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Does A Dishwasher Need A Dedicated Circuit?

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Last updated on October 22nd, 2022 at 06:48 pm

Many homeowners wonder if dishwashers need a dedicated circuit breaker or can use them with regular outlets. Some are even confused as to whether they can combine two major appliances on the same circuit.

Read on as I clarify these thoughts and shed more light on using a dedicated circuit around the house.

Dishwashers need a dedicated circuit rated 15-amp and 120/125-volt. This is the current recommendation code by NEC. Also, a 14/2 NM wire should feed the 15-amp circuit or 12/2NM wire for a  20-amp circuit. I recommend allowing enough slacking on the wire so that your dishwasher can be pulled out when it needs servicing without being disconnected.

Can You Plug a Dishwasher Into a Regular Outlet?

A Dishwasher can be connected to a regular power outlet. Most of the regular power outlets in homes are wired to be 110 volts. Only a few are wired to be 220 volts. The dishwasher can be connected to a 110-volt power outlet.

In addition, you have to choose whether or not your dishwasher will be cord-and-plug connected or hardwired. However, all outlets should be made to be accessible so you can easily find where the dishwasher is plugged in.

Usually, dishwashers don’t come attached with power cords so that you can connect them to the power source that was designed for it.

If you’re changing a dishwasher for any reason, I advise you to check around the location where you installed the former one.

Doing this allows you to know if it was either plugged-in or hardwired so that you can follow suit.

The cord should also be grounded; that is, it should be a three-wire cord. A  grounded cord works best, and that is what is required in the manuals.

I also recommend that you ensure your dishwasher is not sharing the circuit with another major appliance like a refrigerator or microwave.

The outlet should not be a source of electrical supply to any other heavy equipment to avoid fluctuations and ensure a smooth flow of electricity to the dishwasher. 

Some homeowners may opt to wire a kitchen with the garbage disposal and the dishwasher powered by the same circuit.

If this is the case, always ensure that the circuit is the 20-amp type. Both appliances’ total amperage should also not be more than 80% of the circuit amperage rating.

You should also ensure this type of wiring meets the local code practices. Furthermore, depending on local practices, you may also need to install GFCI and AFCI protection to guard against shock and fires, respectively.

If you are using a regular outlet, the outlet must be GFCI protected to protect from failure. The GFCI should also be accessible. I also recommend placing the dishwasher close to the kitchen sink to take advantage of the drain.

Nowadays, what’s obtainable in newer homes is a 20 amp circuit with a 125 volts receptacle. This outlet can power the dishwasher.

If this resonates with you, the receptacle is usually installed underneath the sink. If the receptacle is not under the sink, likely, the dishwasher is not attached cord-and-plug.

What Size Breaker Do I Need For a Dishwasher?

Dishwashers require a single-pole breaker with an amperage rated 15 amps or 20amps. You can connect your dishwasher to either of them. The one you choose depends on the power needs of the dishwasher. However, what is recommended by the National Electric Code for a dishwasher is a dedicated circuit with a 15-amp breaker.

In 2014, the NEC stipulated that Ground Fault Current Interrupting(GFCI) and Arc Fault Current Interrupting(AFCI) Protection be installed in the kitchen.

This requirement also applies to the circuit servicing the dishwasher. They help protect against electric shock and from fire sparks, respectively.

The simplest way to meet these standards is to install a 15-amp AFCI/GFCI circuit breaker in the receptacle controlling the dishwater circuit.

However, the current recommendations by NEC as of 2017 is that the following kitchen appliances be installed to dedicated breakers;

  • Dishwashers
  • Microwave oven
  • Refrigerators
  • Electric range
  • Garbage disposal

Even though this is the most recent recommendation, it does not relate to pre-existing wiring and circuitry. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the dishwasher to share breakers with other appliances. Often, the garbage disposal.

If this happens to correlate with you, then your circuit breaker must be the one rated 20amps and not 15amps. Yes, this is possible even though both the dishwasher and the garbage disposal are rated 15 amps.

Additionally, most dishwashers require a minimum voltage of 120 volts. However, they don’t all require the same current.

Since the current determines the size of the circuit breaker, you should try as much as possible to meet the manufacturer’s specifications because all products have been tested before they are released for public consumption.

If you don’t find it, however, I recommend that you check the label on the side of the door or the back of the appliance. If the label does not specify the amperes required, it will stipulate the power used by the appliance in watts.

You can derive the amps by dividing the power in watts by the voltage in volts. The answer should not be more than 20amps.

If the result is less than 15 amps, a circuit breaker rated 15 amps will suffice, provided that you don’t share the circuit with any other appliance.

Can You Run a Refrigerator and a Dishwasher on The Same Circuit?

Yes! You can run your refrigerator and dishwasher on the same circuit. However, the NEC requires a dedicated circuit for all of the major electrical appliances like refrigerators, microwave ovens, electric heaters, garbage disposal, dishwashers, etc.

Dishwashers require a lot of electricity because they have heaters needed to generate heat. Thus, it is just best to have separate circuits for your refrigerator and dishwasher because of the high power needs. The 15 amp outlet is what is recommended.

However, if you insist on connecting your refrigerator and your dishwasher, you must use the 20 amp circuit. Before making a final decision, I advise that you check out the appliance’s rating and consult a professional electrician.

Furthermore, it can be done if you have been using your refrigerator and your dishwasher on the same circuit breaker and you wish to separate them. Installing a new dedicated 20 amp circuit breaker costs on average around $2000 to $3000. This price has the installation of GFCI included.

Can You Run a Garbage Disposal And a Dishwasher on The Same Circuit?

Yes, you can run garbage disposal and a Dishwasher on the same circuit breaker. However, you should only do this if the total load does not go beyond eighty percent of the capacity of the circuit. Additionally, the current requirements of the circuit breaker must be the 20 amps rating.

What is recommended for homes is that all major appliances that consume a lot of power should have separate circuit breakers. To avoid complications later, I advise that you stick with this code as it is cheaper and safer in the long run.


Dishwashers are one of the most important electrical appliances needed in the kitchen. Therefore, you must meet the requirements regarding its installation to ensure safety and durability. You need a breaker rated 15 amps to 20amps.

It should be a dedicated circuit breaker because dishwashers consume a lot of power. It would be best to have GFCI/AFCI protection installed on the breaker to prevent shock and fires.

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