What is safer?


Old 12-03-05, 05:31 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 92
What is safer?

My earlier post/question has left a layman's question in my mind:

In connecting a garbage disposal, if the 2 choices are:

A. Connecting up to a dedicated 15 amp (non-GFCI protected) circuit


B. Connecting up to a 20amp kitchen countertop circuit (protected by a GFCI)

Which way would be safer? Code allows the first but disallows the 2nd type connection.
Again, as a layman, conection "B" would seem safer with the only drawback appearing to be possible breaker trips if the circuit is allowed to get overloaded. (coffee maker, toaster, etc running when disposal is turned on)
Are we talking safety or just convenience here??
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Old 12-03-05, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The NEC does not allow a garbage disposal to be connected to a counter top circuit, so choice number two is not allowed, as you pointed out.

Very few residential garbage disposals need more than 15 amps, so we are not talking about overloading a circuit. In fact, I would be more worried about overloading the 20 amp circuit because I may have other devices plugged in and turned on.

As regards the GFCI, there is no prohibition against GFCI protecting a garbage disposal. Does it make it safer? Yes. Will it nuisance trip? Maybe, especially if the unit is older.

While I don't know all of the reasoning in regards to kitchen codes, I do know that they are trying reduce the possibilities of an overload. For this reason they don't allow lights and other receptacles (with a couple of exceptions) to be on these circuits. Are there other reasons? Perhaps.
Old 12-03-05, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The code book does not explain the rationale for the codes. So that leaves us to speculate. I believe that the idea is to make sure that plenty of power is available to the countertop, so that homeowners are not tempted to use extension cords to feed those power-hungry kitchen counter appliances. Because codes are based on post mortems of fires and injuries, I can only assume that there were a lot of recorded fires and/or injuries occurring due to such extension cords.
Old 12-04-05, 06:19 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,541
The safest option there is to add a GFCI receptacle to the 15A dedicated circuit. It will cost about $12, and take an hour of your time. This is however not required by code.

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