How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

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Garbage disposals break down food washed into your sink to help prevent your pipes from clogging. If you don’t want to reach under your sink and plug in the disposal each time you use it, you can wire a switch above your countertop that connects to the disposal’s outlet. Wiring a disposal can be complex and requires some experience working with electrical components, so it may be dangerous if you haven’t worked with them before. However, if you have knowledge of electrical wiring and use the proper tools, you can have your garbage disposal connected and running within a day!

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Warning: Avoid trying to run wires to the circuit box on your own since there are specific electrical codes to follow and you could cause damage to your home. [8] X Research source

This article explains how to safely hardwire a Moen garbage disposal. Follow the step-by-step instructions or click on the video link below.

Turn power off at circuit breaker or fuse box. If you are not familiar with electrical power and procedures, call a certified electrician.

Tools Needed:
  • Wire Cutters
  • Cable Connector (Strain Relief Connector)
  • Wire Nuts
  • Wire Strippers
  • Safety Glasses
1. Under Deck Requirements

This garbage disposer must be connected to a grounded, metal, permanent wiring system; or an equipment-grounding conductor must be run with the circuit conductors and connected to the equipment-grounding terminal or lead on the garbage disposer.

Connect garbage disposal into properly grounded outlet (see hardwiring instructions below).

2. Above Deck Requirements

Outlet must be controlled by a dedicated wall switch with a marked “off” position, and have a proper switch installed by a certified electrician.

  • Wall switches are generally located on the wall behind the sink

Switch must be mounted within sight of sink opening or garbage disposal

3. Hardwiring The Garbage Disposal

Turn power off at circuit breaker or fuse box.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

1. Remove the metal plate on the bottom of the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

2. Using wire cutters, cut the white neutral and black hot wires close to the connectors and cut the green ground wire just before the groove where the cord enters the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

3. Pull the electrical cord out of the housing.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

4. Install cable connector (not included) into the access hole and secure it by tightening the nut.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

5. From wall, insert power supply cable through the connector and tighten connector.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

6. Connect internal disposal lead wires to coordinating wire lead from electrical source. Connect white to white, black to black or red, and green ground wire to the ground lead with wire nuts (not included).

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

7. Push wires into garbage disposal and replace the metal bottom plate (Do not displace plastic shield with label).

Still Not Finding What You’re Looking For?

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Garbage disposals (sometimes called food disposers) can be connected to the electrical power supply in one of two ways. They are sometimes hardwired directly into a dedicated circuit, or they can be wired with an appliance cord that plugs into a wall outlet that is usually located inside the sink base cabinet.

When hardwired, the disposal is connected to a switch that is installed in an electrical box either in the sink base cabinet or on a wall near the sink. If the switch is near the sink, there’s usually a second box, serving as a junction box, inside the cabinet. Any exposed wiring inside the cabinet should be protected by flexible metal conduit (BX cable, or “Greenfield”).

With the plug-in configuration, the disposal cord plugs into an outlet (receptacle) located inside the sink cabinet. The outlet is controlled by a wall switch, which is usually located on the wall near the sink. The outlet is often wired as a split receptacle so that only one half of the outlet is controlled by the switch; the other half is always powered and can be used for another appliance, such as a water filter or dishwasher.

Cords are not sold with disposals and must be purchased separately. Be sure to use a grounded cord with the appropriate voltage and amperage ratings for your garbage disposal. It’s usually easier to connect the cord to the disposal before mounting the disposal under the sink, but you can also complete the wiring after the unit is mounted.

I took out my kitchen and took some photos of the “old” kitchen’s garbage disposal wiring:

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

As you can see, it has 2 black lines connected but only one white line connected, while one is capped off.

I know the main purpose is to use the switch to control one of the outlets BUT isn’t this is the right way to wire it?

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

I am a bit confused about the two setups and differences.

The thing is I tried to follow the diagram above and couldn’t get the switch to control the outlet and it was ALWAYS ON.

2 Answers 2

There’s not quite enough information here to answer your question. But we can try after making a couple assumptions.

From what I gather the picture is of the outlet box and the garbage disposal plugs into the top outlet. Presumably the cable exiting at the top of this box is from the supply (or else the disposal would never run). The rest of your question implies that there is a switch box as well so I assume the cable exiting to the right leads to a 2-pole switch? You’re trying to understand how to wire this switch such that the top outlet in the outlet box can be switched.

If my understanding of your question is correct then the switch is on a switch loop and the diagram you have posted does not apply. Instead wire as follows. Connect supply black to switch loop black. Re-identify the switch loop white cable as black and connect it to upper outlet hot. Leave the supply white connected to neutral outlet. With the hot tab jumper in place this will get you a switched outlet (both receptacles).

If you wish to switch only the top receptacle break the hot tab on the receptacle and connect supply black to the bottom hot side of the outlet. Use a pigtail since supply black is now feeding the switch loop and the lower receptacle.

The Process for Wiring an Outlet for Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher: The Wiring Diagrams and step by step instructions as described below will help you wire your garbage disposal and dishwasher.

Wiring a Disposal and Dishwasher Outlet
[ad#block]Electrical Question: How do I wire it so the switch controls the garbage disposal and the dishwasher.

  • I have three wires the from switch to a duplex receptacle which are black, white and green.
  • The switch is hot. All I have is the three wires I have mentioned and no other wires.
  • I would like to wire it so the switch controls the garbage disposal and the dishwasher.

Thanks for your help,
Regards Mario

This electrical wiring question came from: Mario, from Lucerne, California.

Thanks for your electrical question Mario.

Wiring an Outlet for a Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher

Application: Wiring a Garbage Disposal Switch and Outlet.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, the location of the garbage disposal outlet and the available access for the electrical wiring.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

The Process for Wiring an Outlet for Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher

  • The key to making the right wiring connections for a garbage disposal switch and outlet depends on where the power source is located. Once this is identified then the remaining wiring and electrical connections are fully understood.
  • The Wiring Diagrams and step by step instructions as described below will help you wire your garbage disposal and dishwasher.

More about Wiring a Disposal and Dishwasher

Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher Wiring

Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Electrical Wire for the Home

Electrical Wiring Video

Home Electrical Wiring Videos about this Topic and More

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» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here’s How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
. and much more.

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Please Note:
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Skill Level:
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Electrical Tools Required:
Basic Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester and a Multi Meter.

Estimated Time:
Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, work with electrical wiring, and the available access to the project area.

Precaution:
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Summary: Fully explained dishwasher disposal wiring diagrams with pictures for wiring the outlet that serves a dishwasher and a garbage disposal. One very important element can be easily overlooked as you will see in these pictures.

Electrical Wiring Diagram for a Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher

These wiring diagrams show typical connections.
The diagram above shows the power entering into the circuit at the switch box location, then sending one power line for the dishwasher and a switched leg for the garbage disposal.

The diagram below shows the power entering the circuit at the grounded outlet box location, then sending power up to the switch and a switched leg back down to the outlet.

Notice that these outlets have the tab removed from the “hot” side or Brass side of the outlet which allows the top half of the plug to be controlled only from the switch while the bottom end of the outlet remains “hot” all the time. This is shown in the pictures below.

Electrical Video

Daves Companion Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here is How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
. and much more.

Disposal Wiring Diagram #1

Disposal Wiring Diagram #2

The Process for Wiring a Switched Garbage Disposal with an Optional Dishwasher

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Step Four

Step Five

Step Six

Step Seven

Step Eight

Step Nine

Additional Resources

Instruction Manual for a Garbage Disposal

Identifying the Wires of a Disposal Cord

George, from Austin, Texas asks:
I want to connect a power source to a garbage disposal and however, the power source cable does not have a white cable as instructions state, instead has two black cables, one soft and other rugged or with lines. Which wire represents the white? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Great website – Very complete and helpful!

Dave’s Reply:
Disposal Cords often have the same color insulation for all of the wires so it ca be very difficult to tell which wire is which, however there is one way to know which wire is for the hot and which is the neutral:
The smooth wire is for the hot or connects to the Black wire of the disposal.
The wire with lines is used for the neutral and connects to the White wire of the disposal.
The center wire is typically the ground and in most cases the ground wire, and with some cords the ground wire has green insulation.
Be sure to use a two screw cord connector when attaching the cord to the disposal.

Kitchen Disposal Wiring

Thanks,
You saved me a lot of headache!

Dave’s Reply:
Your Welcome Steve!

I’m glad this helped you with your kitchen disposal wiring.

Disposal Wiring Made Easy

Excellent article and diagram Dave.

If I didn’t know better I would think I was an electrician.

Well thank you very much, Nelson!
Many Handymen and Handy women are Fine Basic Electricians with a great deal of potential.
I’m glad this disposal wiring diagram was helpful for you.

More about Wiring a Disposal Switch

Garbage Disposal Electrical Wiring Diagram

How to Wire a Switch and Outlet for a Garbage Disposal: Disposal wiring diagrams with pictures for wiring the outlet.

Kitchen Disposal Switch Wiring

How to Electrical Wiring for a Kitchen Disposal Switch

Electrical Wall Switch Variations

How to Wire Switches for a Light and Garbage Disposal – Either Leviton or Lutron will have a switch that will take care of your application. Another option would be to purchase an Insinkerator switch package.

This article explains how to safely hardwire a Moen garbage disposal. Follow the step-by-step instructions or click on the video link below.

Turn power off at circuit breaker or fuse box. If you are not familiar with electrical power and procedures, call a certified electrician.

Tools Needed:
  • Wire Cutters
  • Cable Connector (Strain Relief Connector)
  • Wire Nuts
  • Wire Strippers
  • Safety Glasses
1. Under Deck Requirements

This garbage disposer must be connected to a grounded, metal, permanent wiring system; or an equipment-grounding conductor must be run with the circuit conductors and connected to the equipment-grounding terminal or lead on the garbage disposer.

Connect garbage disposal into properly grounded outlet (see hardwiring instructions below).

2. Above Deck Requirements

Outlet must be controlled by a dedicated wall switch with a marked “off” position, and have a proper switch installed by a certified electrician.

  • Wall switches are generally located on the wall behind the sink

Switch must be mounted within sight of sink opening or garbage disposal

3. Hardwiring The Garbage Disposal

Turn power off at circuit breaker or fuse box.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

1. Remove the metal plate on the bottom of the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

2. Using wire cutters, cut the white neutral and black hot wires close to the connectors and cut the green ground wire just before the groove where the cord enters the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

3. Pull the electrical cord out of the housing.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

4. Install cable connector (not included) into the access hole and secure it by tightening the nut.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

5. From wall, insert power supply cable through the connector and tighten connector.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

6. Connect internal disposal lead wires to coordinating wire lead from electrical source. Connect white to white, black to black or red, and green ground wire to the ground lead with wire nuts (not included).

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

7. Push wires into garbage disposal and replace the metal bottom plate (Do not displace plastic shield with label).

Still Not Finding What You’re Looking For?

Traditionally garbage disposal switches are wall-mounted. But they pose a risk of electric shock as most people operate them while their hands are wet.

That’s why many companies came up with the idea of an air switch.

An air switch has no direct electrical connections. A remote switch is operated by it with the help of a puff of air.

Then came wireless switches. As you guessed, these switches operate wirelessly.

And the latest in the market is ‘Toe Kick’ switches. How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

So there are three kinds of switches for garbage disposal units;

  1. Air switch
  2. Wireless switch
  3. Toe kick switch

What’s the difference between these three? Which would be a better switch for your garbage disposal?

Let’s see in detail:

Air Switch

The air switch kit has mainly three components;

  1. Air switch
  2. airtight hose
  3. power control unit

The air switch is basically a push button that can be mounted on the countertop or the sink. It is connected to an airtight hose. The other end of the hose is connected to the power control unit which in turn is connected to the power supply on one end and the garbage disposal on the other.

When the air switch button is pushed, a pulse of air travels to the power control unit which turns on a switch. As a result, the power control unit activates the garbage disposal.

As the switch doesn’t come in direct contact with any electrical circuits the chances of getting an electric shock is zero.

Pros of using an air switch

  • Complete safety from electrical shocks
  • Available in different shades that complement countertop designs

Cons

  • Installation costs
  • Have to drill the countertop for installation
  • The air switch may corrode due to its proximity with chemicals used to clean the countertop

Best air switch for garbage disposals

  • Three switch cover options to match any countertop designs. The options include chrome, red oil bronze or satin brushed nickel.
  • 6 ft power cord & air hose.
  • A secondary outlet for an alternate appliance
  • An affordable and most popular choice

If you want more options, check my list of the best air switches for garbage disposals.

Wireless Switch

Wireless switch kits are now available for garbage disposals. It consists of two parts;

  1. Push button
  2. Wireless power module

In the case of a garbage disposal wireless switch, the power module is simply plugged into the power supply socket just like you connect an adapter plug. And like an adapter, this module also has a socket to which the garbage disposal cord is connected.

Once you push the button it activates the power module which in turn activates the disposer. Simple, huh?

This is much easier to install than an air switch and can be operated from a distance though no one will practically do that.

You can keep the push button anywhere, like in a drawer or just mount it on the wall using a 3M tape.

Pros

  • Simple installation
  • Zero chance of electric hazards
  • Zero wires
  • Affordable pricing
  • No chances of corrosion

Cons

  • Not as good looking as an air switch

Best wireless switch

  • Easy to install
  • range up to 15 meters
  • can be used to operate any switches
  • Best for disposals

Toe Kick switch

This is actually a foot switch that is designed uniquely for garbage disposals. TOEKICKswitch is actually a trademarked name, and as far as I know, this product is made only by that company.

As the name indicated you just kick the switch with your tow to turn on the disposer.

This is how it works;

The toe kick switch is very similar to an air switch minus the air. This switch is directly connected with the electric circuit so theoretically, this has more chance of causing an electric shock.

On the good side, I should say the design is neat, and is pretty good at preventing accidental operations.

Pros

  • No Extra holes needed
  • Easy to install – Read installation guidelines here.
  • Hidden from view installation

Cons

  • A product yet to be proven in the market

Air switch vs wireless switch vs TOEKICK – which is better

Personally, I will go with the wireless one. It is more affordable, easy to install, easy to operate and without any major cons.

A few years back I bought a garbage disposal for the first time in my life. And the buying experience wasn’t good. There were lots of models in the market, and I was not sure about which one to buy. They all looked the same to me. So once I went through the experience I started this blog to randomly write things about garbage disposals. Then I got really interested in the subject and started to write comparisons of very similar garbage disposals with each other. A lot of my readers find them very useful in making the right buying choice. I hope it helps you too.

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