch, and garbage disposal. No longer has an open neutral but still trips immediately. The garbage disposal works in a different outlets. I also plugged in a fan to the problem outlet and it works. I’m completely lost. I saw someone say something about a GFCI outlet being needed?

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Was just thinking if a GFCI outlet or breaker was used in that circuit. A plain outlet and breaker would point to a simple short, maybe caused by mice in the walls. A GFCI on the circuit complicates stuff, more stuff to check out.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 19:57
  • I know the outlet is not a GFCI but not sure about the breaker, how would I know if a GFCI is used in the circuit? I’m kinda lost with electrical
    – Mica Kluza
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 19:59
  • A GFCI/AFCI breaker should look different. Bigger and a test button and maybe lights, than a simple breaker.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 20:01
  • Breaker box has no lights but each switch has a small test button on it. Also that particular switch is marked as “20” I believe 20 amps
    – Mica Kluza
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 20:04
  • 1
    The purple test button indicates a combination AFCI+GFCI dual function breaker. Try the Time Saver Diagnostics and report your findings. Square D named their HOMEline product so honestly, that I can overlook the blatant "time saver" mis-naming here. Remember to hold down the test button the whole time. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


Assuming the circuit breaker in your picture, with a purple button and a red tripped flag showing, is the one for your disposal, below are the fault finding steps for that breaker. Trying this procedure with and without the disposal plugged in will help you determine where the problem is, and what it is. Finding the model number and obtaining (and reading) the full documentation for the breaker is also a good idea. The model number should be on a sticker behind the breaker panel's front cover. Don't remove that cover if you are not trained to work near live wires.

The breaker includes GFCI protection so you can ignore suggestions to install a GFCI outlet. The breaker includes AFCI protection, which may not be compatible with your disposal. That is likely the case if the test procedure indicates an AFCI trip whenever the disposal is run but not otherwise.

enter image description here

  • 2
    An AFCI trip while the disposal is running could also indicate faulty wiring, improperly torqued screw terminals, loose or improper wire nut etc. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 22:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.