What Size Breaker Does a Dishwasher Need?

If you are planning on buying a dishwasher, you need to budget for a size breaker too. Why? Because of the power, the dishwasher needs to run optimally.

A dishwasher needs a single-pole size breaker, and it’s best to have its separate circuit separate from your other individual appliance circuits.

The ideal size breaker is a 15-amp circuit. However, you can install a 20-amp circuit breaker if your dishwasher draws more power or operates garbage disposal on the same circuit.

How do you know? Check the data plate. If your dishwasher draws 13A or less, it will run well on a 15-amp dedicated circuit breaker.

Also, check the wiring. A 15-amp size breaker uses #14 or #12 wiring, but a 20-amp size breaker only uses #12 wiring or better.

Ensure it has a ground, and the cable runs directly from your size breaker box to the dishwasher.

What is a Size Breaker?

A size breaker is a path or loop through which the electrical current flows. Homes and businesses have several circuits, each having a size breaker that stops electricity flow in a power surge.

The size breaker also stops electricity flow if the appliance tries to draw excess current. You can say it’s a safety precaution that protects both your home and dishwasher.  

As a general rule, appliances with at least 1000 power ratings need separate size breakers, and size breakers are also called circuit breakers.  

Some people have appliances with lower power ratings on separate circuit breakers.

Why Does a Dishwasher Need a Size Breaker?

Dishwashers have a power rating of 1000 and higher, and it means that they draw more power and need a separate circuit.

Also, some municipalities require that appliances with at least 1000 power ratings be on separate circuits regardless of wattage. These appliances include dishwashers, ovens, washing machines, dryers, hot tubs, and stoves.

Appliances sharing the same size breaker share electricity on that circuit. It’s not a problem if they are small electricity users like lamps, fans, etc. However, things like computers are sensitive to fluctuations in electricity, and they can lose power or malfunction.  

Therefore, your dishwasher should not share a size breaker with such devices or sensitive appliances.


Is a 15-amp size breaker sufficient for a dishwasher?

Dishwashers should be on a separate circuit from other appliances with a 1000 or higher power rating. The 15-amp size breaker is enough for most dishwashers.

However, some dishwashers draw more power and need a 20-amp circuit breaker. How do you know? If the dishwasher fails to work when placed on a size breaker, it means it needs a higher amperage.

Contact an electrician to replace your current circuit breaker with a 20-amp size breaker. Alternatively, buy a new dishwasher that runs on less power.  

Is it a must that the dishwasher has a size breaker?

Regulations dictate that all appliances with over 1000 power ratings be on separate dedicated circuits. Dishwashers need at least 15-amps with nothing else drawing power from that circuit.

The purpose is to avoid short circuits which can damage appliances on the same circuit and even your household. Remember, short circuits are fire hazards.  

Homeowners should know how much power their appliances draw to avoid overwhelming your outlet. Those dishwashers that draw more power should be placed on a 20-amp dedicated circuit breaker.   

How much power do dishwashers use?

Dishwashers have different power ratings depending on the manufacturer and the tasks they perform. A typical dishwasher uses an average of 10-amps and 1,800 watts.

However, some dishwashers use an upward of 2,400 watts, and some use 1,200 watts.

Should the dishwasher be on a GFCI breaker?

Some households have dishwashers on a GFCI breaker. However, GFCI breakers are not required by code, although they offer more protection to your appliance.  

It’s not bad to have a GFCI breaker, but larger motors can trip the breaker. People use GFCI as equipment protection to avoid significant damage in the event of a hard short.  

The breakers should be readily accessible to avoid being placed under the sink. Installing dual-purpose GFCI ensures you have AFCI protection.

The Ground Fault Current Interrupter or GFCI is a standard requirement if you have a large dishwasher. It provides extra protection should the outlet get wet by tripping or disconnecting your power to avoid electrocution or hard short.  

However, if you use both the dishwasher and garbage disposal on the same circuit breaker, you need a GFCI.

The National Electrical Code requires that garbage disposals must have GFCI protection. It means you hardwire or connect it to an outlet via a grounded electrical outlet.

You only need a GFCI protection per circuit. Dishwashers need a dedicated circuit breaker 14/2 NM wire, including a ground. Usually, it needs GFCI protection, and however, AFCI protection is subject to local interpretation of the code.  

Where do you place a dishwasher outlet?

The dishwasher outlet should be located in a readily accessible spot. Therefore, it must not be behind the dishwasher because you will have to remove it first to access the receptacle.

The water line that goes into the sink water valve down to the drain acts as a placement guide. The electrical cord plus your dishwasher goes to the receptacle under your kitchen sink.  

Unlike most appliances, the dishwasher is hardwired into your home plumbing system. Therefore, fit the electrical switches and sockets at least 30cm horizontally from your sink.

It helps prevent water from coming into contact with the electrical current. Also, the sockets should be easy to access.  

What is the power usage of a dishwasher with a dedicated circuit?

Dishwashers mostly operate on 120V or 115V power. On average, a dishwasher unit draws 1.5kWh for a single load of washing dishes.

The amount of electricity consumed varies significantly depending on the cycles and design of the dishwasher.  

Other variables include soil level, water pressure, water amount, and types of dishware.

Generally, dishwashers use 1200 to 2400 watts, and the average dishwasher consumes 1800 watts.  

How much room is needed behind the dishwasher?

You need approximately one meter from the power source and about 50cm from the water and your waste pipes. In essence, you are installing the dishwasher closer to the sink.

Dishwashers mostly last 12 years but can last longer with proper maintenance. A portable dishwasher needs a GFCI wall outlet. According to OSHA, GFCI cuts power to the dishwasher in the event of an overload, short circuit, or ground fault. 

Final thoughts

Ensure you buy the right size breaker for your dishwasher to prevent electrical shock and damage. Use the right plugs that fit properly and don’t allow loose wires around the appliance.  

A dishwasher uses more energy than most home appliances. Get a dedicated circuit breaker to prevent the dishwasher from overheating or tripping your electrical system and causing a fire.

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