Electrical outlet placement for dedicated sink disposal

treehouse

Member
Location
Texas
I'm putting in a dedicated circuit for a sink disposal. Yes, I understand there is some controversy whether a dedicate circuit is even required by code or not. However, just because I can and because I want to be as compliant as possible with 210.19(A)(1), I am just going to take the time and put a dedicated circuit in for the sink disposal.

The placement of the electrical outlet box is a tiny issue though as it is going in the same cabinet as the sink. You know how electricity and water don't mix? So yeah, there are obviously going to be hot and cold water lines supplying the sink.

So, where in the kitchen sink cabinet... Or maybe I should ask... How high up do you guys rough-in the electrical outlet box for an electrical outlet powering the sink disposal? We are talking before drywall here. And, how about a GFCI outlet?
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Hello, and welcome to the Forum. I think there might be a little hesitance to answer your questions, as you're not an Electrical Contractor (according to your profile). So it might be a good idea to clarify if your question is for a project at work or something you're planning to do at your own home, as Forum rules prohibit us from helping with DIY projects. I'm a licensed Electrical Engineer, and I can't get DIY advice here either -- just the way it is.

I'm putting in a dedicated circuit for a sink disposal. Yes, I understand there is some controversy whether a dedicate circuit is even required by code or not. However, just because I can and because I want to be as compliant as possible with 210.19(A)(1), I am just going to take the time and put a dedicated circuit in for the sink disposal.

The placement of the electrical outlet box is a tiny issue though as it is going in the same cabinet as the sink. You know how electricity and water don't mix? So yeah, there are obviously going to be hot and cold water lines supplying the sink.

So, where in the kitchen sink cabinet... Or maybe I should ask... How high up do you guys rough-in the electrical outlet box for an electrical outlet powering the sink disposal? We are talking before drywall here. And, how about a GFCI outlet?
I don't really feel comfortable answering the question about exact rough-in height -- that's something we usually leave up to the Contractor. Enough things get changed last-minute in the field that I'm not aware of (small changes to cabinetry, sink location/style, etc.) that it makes more sense to let the guys in the field decide where will be best. The EC can usually talk to the cabinet guys and the plumbers (or at least to the GC), and get a pretty good idea of where the best location will be -- I can't do that from behind my desk. I've found that an Engineer who tries to micromanage exact locations usually just ends causing a bunch of problems that could have been prevented by letting the guys in the field use their own expertise.

As for whether or not to use a GFCI receptacle, that depends on what code cycle you're on. If it's 2011 or earlier, I'd say GFCI is not required, as it only requires kitchen receptacles that serve the countertop areas to be GFCI protected (see NEC 210.8(A)(6)).

If your project will be built under the 2014 NEC, though, then GFCI will (IMO) be required by 210.8(A)(7), which eliminated the exemption for kitchens. You'll find varying opinions on whether or not you're allowed to locate the GFCI device under the sink -- some say you need to use a dead-front device above the counter. However, I couldn't find any requirement for this particular GFCI device to be readily accessible, so I guess I fall into the camp that says the GFCI is allowed to be located under the sink. Whether that's a good idea or not, is a design issue.
 

Gregg Harris

Senior Member
Location
Virginia
I'm putting in a dedicated circuit for a sink disposal. Yes, I understand there is some controversy whether a dedicate circuit is even required by code or not. However, just because I can and because I want to be as compliant as possible with 210.19(A)(1), I am just going to take the time and put a dedicated circuit in for the sink disposal.

The placement of the electrical outlet box is a tiny issue though as it is going in the same cabinet as the sink. You know how electricity and water don't mix? So yeah, there are obviously going to be hot and cold water lines supplying the sink.

So, where in the kitchen sink cabinet... Or maybe I should ask... How high up do you guys rough-in the electrical outlet box for an electrical outlet powering the sink disposal? We are talking before drywall here. And, how about a GFCI outlet?
(B) Specific Appliances. (1) Electrically Operated Kitchen Waste Disposers. Electrically operated kitchen waste disposers shall be permitted to be cord-and-plug-connected with a flexible cord identified as suitable for the purpose in the installation instructions of the appliance manufacturer, where all of the following conditions are met:


(1)
The flexible cord shall be terminated with a grounding-type attachment plug.


Exception: A listed kitchen waste disposer distinctly marked to identify it as protected by a system of double insulation, or its equivalent, shall not be required to be terminated with a grounding-type attachment plug.


(2)
The length of the cord shall not be less than 450 mm (18 in.) and not over 900 mm (36 in.).


(3)
Receptacles shall be located to avoid physical damage to the flexible cord.



(4)
The receptacle shall be accessible.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
..... You know how electricity and water don't mix?........
How much water is going to go through this electrically-driven disposal?

Electric water heater?
Washing machine?
Sump pump?
Well pump?
Ice maker in your fridge?
Whirlpool?
Hot tub?
Pressure washer?
Dishwasher?
 

treehouse

Member
Location
Texas
Hi guys. Thanks for your suggestions. I, unfortunately, am tasked with a few other little things to get this project done and this is one of them. I am in Texas and there is no licensing of General Contractors here in Texas which means any tradesperson can call themselves a Contractor. Whether or not they are qualified is an opinionated issue. The Electrician wiring everything is no longer on this project, through no fault of his own. He was a good man and did some excellent work. I am in the process of getting another. By no means am I doing this as a DIY. I'm only want to be strict with code and good safe design so I can be more knowledgable in communicating with the next guy. The last Electrician was so good and explained everything.

Sorry for rambling. So anyways...
I think I am going to go with a GCFI outlet under the kitchen sink for this. Whether or not that is truly accessible is debatable. I would consider that under a kitchen sink is easily accessible. After all, code says that for Gas shut-off valves (ex: gas stove/range), the shut-off valve must be accessible. And it is considered accessible for the gas shut-off valve to be in an adjacent cabinet. So, since I can't find anything that states that a GCFI dedicated outlet for a kitchen sink cannot be in a sink cabinet, I am going to assume that there is nothing wrong with it. I don't know about you, but I abhor dead-front GFCI plates. You always wonder what does the dead-front connect to. It just seems more intuitive to put the GFCI outlet in the sink cabinet.

Thanks again guys.
 

treehouse

Member
Location
Texas
How much water is going to go through this electrically-driven disposal?

Electric water heater?
Washing machine?
Sump pump?
Well pump?
Ice maker in your fridge?
Whirlpool?
Hot tub?
Pressure washer?
Dishwasher?

Oh yeah! Duh! Sorry, I forgot to answer these questions. I am kinda confused by your questions, but maybe I can interpret what you might be inquiring about... The water in the kitchen sink is going through this kitchen sink disposal. So basically, this is for a kitchen sink disposal. Probably going to be about 3/4 horsepower. If I remember correctly, the sink has a P-trap that drains into a common drain underneath the house, which connects to a P-trap that drains the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and clothes washing machine.

So, do you guys just put the electrical box for the kitchen sink disposal at a standard height? This is an old house, and the electrical outlet for the dishwasher is at about 12" from the ground. It's been like that for years. So, I assume that 12" from ground would be the appropriate height for an electrical outlet for the kitchen sink disposal?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Hi guys. Thanks for your suggestions. I, unfortunately, am tasked with a few other little things to get this project done and this is one of them. I am in Texas and there is no licensing of General Contractors here in Texas which means any tradesperson can call themselves a Contractor. Whether or not they are qualified is an opinionated issue. The Electrician wiring everything is no longer on this project, through no fault of his own. He was a good man and did some excellent work. I am in the process of getting another. By no means am I doing this as a DIY. I'm only want to be strict with code and good safe design so I can be more knowledgable in communicating with the next guy. The last Electrician was so good and explained everything.

Sorry for rambling. So anyways...
I think I am going to go with a GCFI outlet under the kitchen sink for this. Whether or not that is truly accessible is debatable. I would consider that under a kitchen sink is easily accessible. After all, code says that for Gas shut-off valves (ex: gas stove/range), the shut-off valve must be accessible. And it is considered accessible for the gas shut-off valve to be in an adjacent cabinet. So, since I can't find anything that states that a GCFI dedicated outlet for a kitchen sink cannot be in a sink cabinet, I am going to assume that there is nothing wrong with it. I don't know about you, but I abhor dead-front GFCI plates. You always wonder what does the dead-front connect to. It just seems more intuitive to put the GFCI outlet in the sink cabinet.

Thanks again guys.
The NEC has definitions of "accessible" and "readily accessible".

GFCI accessibility was changed in 2011 NEC and they must now be "readily accessible".

I suggest you either get a code book and learn this stuff if you are going to do it or get someone that does know what they are doing and leave it alone. Even if there is no law that says you can't wire this (and I bet there likely is), do you really want the liability if you are not qualified to do so? Does your insurance company know you do wiring?
 
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treehouse

Member
Location
Texas
The NEC has definitions of "accessible" and "readily accessible".

GFCI accessibility was changed in 2011 NEC and they must now be "readily accessible".

I suggest you either get a code book and learn this stuff if you are going to do it or get someone that does know what they are doing and leave it alone. Even if there is no law that says you can't wire this (and I bet there likely is), do you really want the liability if you are not qualified to do so? Does your insurance company know you do wiring?

I realize that that it is a lot to read and perhaps you may have overlooked my reply, but I am not personally wiring this. Or perhaps, I was not clear. I am tasked with overseeing this as a finish-up from the Electrician who has done great work for us in the past, until someone else (ex: electrician) can properly do this.

This is merely a question based on design and safety, not necessarily code. I am already fully aware that an outlet in a kitchen sink cabinet can, and will, pass for accessibility standards. And I already know that I can, or should I say, I can have an electrical outlet placed at 12", 16", 18", or wherever from the floor. I just want to know where you guys prefer to rough in an electrical outlet.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The 2014 would require the disposal receptacle to be gfci. I assume you are not under the 2014 so a receptacle anywhere under the cabinet is compliant. Normally I direct wire the disposal and have a switch on the counter. I often put recep. under the cabinet for instant hot water heaters and dishwashers. There is no issue with the water
 

George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
Guys, I remind you that if you question the appropriateness of a post (ie possible DIY), you should report the post and let the mods hash it out. It is disrespectful and drags the thread off topic if we spend half the thread debating on whether to give an answer or not.

These days when you report a post, all moderators are emailed and a thread is generated behind the scenes all but begging for immediate moderator response. We get these things handled fairly quickly (and fairly, I hope) without raking newbies over the coals. :)
 

mike1061

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
What I do is, stub the pipe into the cabinet, Then after the cabinet is installed I pipe to a box near the front. My findings are that a recpt on the back wall just doesn't work. The plumber always puts something in front of it.
In Texas I believe you use Romex, so can you leave a whip, strap it to the side of the cabinet for a box near the front?
I've seen disposals that were hard wired and some that come with a cord. If there hard hard wired, I whip from the box in the front of the cabinet. If they come with a cord, aren't we required to use it, because the code says we are to install things according to the manufacture's instructions? There for I would use a GFCI recpt in the box near the front of the cabinet.
Thanks
Mike
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I realize that that it is a lot to read and perhaps you may have overlooked my reply, but I am not personally wiring this. Or perhaps, I was not clear. I am tasked with overseeing this as a finish-up from the Electrician who has done great work for us in the past, until someone else (ex: electrician) can properly do this.

This is merely a question based on design and safety, not necessarily code. I am already fully aware that an outlet in a kitchen sink cabinet can, and will, pass for accessibility standards. And I already know that I can, or should I say, I can have an electrical outlet placed at 12", 16", 18", or wherever from the floor. I just want to know where you guys prefer to rough in an electrical outlet.



I believe it was quoted from NEC in about the 2nd or 3rd post the cord on this appliance must be between 18 and 36 inches long. That cord will reach just about any place you decide to put the receptacle in a typical 36 inch sink base cabinet. I prefer not to put it directly behind the disposer or plumbing as it just makes it harder to get to if you need to work on it sometime later, but that is just a personal preference and is not a code. It could even go on a side wall of the cabinet or behind the cabinet face for that matter, and I have done both of those situations many times also. Rough in is not quite the same for those situations as there is usually nothing to rough in to at the time.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
The NEC has definitions of "accessible" and "readily accessible".

GFCI accessibility was changed in 2011 NEC and they must now be "readily accessible".
...
Can you give a reference for this in the 2011 NEC? I looked for it, but couldn't find anything that would apply to a GFCI for a disposal.

422.5 is new in the 2014 NEC, and it's the only section I've found that requires the GFCI device to be "readily accessible" -- I couldn't find anything prior to 2014. But even the new 422.5 doesn't apply to the GFCI for a garbage disposal, because it specifically says "The device providing GFCI protection required in this article shall be readily accessible" (emphasis added). Since Article 422 doesn't require a GFCI for a kitchen garbage disposal (that would be required by Article 210, again in the 2014 NEC), 422.5 doesn't apply. Unless there's another requirement I missed (wouldn't be the first time).

Guys, I remind you that if you question the appropriateness of a post (ie possible DIY), you should report the post and let the mods hash it out. It is disrespectful and drags the thread off topic if we spend half the thread debating on whether to give an answer or not.

These days when you report a post, all moderators are emailed and a thread is generated behind the scenes all but begging for immediate moderator response. We get these things handled fairly quickly (and fairly, I hope) without raking newbies over the coals. :)
Sorry, George. That wasn't my intent when I brought it up -- I was just trying to let the OP know it would be a good idea to clarify that this is not a DIY project, because that might help forum members feel more comfortable answering -- but I can see how it might be taken the wrong way. My bad. :ashamed1:
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Can you give a reference for this in the 2011 NEC? I looked for it, but couldn't find anything that would apply to a GFCI for a disposal.

422.5 is new in the 2014 NEC, and it's the only section I've found that requires the GFCI device to be "readily accessible" -- I couldn't find anything prior to 2014. But even the new 422.5 doesn't apply to the GFCI for a garbage disposal, because it specifically says "The device providing GFCI protection required in this article shall be readily accessible" (emphasis added). Since Article 422 doesn't require a GFCI for a kitchen garbage disposal (that would be required by Article 210, again in the 2014 NEC), 422.5 doesn't apply. Unless there's another requirement I missed (wouldn't be the first time).
Read 210.8 it says this in the first part before all the subparts of 210.8.

At the very least any GFCI required by 210.8 needs to be readily accessible. If GFCI is optional or required by another section then maybe it doesn't need to be readily accessible - IDK.
 

JohnE

Senior Member
Location
Milford, MA
I put my disposal receptacles 20" above the floor to the bottom of the receptacle. That has always kept it higher than the plumbing drain if I am there before the plumbing rough in. I don't worry much about horizontal placement, other than to make sure it isn't behind a water pipe.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Read 210.8 it says this in the first part before all the subparts of 210.8.

At the very least any GFCI required by 210.8 needs to be readily accessible. If GFCI is optional or required by another section then maybe it doesn't need to be readily accessible - IDK.
Thanks. I don't have a hard copy of the 2011 yet (CA doesn't adopt it until next month -- I've got time), and I missed that part going through the online edition.

So, it looks like the OP will be okay with a GFCI receptacle under the sink as long as the project isn't done under the 2014 NEC, since it's not required by 210.8. If the project has to comply with the 2014 NEC, then the GFCI is required by 210.8 and therefore must be readily accessible.

Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible)
Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.
Based on this NEC definition, there still seems to be some room for interpretation that might allow the under-sink GFCI to be considered readily accessible -- after all, you have to kneel down and open a cupboard door, but you don't need to use a ladder or remove obstacles (unless you pack your cupboards really full). But that's a question for the Inspector, and should only be an issue beginning with the 2014 NEC.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Thanks. I don't have a hard copy of the 2011 yet (CA doesn't adopt it until next month -- I've got time), and I missed that part going through the online edition.

So, it looks like the OP will be okay with a GFCI receptacle under the sink as long as the project isn't done under the 2014 NEC, since it's not required by 210.8. If the project has to comply with the 2014 NEC, then the GFCI is required by 210.8 and therefore must be readily accessible.


Based on this NEC definition, there still seems to be some room for interpretation that might allow the under-sink GFCI to be considered readily accessible -- after all, you have to kneel down and open a cupboard door, but you don't need to use a ladder or remove obstacles (unless you pack your cupboards really full). But that's a question for the Inspector, and should only be an issue beginning with the 2014 NEC.
Yes there is some room for interpretation of "readily accessible" and has caused some confusion. Many AHJ's have accepted at the very least that if you need to use a "tool" to gain access then it is not readily accessible. But even that has it's discrepancies.
 

Gregg Harris

Senior Member
Location
Virginia
Can you give a reference for this in the 2011 NEC? I looked for it, but couldn't find anything that would apply to a GFCI for a disposal.

422.5 is new in the 2014 NEC, and it's the only section I've found that requires the GFCI device to be "readily accessible" -- I couldn't find anything prior to 2014. But even the new 422.5 doesn't apply to the GFCI for a garbage disposal, because it specifically says "The device providing GFCI protection required in this article shall be readily accessible" (emphasis added). Since Article 422 doesn't require a GFCI for a kitchen garbage disposal (that would be required by Article 210, again in the 2014 NEC), 422.5 doesn't apply. Unless there's another requirement I missed (wouldn't be the first time).


Sorry, George. That wasn't my intent when I brought it up -- I was just trying to let the OP know it would be a good idea to clarify that this is not a DIY project, because that might help forum members feel more comfortable answering -- but I can see how it might be taken the wrong way. My bad. :ashamed1:
Changed From 2008

?
210.8: Added new requirement that GFCI devices be readily accessible.



Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Changed From 2008

?
210.8: Added new requirement that GFCI devices be readily accessible.



Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.
Which brings us to what I mentioned a few posts back - since this wording is in 210.8 does it only apply to GFCI's required by 210.8 or does all GFCI's need to be readily accessible?

210.8 doesn't require GFCI's for swimming pool equipment, spa's, hydromassage tubs, etc. art 680 does. I don't find similar language requiring readily accessibility of GFCI's in art 680 though. Same can be said for a few other areas that require GFCI protection.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Which brings us to what I mentioned a few posts back - since this wording is in 210.8 does it only apply to GFCI's required by 210.8 or does all GFCI's need to be readily accessible?

210.8 doesn't require GFCI's for swimming pool equipment, spa's, hydromassage tubs, etc. art 680 does. I don't find similar language requiring readily accessibility of GFCI's in art 680 though. Same can be said for a few other areas that require GFCI protection.
In my opinion, 210.8 only requires that GFCIs required by 210.8 be readily accessible... But Inspectors have been known to disagree with me from time to time.
 
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