Does the California Electrical Code allow one of the two required 20A circuits powering the wall / floor receptacles to also power a dishwasher?

Bonus question: If not, and the dishwasher requires its own circuit, may that circuit also power the gargabe disposal?

Please cite code sections if you can. My hunch is that the answer is 'no', based on this:

210.52 B.1

In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for refrigeration equipment.


210.52 B.2

No Other Outlets. The two or more small-appliance branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)(1) shall have no other outlets. Exception No. 1: A receptacle installed solely for the electrical supply to and support of an electrical clock in any of the rooms specified in 210.52(B)(1). Exception No. 2: Receptacles installed to provide power for supplemental equipment and lighting on gas-fired ranges, ovens, or counter-mounted cooking units.



  • This answer has been updated. Please review the important details as my first answer was completely wrong!
    – Kris
    Dec 2, 2015 at 1:43
  • No, the 2 mandatory outlet circuits cannot power garbage disposal or dishwasher. Kinda. A common practice is to use an MWBC to power both garbage disposal and dishwasher (one off each leg sharing the neutral. giving each device full wire ampacity). Don't know if that's still allowed. Neither of these half-MWBC can replace the 2 circuits you need for outlets, though you can bring them up to provide yet additional outlets if you GFCI them. (putting GFCI on MWBC is tricky). Jan 14, 2016 at 9:30
  • .... and it's known to the state of California to cause cancer.... Oct 22, 2017 at 16:35

2 Answers 2



Technically the two minimum kitchen, pantry, dining room, breakfast room, or similar area, small appliance branch circuit only applies to outlets served on the walls, counter-tops, and/or floor outlets if they are within 18" of a wall. All other appliances, with the exception of refrigerators, that are fastened in place, CANNOT be included on the two minimum small appliance circuits. They MUST be on their own appliance circuit.

Still though, you may be able to combine and share the dishwasher and disposal on one dedicated circuit if the following conditions are met.

  • The disposal is under 1HP
  • The dishwasher is fastened in place.
  • Lighting loads are not shared with the dishwasher/disposal.
  • The manufacturer does not call for a dedicated circuit.


NEC 2014

210.23 Permissible Loads, Multiple-Outlet Branch Circuits

(A) (2) Utilization Equipment Fastened in Place. The total rating of utilization equipment fastened in place, other than luminaires, shall not exceed 50 percent of the branch-circuit ampere rating where lighting units, cord-and-plug-connected utilization equipment not fastened in place, or both, are also supplied.

430.53 Several Motors or Loads on One Branch Circuit

Two or more motors or one or more motors and other loads shall be permitted to be connected to the same branch circuit under conditions specified in 430.53( D) and in 430.53( A), (B), or (C). The branch-circuit protective device shall be fuses or inverse time circuit breakers.

(A) Not Over 1 Horsepower. Several motors, each not exceeding 1 hp in rating, shall be permitted on a nominal 120-volt branch circuit protected at not over 20 amperes or a branch circuit of 1000 volts, nominal, or less, protected at not over 15 amperes, if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The full-load rating of each motor does not exceed 6 amperes.

  2. The rating of the branch-circuit short-circuit and ground-fault protective device marked on any of the controllers is not exceeded.

  3. Individual overload protection conforms to 430.32.

  • Thanks. Does this also mean that the Garbage disposal should not be on the same circuit as the DW? Can it be on the same circuit as the receptacles?
    – tom
    Nov 2, 2015 at 17:36
  • thanks - so this means that in theory the DW and Garbage Disposal cannot be on the same circuit, right? (my DW is ~1000W at peak). The thing that is tricky is that while a DW is not a "pure resistive load", it almost is, because the motor uses very little power, and I'm pretty sure the only time it's over 6A is when it's heating water, which is a resistive load. So it might not pass the letter of the code, but probably would pass the spirit. I think I'd better ask an inspector!
    – tom
    Nov 3, 2015 at 1:34
  • I can't speak for all dishwashers but the last dishwasher I wired was rated at 12 Amps. Dishwashers may count as a continuous load too as they run for at least if not more than 3 hours, which may require additional factoring of there load.
    – Kris
    Nov 3, 2015 at 1:39
  • 1
    A dishwasher WOULD NOT be considered a continuous load. A continuous load is not simply a load that can run for three hours or more. See the NEC definition for how it is written. It is very common for the DW and disp to share a 20A circuit. I do not know of any area that would not allow this. Nov 4, 2015 at 12:09
  • 1
    @Kris, also, your explanation of how a DW is more than 1HP is not at all accurate. It's not the equivalent load to a 1hp motor, it's a 1hp motor, period. I hardly think the motor in a DW is anywhere near 1HP. Nov 4, 2015 at 12:12

No way.

You need at least two kitchen countertop receptacle circuits. Those circuits can have nothing on them except:

  • Receptacles in kitchen working areas
  • Other general-use receptacles in the kitchen, dining area, and pantry.
  • A wall clock.
  • A gas oven/range with small needs for controls and oven light.

A dishwasher is definitely not on that list.

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