When I removed my dishwasher in order to level the floors and install new flooring, this is what I found:

ripped drywall

ripped drywall closeup

It looks like the electrician just left the wire sticking out of a hole in the wall, but not enough, and then whoever installed the dishwasher pulled and ripped the wall until they got enough cord.

I live in Rock Hill, York County, SC. Is this up to code? How do I find out? Do I need to call an electrician? Can I fix it myself? Or should I leave it like it is?

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    Maybe I'm just (un)lucky, but I've never seen a dishwasher wired any other way than this - with a piece of NM coming out of a rough ripped hole into the box that is part of the dishwasher - except for one that was plugged into a regular outlet under the sink (and that was definitely not up to code - they had water from the leaky faucet dripping onto the outlet box). – Moshe Katz Aug 15 '16 at 8:33
  • Just as a note for those they may stumble across this, 2017 NEC 422.16(B)(2)(6) requires receptacles for cord connection of dishwashers to be in the cabinet adjacent to the dishwasher. No restriction about being/not being cabinet with plumbing. – NoSparksPlease Feb 11 '20 at 17:49

For a hardwired appliance, either one of two things are true in order for the connection to comply with Code:

  1. The appliance provides a junction box on itself where the field wiring connections can be made, or
  2. The appliance provides a "whip" of cordage or wire-in-flex that has bare ends -- this is intended to be terminated in a field-installed junction box.

If it's the former, then the drywall damage is pure sloppiness (and wouldn't qualify as "neat and workmanlike" if you ask me -- some sort of LV bracket could be used for cable routing purposes I suppose?). If your dishwasher does the latter (which is my suspicion), then you need to install a box and NM clamp for the cable (a surface mounted "handy box" would do, as would an old work box cut into the wall) and then use a faceplate with a knockout on the front along with a cable clamp or bushing to route the appliance whip into the box.


This is perfectly up to code, just messy. Your dishwasher like many others is direct wired, with the junction box as part of the dishwasher. No additional junction boxes are needed here. Nor does it require GFCI protection because it is existing and not a new circuit.

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    Really? You can have NM sheathed cable just hanging out of a jagged hole in the wall? I am skeptical, it is not even close to a sanitary setup. What about a strain relief? What if someone yanks out the dishwasher and pulls that romex with it? No way; NM cable to box with strain relief, receptacle with metal cover, plug in pigtail to box on appliance. @Ed beal has the right idea here. – Jimmy Fix-it Aug 14 '16 at 23:01
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    It is not hanging out the wall once the dishwasher is mounted in place. A strain relief clamp is provided at the dishwasher junction box. This method of wiring dishwashers has been done for years. Your suggestion of a plain receptacle might be considered a code violation because current code requires modification of a circuit to be brought up to code which would require the outlet/circuit to be GFCI protected. – Kris Aug 15 '16 at 0:13
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    I personally wouldn't call NM cable hanging out of a jagged hole in the wall "neat and workmanlike" -- but that's fixable without modifying the circuit proper, I reckon. – ThreePhaseEel Aug 15 '16 at 4:45

Terminate the NM sheathed cable with a strain relief/clamp at a box in the wall. Install a receptacle with a metal cover. Plug in a 6' appliance pigtail and wire that to the integral box on the dishwasher.


I have been a Carpenter by trade for about 15yrs, I've been doing High-end Remodeling for the past 10 or so yrs. This is nothing new even in million dollar, I've encountered Hardwired Dishwashers, the occasional roll away ones that'll plug into your Gfi... I've disassembled & installed new ones at least 30+ times by now & all the same, I've seen some with much bigger holes that technically shouldn't have passed fire codes but you have nothing to worry about! If you're worried about the cosmetics you can Hot patch the drywall or it looks small enough you could simply tape & mud it

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Feb 11 '20 at 13:36

All electrical connections should be made in a listed box. You can install a single gang "old work" box in the wall. Wire nut a new longer piece of wire to connect to the box on the dishwasher. You will need a cover plate with a hole and a clamp to protect the wire. Current code requires a GFCI for new installs but since this is repair work you are not required to update to a GFCI. My state exempts dishwashers from GFCI protection even on new installs. I have heard some states require all work like this to be done by a licesened electrician. Many states allow a home owner to do all there Electricial. Checking your state amended Electrticial code would be a good idea so you know.

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    This is a existing direct wire dishwasher. No GFCI required, nor any additional outlet boxes. – Kris Aug 14 '16 at 19:06
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    I did say new installs required GFCI not existing but the connections are required to be made in a box. If the wire is not long enough, as indicated by the OP. A box would be required to extend the wire to the box on the dishwasher. All connections Shal be made in a listed box or enclosure. This has been code for decades. – Ed Beal Aug 14 '16 at 19:46
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    So if that wire was pulled all the way to the dishwasher and connected in a box in/on the dishwasher, then it would be code compliant? – brhans Aug 14 '16 at 22:39
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    Yes in the box at the dishwasher with no splice it would be code compliant. If the original install was up to code. My impression was that the wire was not long enough/ thus the recommendation for a old work box and a pig tail. – Ed Beal Aug 14 '16 at 23:37

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