Dishwasher install questions (electrical)

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Old 02-22-19, 12:18 AM
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Dishwasher install questions (electrical)

Hi folks,

Our 20 year old dishwasher (DW) finally bit the dust. We have a new one in mind to purchase, but I have a few install questions first.

1. The current DW is hard-wired. The house wiring is aluminum. They just had the houseís aluminum wiring wire-nutted to the machineís wires even though the manual says use copper wiring only. Is it ok to copy the previous install?

2. If YES for #1, is there anything special to do? Special wire nuts? Special anti-oxidation ďgooĒ to use on the wires? I feel like Iíve heard of that before.

3. Is it now required to use a GFCI receptacle on a dedicated circuit instead of hard-wiring the DW?

Thanks,
JP

 
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Old 02-22-19, 01:16 AM
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Is it ok to copy the previous install?
No. You would need to use connectors rated for connecting aluminum to copper. There is only one wire nut (purple wirenu) rated for that but when you have seen the online pictures of its failures you'd know it isn't a good choice. Alumiconn is a good choice.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 03:47 AM
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3. Is it now required to use a GFCI receptacle on a dedicated circuit instead of hard-wiring the DW?
A dishwasher is required to be GFCI protected. This can either be done with a GFCI receptacle or breaker. Any GFCI device is required to be readily accessible. This means it cannot be behind the dishwasher. I like to use a receptacle installed under the sink and install a cord on the dishwasher.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 05:31 AM
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Hi, I like Toylnís method, receptacles are rated for cu/al which would remove the splice option, get a 6í power strip from a Big box store cut the cord off and use it to connect up the DW to a GFCI receptacle under the sink.
Geo
 
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Old 02-22-19, 06:16 AM
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Most places don't require upgrading to GFCI when replacing the appliance, only for new installs or major renovations.

Cutting and re-using a cord from a power strip is not an approved method. They sell dishwasher appliance cords for this purpose. There is some argument that you need to use the manufacturer's approved cord.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 06:24 AM
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Agree with the power cord and mfg. requirements, only difference I have seen is that it comes with a NM connector.
Geo
 
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Old 02-22-19, 06:25 AM
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As stated above, install a receptacle, and install a GFCI breaker. Now you're up to code and safe! including any other outlets that might be on that same circuit...however it should be a dedicated circuit.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 07:27 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the replies....I really appreciate it. Here are a few follow-up points and questions:

1. The dishwasher is sold with an optional "install kit" which includes a power cord. So I guess I'll buy that kit so I'm using the manufacturer's cord.

2. I don't know how to work with the electrical panel in the garage, so installing a GFCI breaker isn't really in my skill set. I can, however, install a GFCI receptacle under the sink, so I think that looks like my best bet.

3. I'm looking at the GFCI receptacles on Home Depot's website, and can't find one that says it's ok to use with aluminum wiring. Would someone be so kind as to provide a Home Depot link to the correct GFCI?

4. If the receptacle goes under the sink, the wall of that area is the wood cabinet. So I'm assuming you would install a receptacle in a surface-mounted box, correct? I guess the alternative is to cut a hole in the wood and then a hole in the sheetrock behind it and install the box in the wall.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-22-19, 07:44 AM
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Read post #3, Tolyn's point " Any GFCI device is required to be readily accessible. This means it cannot be behind the dishwasher." Being under the sink may not be considered accessible.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 07:47 AM
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I don't know of any GFCI receptacles that are rated for use with aluminum wire. The two options I see are to either use a GFCI breaker in the main panel if one is available for your panel. Or, use AlumiConn connectors in the box under the sink to add 6" of copper wire onto the aluminum, then install the GFCI receptacle. For that method you'll likely need to update to a double-gang junction box to have enough room for the alumiconns and the GFCI. The best option would be to pull a new copper cable, which might not be that big of a job if you have an accessible basement, crawlspace or attic.

AlumiConns are the only DIY method recommended by the US-CPSC for connecting aluminum wire. Technically the purple wirenuts are still listed for it, but there is significant concern about the validity of the UL testing on the purple wirenuts given the very high failure rate in the field. I personally do not use them as it is too high liability in my opinion.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 01:44 PM
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I don't know of any GFCI receptacles that are rated for use with aluminum wire. The two options I see are to either use a GFCI breaker in the main panel if one is available for your panel. Or, use AlumiConn connectors in the box under the sink to add 6" of copper wire onto the aluminum, then install the GFCI receptacle. For that method you'll likely need to update to a double-gang junction box to have enough room for the alumiconns and the GFCI. The best option would be to pull a new copper cable, which might not be that big of a job if you have an accessible basement, crawlspace or attic.
Just a heads-up that there currently is no outlet under the sink. There's only a cable that comes from the wall behind the DW, and gets hardwired into the DW. So the question is whether to hardwire the new DW (although the wires are aluminum), or to install an outlet under the sink and plug in the dishwasher. But again, aluminum wiring. So I would imagine the GFCI outlet would need to accept aluminum wiring.
 
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Old 02-22-19, 04:16 PM
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Just a heads-up that there currently is no outlet under the sink. There's only a cable that comes from the wall behind the DW, and gets hardwired into the DW. So the question is whether to hardwire the new DW (although the wires are aluminum), or to install an outlet under the sink and plug in the dishwasher. But again, aluminum wiring. So I would imagine the GFCI outlet would need to accept aluminum wiring.

All this talk about GFCI protection on the dishwasher is irrelevant till we know what code cycle your city has adopted, it may not even be required.

If you would compare the bottom side of the new dishwasher to the bottom side of your old one I think you'll find that hardwiring the new machine will be nearly impossible. The best thing to do is to install the receptacle under the kitchen sink and install the cord on the dishwasher. Before the machine is installed it's easy to lay it on it's back and install the cord. No manufacturer makes a CO/ALR rated GFCI receptacle so what you should do is buy a CO/ALR rated duplex receptacle that can be wired with aluminum wire and change the breaker in the panel to a GFCI breaker, but only if GFCI protection is required locally.

NOTE: CO/ALR means the device is approved for both copper and aluminum wire.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 05:23 PM
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How do I go about finding out what the code is in my town? Go to town hall?

Comparing (1) hardwiring with AlumiConn connectors, or (2) using a receptacle rated for both aluminum and copper, do think one method is ďsaferĒ than the other?
 
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Old 02-23-19, 07:13 PM
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Give the permit/inspection/zoning office a call as they should have a quick answer as to what code you are on. Also check out your government's web site as it can be listed there. Only by talking to the inspector will you find out what flavors will pass as code is always interpreted locally.

The aluminum wiring is currently acting as a semi-flexible whip to feed the DW. Aluminum doesn't like bending. I would carefully route it to a box. You could still hard wire by running NM copper from there - box used as junction with the purple connectors. I would go with a 4x4 box and use a GFCI receptacle. Some inspectors don't like it as not "readily accessible" since you might have to move stuff stored under the sink.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 07:35 PM
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I would go with a 4x4 box and use a GFCI receptacle. Some inspectors don't like it as not "readily accessible" since you might have to move stuff stored under the sink.
So have the cable with the aluminum wiring go to the new GFCI receptacle, and then just plug in the dishwasher with the manufacturer's cord? But alas, thread #10 says there's no GFCIs rated for aluminum.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 08:03 PM
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You can use a GFCI breaker* or you can pigtail copper wire using Alumiconn connectors and ant corrosion paste to connect to a GFCI receptacle.

Or here is a blank front GFCI rated for aluminum. https://www.menards.com/main/electri...4451100660.htm

*Breakers are generally rated for both copper and aluminum.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-24-19 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 02-23-19, 09:41 PM
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I mentioned a 4x4 box to give you plenty of room use the Alumiconns. Could go with surface mount and raised cover - screw it to the back or side of the cabinet under the sink.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 06:27 AM
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ray2047 , Yesterday 11:03 PM
You can use a GFCI breaker* or you can pigtail copper wire using Alumiconn connectors and ant corrosion paste to connect to a GFCI receptacle.

Or here is a blank front GFCI rated for aluminum. https://www.menards.com/main/electri...4451100660.htm

*Breakers are generally rated for both copper and aluminum.
So with the blank front gfci, I would take the aluminum house wires and connect them to the LINE side of the gfci. Then run copper wire from the LOAD side of the gfci to the dishwasher. Does that sound correct? I guess you wouldn’t need the anti corrosion paste in this scenario because you’re not directly connecting aluminum wire to copper wire, correct?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-24-19 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 02-24-19, 06:49 AM
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So with the blank front gfci, I would take the aluminum house wires and connect them to the LINE side of the gfci.
NO. ray was referring to GFCI breaker, not blank face GFCI. Breakers, including GFCI breakers, are rated for aluminum wire.
Then you have to pigtail to copper wire using alumiconn at the dishwasher end and then you can connect copper wire to this pigtailed wire.


I don't think you have to install GFCI or receptacle for dishwasher since you are just replacing existing one. But, you definitely have to use alumiconn to aluminum wire to dishwasher.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 07:28 AM
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Thanks. But then whatís the blank face gfci for then? Not disputing, just donít understand what itís for then.

Installing a gfci breaker would be great, but I canít do that myself (never worked on an electrical panel) so I would need to call in an electrician.

Will be contacting the town tomorrow to see if gfci is required. Although if itís just a little more work and makes it safer, then I might as well just do it.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 07:49 AM
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The GFCI blank face would be installed someplace that is readily accessible, like near the panel.

Working in a panel is not as intimidating as you might think. By turning off the main breaker the only thing that would still be energized are the large conductors feeding the panel. If it turns out you do need GFCI protection I would just install a 4x4" box next to the panel to add the GFCI blank face.

I don't think you have to install GFCI or receptacle for dishwasher since you are just replacing existing one
I would agree. If the existing installation is not modified it could just be reconnected. However, there is also nothing wrong with following the latest code requirements.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 07:52 AM
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I did give a link to a blank face GFCI rated for aluminum.

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You can use a 2-gang box. The blank face GFCI and a 15 amp duplex receptacle mounted in the same box. Al to the GFCI and copper from the GFCI to the receptacle.

That listing it now seems was in error. Please disregard.
 

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Old 02-24-19, 07:58 AM
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Personally I would replace the wiring all the way back to the breaker box if at all possible with modern copper.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 08:13 AM
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I did give a link to a blank face GFCI rated for aluminum.

Ray, I saw where Menard's had listed in their specs that this blank face GFCI device could be wired with either aluminum or copper wire, but I think that's incorrect, no where do they show the device being CO/ALR rated. I Googled the device model number and found them available at several places and none of those places show a CO/ALR rating. In my opinion, that blank face GFCI device is not rated for aluminum wiring.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 09:46 AM
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I don't remember any gfi listed for use with aluminum. I doubt a blank face is any different.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 10:37 AM
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The blank face GFCI unit that fits in place of a receptacle can be used to hard wire a dishwasher instead of attaching a plug to the latter's cord. Use the GFCI load terminals for that purpose. It would have all the other advantages and also all of the other disadvantages of installing an actual receptacle under the sink.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 12:19 PM
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I did give a link to a blank face GFCI rated for aluminum.
I didn't see that part.
But, I'm pretty sure that specification is incorrect.

Legrand's specification says copper or copper-clad only. Nothing about aluminum.
https://www.legrand.us/-/media/brand...test-gfci.ashx
 
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Old 02-24-19, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the double check on what I found. I retract my suggestion.
 
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Old 02-24-19, 12:49 PM
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Took a trip to Home Depot. The electrician said the same thing there. They donít have GFCIs that are rated for aluminum. They just had normal receptacles that are for copper and aluminum.

They had a similar (this one was made by Leviton) blank-faced GFCI, but it wasnít rated for aluminum either.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/206001151
 
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Old 02-24-19, 02:03 PM
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Install the GFCI next to the panel with a 4x4" box.
Run a new set of wires (LINE) from the existing breaker to the GFCI that will be installed in the 4x4" box. Run a 2nd set of wires (LOAD) from 4x4" box and connect to the existing aluminum wires going to the dishwasher in 4x4" box or panel using approved copper to aluminum connection.

Connect the new dishwasher the same as the old one using an approved method.
 
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