What Are the Best Tips for Wiring a Garbage Disposal?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Wiring a garbage disposal is an aspect of installation, or replacement, which is needed in order for the unit to work properly. The basic steps involved in this project do not require the services of an electrician as long as a few tips are kept in mind while doing the wiring. The first aspect of this, or any other project that involves electricity, is safety. The second is making sure that the positive wire is attached to the positive side, and that the negative is attached to the negative side. If there is a third wire for a ground, then be sure that it is secured into the correct position. If the wires are not secured down properly into the correct locations, the garbage disposal will not work correctly, if at all, and will allow the unit to become fried due to crossed wires. This makes a fire hazard that could cause a fire.


The first tip when wiring a garbage disposal is one that can not only prevent a fire from occurring, but it can also save the life of the person doing the installation. Always turn off the breaker to the area of the building that the garbage disposal is being placed in. If the proper fuse is unknown, turn the switch on that the wires will be connected to and start turning fuse switches off. If a light is controlled on the same switch, then watch for it to go out. Once the correct fuse is found and turned off, double check it with a tester to make sure that the power is indeed off. Safety is the most important step that can be taken when wiring a garbage disposal, so after the fuse is turned off, tape the switch, or the entire box, and mark on it to not touch it, which lets anyone else in the area know that the fuse needs to remain turned off because it is being worked on somewhere within the line.

The next tip that needs to be understood is that when wiring a garbage disposal unit, the positive wire needs to attach to the positive side, and the negative wire needs to hook to the negative side. If an extra wire has been installed, it acts as a constant ground in order to further prevent the chances of a fire in the future, so it also needs to be attached properly. Many people ignore this wire, but when the unit is plugged into the wall plug the reset mechanism within it will not work without this wire being hooked up. A GFI plug is always used for an appliance such as the garbage disposal since it has a high chance of getting wet.

The last tip that needs to be kept in mind is when wiring a garbage disposal into the light or electrical outlet plug in the wall. This unit always has to be a GFI unit so if any problems occur, the switch will turn off, rather than tripping the breaker for the entire house. Most garbage disposals have a basic plug that is simply inserted into the outlet, but if it is going to be wired direct then a few tips need to be remembered. First of all, make sure that the positive side and negative side of the wire is connected to the same polarities in the existing house wiring, and always cap the wires with plastic covers made for the task. It is not necessary to wrap the ends with electrical tape, but it is a good safety step that will decrease the chance of any sparks from jumping out of the outlet box, which could prevent a fire from occurring if the outlet box does not do its job effectively.


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