If a switched GFCI protected outlet is required, and the switch will be near a sink (above a counter-top), should the switching be done the load side of the GFCI outlet? (e.g. for a garbage disposal) Seems there are two ways to do it:

  1. Switch hot from panel to line of GFCI outlet, use that as the switched outlet. Detailed here: https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/16849/11812

  2. Wire direct from panel to line side of GFCI, then switch the hot on the load side of the GFCI to a 2nd receptacle (and neutral back to load on GFCI). Detailed here: https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/28625/11812

The 2nd option protects the switch, and is more work. My questions are:

Is that a good idea?

Is it required by code? (California)


1 Answer 1


I believe the NEC requirement is only that the receptacle be protected. I don't know of any additional California requirement that would apply, or there could be something local, you never know.

Is it better that the switch be on the protected side of the GFCI? Well of course it's at least a little better. The only way I can think of a switch zapping you in a way that would be protected by GFCI is if the switch wasn't properly grounded and somehow a loose connection energized the screws holding on the cover plate, something like that. So it seems pretty safe to me in the first place if the switch is in good condition and grounded properly.

  • 1
    Thanks @batsplaterson. Make sense. If someone operated the switch with dripping wet hands, could that create a path to hot, or are switches designed to prevent that?
    – tom
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 23:03

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