Can a dishwasher and garbage disposal be on the same circuit?

Is it possible and safe to have a garbage disposal on the same circuit as your dishwasher?

Before answering this question, I need to be clear that you should consult the help of a licensed, professional electrician, as well as the building codes for your particular locality. These codes will vary between states, towns, and counties, so be sure you're clear on what is permissible from a code perspective before moving forward.

A good electrician can help you with this aspect as well.

But for informational purposes, I'm going to answer this question here so you can plan your wiring going forward.

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20 Amp Circuit Breakers

You'll need at least one of these.

Can a dishwasher and garbage disposal be on the same circuit?

If you want your dishwasher and garbage disposal to run off the same circuit, you need to make sure you're using a 20-amp circuit, as opposed to a 15-amp circuit. Here's a close up look at a 20-amp circuit breaker:

20-Amp Circuit Breaker

Wiring a garbage disposal and dishwasher into the same circuit requires a 20-amp circuit breaker, like this one.

You'll also need to make sure the total amperage of the two appliances combined does not exceed 80 percent of the circuit amperage rating. Most dishwashers are around 10 amps, with garbage disposals significantly lower, which means you're unlikely to reach that 80 percent mark.

Here's a reference for some dishwasher models and their typical amperage rating

Though this is a good question to ask your electrician as it can vary depending on which two models you're trying to combine.

The More Ideal Scenario

Despite the fact you can share a 20-amp circuit for your dishwasher and garbage disposal, it's definitely not what I'd consider an ideal scenario.

In most cases, a dishwasher should have a dedicated 15-amp circuit.

This is also recommended by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

My preference: Have the garbage disposal on its own dedicated 15-amp circuit as well, unless you have a 20 amp circuit with room to accommodate. But in most cases, a dishwasher is already going to be wired in with a 15-amp dedicated circuit. Instead of swapping the 15 for a 20, just add another 15-amp circuit, dedicated for your garbage disposal.

Always be Open to Suggestions

This is of course contingent on having your electrician sign off on the work. Even if you're doing the work yourself, it's a good idea to confirm the changes you're making with a professional. Chances are, they'll recommend a 15-amp dedicated circuit for both appliances. Just be open to suggestions, if there are any.

Conclusion

To summarize, I'd recommend a dedicated 15-amp circuit for both your dishwasher and your garbage disposal. If you already have the dishwasher on a 20 amp circuit, check your amperage ratings for both appliances and see if you have enough headroom to add the garbage disposal onto that circuit as well.

If you have questions, feel free to drop those in the comments section below and we'll jump in to help out as best we can.

We'll see you there.

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6 thoughts on “Can a dishwasher and garbage disposal be on the same circuit?

  • Thanks for getting back to me with that information. After further inspection the switch that is used is a 3 way switch. the two white wires from the power and the GD are bound together.leaving the two black wires, one going to each side of the switch. So how do I hook up the white and black wires to the switch so that the DW remains hot. I know it works because it was hooked up like that for the last 20 years with no electrical problems. Next time I will take pictures. Thanks again for your help. It is on a 20 amp breaker.

    • Hey Bair – I can’t recall if I answered this or not, but it 100% sounds like you need an electrician in there. This is way beyond my knowledge level of the topic. Sorry for the delay here (or if I’m answering a second time).

      Did it work out? Let me know.

  • I live in an older home built in the 1940s. the kitchen was remodled in 2000. An 18 inch wide dishwasher was installed next to the sink where there is a garbadge disposal. Recently I replaced the disposal. The old one was hardwired into a switch on the common wall seperating the storage space under the sink and the diswasher. Both the supply wire that is stapled to the wall and the GD wire enter the switch box on the same side in two different holes. The wire from the DW goes through a hole in the wall at the bottom of the switch box and then enters the bottom hole. So heres my prblem. I forgot how the DW was wired to the switch. I do know that either the white wire or the black entered one of those holes you stick a wire into the back of the switch. The other went to either the brass or silver screw. And of course all the ground wires are connected together. I havent been able to find anything on utube that uses just one switch. Some show an outlet and a switch or one using a plug for the GD and a seperate box for the DW. It is on a 20 amp breaker as are all the breakers in the kitchen. The switch is for the GD. The DW remained hot and was turned on by using the switch on the DW itself. Can you help me?

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