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Installing a Circuit for a Garbage Disposal and Installing a Lighting Circuit in a Well House

April 18, 2010

Question Kevin asks:
I am installing a garbage disposal in my kitchen, but there is currently no pre-run electrical for the new appliance. However, there is an outlet placed near the sink where you would usually see a switch for the garbage disposal so, I’m wondering… How would I go about converting that outlet into a switch for the disposal?

My concerns are, how to insert a switch there without interrupting the rest of the outlets on the blacksplash/countertop circuit? and Is it ok to put something that draws 10.2 amps on a backsplash circuit running on a 15 amp breaker? Will I run the risk of tripping the breaker if I happen to be making coffee or toast when I run the disposal?

Your advice will be much appreciated!

I recommend installing a dedicated circuit for the garbage disposal. Typically, the garbage disposal and dishwasher are on the same circuit. Hopefully, you have an unfinished basement or crawl space below so you can easily install the new circuit. You are permitted to mount the garbage disposal receptacle on the surface of the inside of your cabinet. However, the wires/cables need to be protected. The best way to do this is use either wiremold or flexible metallic conduit.

Regarding your kitchen countertop circuit, it is supposed to be 12 AWG wire and on 2 – 20 amp, GFCI protected circuits. If this is not the case, then I recommend upgrading your kitchen wiring. If you are already installing a new circuit for your garbage disposal, then it is just as easy to install new circuits for the countertop and possibly the refrigerator and microwave as well.


Doug asks:
I have an air compressor that has total package amps of 164. I need to wire it three phase 480. What size wire, size disconnect, size conduit, and size fuses should I use?

I’m sorry Doug, but I do not give advice on commercial or industrial wiring projects. The reason for this is because you are required to be a licensed or qualified electrician to do this type of work and pull permits for this type of work. I only offer advice for residential electrical wiring because most areas permit homeowners to pull their own permits and wire their own homes. An air compressor rated for 164 amps @ 480 volts can be very dangerous if wired wrong. I highly recommend hiring a licensed or qualified electrician for this project.


Mark asks:
I have a well house with 220 breaker that the well runs off of but I need to install a 110 light into the well house can it be wired into the breaker to work at 110 coming out of the breaker to make the light work?

The safest way to do this is to take the power coming into the well house into a new breaker box installed in the well house. Then install a breaker for the power out to the well and an additional 15 amp breaker to protect your lighting circuit. I also recommend installing a GFCI receptacle on the same circuit as your light just in case you ever need it in your well house.


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