Removing Switch from Disposal

cz9h3dAugust 3, 2012

I'm installing an air button activated switch for my disposal, so I opened up the box to get rid of the wall switch. My thinking was to just remove the switch and connect the two wires - simple, huh?

The attached is what I found! The GFCI outlet in the same box is powered solely by the leads that go through the switch. I'm not an electrician, but this seems very wrong. Also explains why the outlet has always been "junk", making things hum, affected when the disposal is turned on etc.

Note in the back left corner is another lead - is it just me, or did they run that wire too short when they built the house, so they did a quick (and questionable) fix to make the outlet work?

I'm thinking I should open up the disposal outlet and just remove the switch from the circuit (it is on it's own circuit). The I should use the other wire to connect to the GFCI. Make sense? I'll make sure that wire is live, and determine what circuit it's on first....

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It sounds like someone put a receptacle on a switch loop.

Garbage disposals should not be on the kitchen counter receptacle circuits, and the GD circuit should not be used to feed a counter receptacle

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:53PM
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I don't see an attachment. It's hard to understand what's going on based solely on your description. If the two leads from your switch are the only connection to a GFCI, then it wouldn't work at all, since there would be no neutral connection.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:55PM
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My picture seems to have disappeared...Here it is again.

The disposal is on its own circuit...but had a GFCI outlet connected to it in the switch loop!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Assuming that's a GFCI facing down, and further assuming that the cable coming in connects to the disposer, you have a switch and GFCI in parallel in the switch loop. If you plug something into the GFCI, it would be in series with your disposer...not what you want. Remove the GFCI, and at least the disposer (and the switch) should function properly.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Yes...that is the GFCI facing down.
The other cable in the back reads 1.4V.

My objectives:
(1) Remove the switch from the disposal circuit - I've put an air-activated switch near the sink.
This is easy enough, whether I just nut the wires together, or remove it altogether at the disposal outlet.

(2) Have a functional outlet in this location.

This one is more difficult now, as the other wire isn't powered, and I've no idea where the other end is.

It's an outside wall, so lots of insulation, foam.
There is a double wall switch 2 feet away that powers a kitchen light/fan.

Going to the wall switches will just put the outlet/GFCI in parallel again in a different switch loop, not desirable.

So the next easiest is to use the old disposal switch loop, and put it in series with the disposal outlet, right? I know it's not ideal, but is it really that bad to have an additional outlet on the disposal circuit?


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Yes, it's bad, because it's wired in series with the disposal, and not in parallel. It won't work. You could probably change the connections for this cable at the disposer to make it a plain circuit instead of a switch loop, but that wouldn't be code compliant.

To make this work properly, you'll need to connect to one of your 20A countertop circuits, or run a new 20A circuit to the GFCI.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 12:05AM
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What's that other cable in the back? Is that a hot cable? I hope not.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:01PM
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