Part of me always cringes when I turn on the garbage disposal with a wet hand, which got me thinking... Does this thing need to be on a GFCI? And on that same thought, does the dishwasher need to be on a GFCI? Both currently are not and wondering if they should be to meet current code.

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    Just want to note that just because it looks like a normal outlet doesn't mean it isn't protected by another GFCI outlet in the same run. For instance, on my counter top, there is only one GFCI outlet, but the other "regular" outlets are protected by it.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 13 '15 at 19:31
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    Keep in mind too that even if you put a GFCI on the garbage disposal outlet, the on/off switch itself may not be protected. In that case you might want to get a GFCI switch or breaker.
    – Brain2000
    Dec 16 '15 at 0:10

There are no requirements in National Electrical Code (NEC) that a residential disposal must be GFCI protected. However, there may be requirements in the installation instructions, which would make GFCI protection required.

210.8(A) requires receptacles serving the kitchen countertop to be GFCI protected. It also requires GFCI protection for receptacles within 6' of a sink, but only sinks not in a kitchen.

The 2014 edition added 210.8(D), which requires dwelling unit dishwashers to be GFCI protected.

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection

Article 210 Branch Circuits

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel

(D) Kitchen Dishwasher Branch Circuit GFCI protection shall be provided for outlets that supply dishwashers installed in dwelling units locations.

  • @diceless Please see my update. 2014 does require dishwashers to be protected.
    – Tester101
    Oct 13 '15 at 20:08
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    Tester101, I agree with you. Oddly enough the 2014 NEC handbook has some contradictory statements. Under 210.8(6) there is a footnote that reads: Receptacles installed for disposals, dishwashers, and trash compactors are not required to be protected by GFCIs. Yet, clearly 210.8(D) states otherwise. Also 210.8(D) should be under 210.8.(A) but for whatever reason they gave it its own subsection. Maybe we'll see this fixed in the 2017 NEC.
    – Kris
    Oct 14 '15 at 1:27
  • @Kris I agree it's odd that they added a subsection. Actually I initially missed it, and had to edit my post.
    – Tester101
    Oct 14 '15 at 2:28
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    @diceless If you're not making any changes, you don't have to bring anything up to current code. Codes are minimum safety standards, you can always GFCI protect any circuit you want.
    – Tester101
    Oct 14 '15 at 16:07
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    @Brain2000, Going back to the disposal-GFCI conundrum, under the two minimum required branch circuits required for kitchen countertops, kitchen wall space, dining room, pantry, or similar areas, the disposal would actually be allowed to be counted on one of the two required circuits, as long as it is under 1HP, since it is on a readily accessible kitchen wall space. Not like a builtin, secured dishwasher. Then, one could easily GFCI protect the disposal on the load side of the countertop GFCI outlets. Safe, convenient, and affordable me thinks.
    – Kris
    Dec 16 '15 at 1:57

nec 210.8 states where GFCI are required all receptacles within 6' of a sink (to service countertops). the exception where GFCI are not required areas not easily accessable (Behind a dishwasher, fridg) or if the device is hardwired, I have 1 inspector that wants GFCI on disposal units and several others that do not require them (hard wired) I dont like putting them in on the disposals because they trip fairly often and I have found them not to last more than a few years and I get called back. Their may also be local requirements for them in your area not covered in the NEC.

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