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Does a Dishwasher Need a Dedicated Circuit & Outlet?

Among all the other rooms in a home, a kitchen uses the most electricity. Nowadays, a kitchen is required to have a minimum of 7 dedicated circuits for large appliances that require great energy to function.

Such circuits are dedicated to serving only a single device on the circuit and nothing else.

Does a dishwasher need a dedicated circuit & outlet?

Yes, a dishwasher requires a dedicated circuit and outlet. The dedicated circuit should have 120-125-volt and 15-ampere ratings. Moreover, the dishwasher should be connected with a 14/2 NM wire with the ground with enough slack so it can be pulled out and serviced without disconnecting it.

Among the many appliances that require a dedicated circuit, a dishwasher is one of them. It requires a very high amount of voltage as well as current to function. As a result, it is advised to plug the dishwasher into a dedicated circuit.

A dishwasher requires about 120 volts to operate under normal conditions. However, the value of the current is not always constant. So, the dedicated circuit for a dishwasher has a 15-ampere rating.

To make things safer, a dishwasher should use a 14/2 non-metallic (NM) sheathed cable with the ground. Having enough slack will ensure that the dishwasher does not require to be disconnected from the outlet while servicing.

It is strongly advised not to plug in any other appliance in the dedicated circuit alongside the dishwasher. Doing so will result in serious consequences.

Is a dedicated circuit required for a dishwasher?

Yes, a dedicated circuit is required for a dishwasher. As mentioned earlier, the dishwasher requires a high amount of power to function. So, a dedicated circuit is required for a dishwasher.

A dishwasher requires a circuit that has 120-125-volt and 15-ampere ratings. This is because the dishwasher operates at about 120 volts. But, in terms of current, it is not always constant, so a 15-ampere circuit is necessary.

Having a dedicated circuit for the dishwasher makes sure no circuit in the household is overloaded. This prevents any sort of damage to the circuits as well as to the appliances plugged into them. Furthermore, it prevents the cause of electrical fires.

Sometimes, the dedicated circuit for a dishwasher also powers the garbage disposal system. If this is the case, the circuit should have a rating of 20-ampere and the amperage of the devices should not go above 80 percent of the circuit amperage rating.

Can a dishwasher be plugged into a normal outlet?

Yes, a dishwasher can be plugged into a normal outlet. Since most outlets have 120-125-volt and 15-ampere ratings, a dishwasher will not overload the circuit. But it depends on the installer how the dishwasher is to be installed.

There are two different options to power a dishwasher. One option is hard-wiring the dishwasher while the other more commonly used option is plugging in the dishwasher to an outlet.

Hard-wiring the dishwasher means the dishwasher is directly connected to the circuit without the need for an outlet. A non-metallic sheathed cable should be used to directly connect the dishwasher to the power source.

This method was used in the past when appliances were repaired, and not replaced.

Nowadays, most dishwashers come with a plug-in cord just like any other appliance and can easily be powered by simply plugging it into an outlet. The outlet, however, should be in such a place that the cord can be disconnected without having to move the dishwasher.

5 reasons why dishwashers need a dedicated circuit and outlet:

The 5 most important reasons why a dishwasher needs a dedicated circuit and outlet are listed below:

Local and National Electric Codes:

Depending on the location of the building, the dishwasher may be required to be on a dedicated circuit. It may be a legal requirement or simply a requirement by local codes.

High power intake:

Dishwashers draw a lot of power and for a long period. It takes a lot of time for one complete washing cycle and so, requires a continuous supply of power.

Varying electricity needs:

A dishwasher does not always draw a fixed amount of current. It may require more current than usual depending on the load that needs to be cleaned.


Having a dishwasher on a dedicated circuit will prevent overloading the entire circuit. This will further prevent tripping the circuit breaker, blowing the fuse, and overheating the wires causing household fires.

Separating the dishwasher:

On a dedicated circuit, the dishwasher is separated from the other appliances that are on a different circuit. So, if the other appliances or circuits fail, the dishwasher can continue working as usual.

What is the code for the dishwasher outlet?

NEC 210.8.D is the code for the dishwasher outlet. The code specifies that the dishwashers must be protected by GFCI. However, it does not differentiate between hard-wiring or plugging the dishwasher in since it defines an outlet as any connection.

Although it is the national code, many states have not adopted this because of the presence of older appliances and some GFCI being too sensitive. So, checking what is used locally is important for the use of GFCI.

If a state does not require the outlet to be GFCI protected, then it is advised to use an appliance receptacle. An appliance receptacle denies the use of any other appliance on a dedicated circuit along with the dishwasher. So, only the dishwasher can make use of the dedicated circuit alone.

What are the electrical circuit requirements for a dishwasher?

A dishwasher circuit should have 120-125-volt and 15-ampere ratings. This circuit should be connected to the dishwasher by a 14/2 non-metallic sheathed cable with a ground.

A dishwasher typically operates with 120-volts. Unlike the voltage, the value of the current or ampere is not constant. Hence, it requires a 15-ampere rated circuit.

Due to the heavy power withdrawal of the dishwasher, it requires thick cables to carry all the power from the circuit to the dishwasher. It is recommended to use a 14/2 non-metallic sheathed cable on a 15-ampere circuit.

However, a 12/2 non-metallic sheathed cable can be used but it has to be a 20-ampere circuit.

Should a dishwasher have its own circuit breaker?

Yes, a dishwasher should have its own circuit breaker. Since a dishwasher requires a dedicated circuit, it is ideal for the dishwasher to have its own circuit breaker as well. This will prevent overloading the circuit.

A dishwasher needs more current than usual when it is starting up or when there is a big load to wash. As a result, the dishwasher does not always consume a fixed number of amperes.

A circuit breaker trips when the circuit is overloaded. Although having a dedicated circuit means that the circuit will not be overloaded, to stay on the safe side, a circuit breaker should still be used for the dishwasher alone.

What appliances need a dedicated circuit and outlet?

Various kitchen appliances require a dedicated circuit and outlet. A few examples of such appliances are:

  • Wall ovens
  • Refrigerators
  • Large Microwaves
  • Freezers
  • Dishwashers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Toasters
  • Water heaters

Can you run a refrigerator and a dishwasher on the same circuit?

Yes, you can run a refrigerator and a dishwasher on the same circuit. The complete answer, however, is a bit complicated.

Dishwashers and refrigerators are both high-power withdrawing machines. They both have high starting currents and require a lot of power to run. Both of the appliances can be powered by the same circuit but there is a condition.

The circuit, if both the dishwasher and refrigerator are to be run, has to have an amperage rating of 20-amperes. This will ensure that the circuit is not overloaded. But, most circuits have 15-ampere ratings and cannot power both a dishwasher and a refrigerator at the same time.

Can I put a junction box behind a dishwasher?

No, you cannot put a junction box behind a dishwasher. The junction box should be visible and easily accessible at all times. If accessing the junction box requires pulling out the dishwasher, then it may pose an issue in the future.

A junction box has a connection from the dishwasher and a plug comes out of the junction box. Plugging in that plug to a dedicated outlet for the dishwasher provides power to the dishwasher.

In the case of an emergency, the receptacle or the plug has to be disconnected from the outlet. If the junction box or receptacle is behind the dishwasher, then it will be virtually impossible to do so. In such a case, the user will have to turn off the circuit breaker.

Final Thoughts

A dishwasher needs a dedicated circuit of its own because it is a high-power consuming machine. It requires about 120-volts and 15-amperes to function, the dedicated circuit should have such ratings. An NM cable with the ground should be used and no other device should be used on the same circuit.