GFCI Question?

I am having a new kitchen installed & doing some of the (less complicated) electrical work myself. (ie changing plugs & switches, installing GFI's, etc) Let me take a moment to explain the setup: Our old garbage disposer was set up on it's own, non GFI protected 15 amp circuit with the switch under the sink. I figured it was safer to connect it up to the 20amp (GFI protected) circuit around the sink & I also wanted to connect it to a new wall switch in the wall for convenience. ( I realize that, since the disposer now shares one of the kitchen circuits, that I'll have to make sure that circuit isnt overloaded b4 I run the disposer...but that shouldn't be a problem.) The outlet that the disposer now is powered by is downstream of the GFCI box in the circuit & the new disposer switch is in the same box as this outlet. My question is this: The switch is a normal single pole switch with a ground.......Do I need to connect the switch's ground terminal to a ground in order for it (the switch & the disposer) to be protected by the GFCI? (the outlet that it is connected to is properly grounded) There are so many wires crammed into the box that I'm just trying to save myself some work....If it will still be safe. Thanks
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Well if you are using a metal box and a good quality switch, the switch is grounded through the box already; assuming you grounded the box(!). Though even if you didn't, the box would sorta be grounded by the outlet.
If your box has too many wires in it to ground the switch, then your box is too small. But if the switch follows the GFCI there shouldn't be any shock hazzard if the GFCI is working. Since it might not be working, I would want the switch grounded, especially in a potentially wet condition.
Have I waffled enough for you.
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Thanks for your reply Toller. The box is plastic but the outlet (to which the switch & the diposer are connected) is grounded & downstream of a GFI protected outlet in the circuit.

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Dick wrote:

If you have a plastic box and a metal cover plate, then the switch must be grounded (so in case of a fault, the cover plate won't become energized). Even if you are using a non-metallic cover plate, I would still ground the switch in case someone in the future changes the cover plate to metal.
Also, as Toller said, if you are having trouble fitting all the wires in, your junction box may be too small. You need to make sure you don't have a box fill violation. Read this:
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pages/h00134.asp
Ken
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[You're already paying attention to the comments about grounding/box fill. Good.]
Two things:
1) Sharing a kitchen counter outlet circuit with a disposer is almost certainly a code violation. Counter outlet circuits are supposed to be dedicated. While you can pay attention to your loading when you use it, that's not going to be particularly fool-proof, especially when and if someone else is in the kitchen. I recommend a separate GFCI'd circuit.
2) GFCI's do not require a ground to operate. But it should be grounded anyway - worst case scenario, the GFCI stops working properly, and a fault occurs in the disposer. Depending on the circumstances, that could make your sink or plumbing live & unprotected, or even a tingle if you touch the counter. If you run into box fill problems, install a bigger box.
[Note: I do not believe that disposers have a GFCI code requirement, and GFCI is a permissible substitute when you don't have ground. But if you have a feasibly useable ground, you should use it. An inspector would likely insist. If you run into box fill problems with a ground, you're probably already over the limit without the ground. Here, we don't really factor in the ground wires into box fill (except for the wire nuts), because they're much smaller and can be routed so that they take virtually zero space.]
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After reading the very helpful replies from this forum I have decided to rewire the (new) wall box I installed in such a way that the outlet side will merely continue the kitchen counter circuit (which is protected by an "upstream" GFCI) & the switch (which shares the same double box) will merely tie into the original disposer line (on it's own breaker) & have no connection whatever to the counter circuit. (This will also free up space in the box & allow me to easily wire the ground to the disposer switch) I had (evidently erroneously) thought that running the disposer ( since it obviously contacts water) off of a GFI protected circuit was a safer way to go...... I still don't understand why it is evidently safer to not have the disposer ( & thus it's new above counter switch) protected by a GFI, but I guess it isn't. Anyway, thanks for setting me straight!
My question is this:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The switch is a normal single pole switch with a <BR>&gt;&gt; ground.......Do I need to connect the switch's ground terminal to a ground <BR>&gt;&gt; in order for it (the switch &amp; the disposer) to be protected by the GFCI? <BR>&gt;&gt; (the outlet that it is connected to is properly grounded) There are so many <BR>&gt;&gt; wires crammed into the box that I'm just trying to save myself some <BR>&gt;&gt; work....If it will still be safe.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; [You're already paying attention to the comments about grounding/box fill.&nbsp; Good.]<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; Two things:<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; 1) Sharing a kitchen counter outlet circuit = with a disposer is almost certainly<BR>&gt; a code violation.&nbsp; Counter outlet circuits are supposed to be dedicated.&nbsp; While<BR>&gt; you can pay attention to your loading when you use it, that's not going to be<BR>&gt; particularly fool-proof, especially when and if someone else is in the kitchen.<BR>&gt; I recommend a separate GFCI'd circuit.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; 2) GFCI's do not require a ground to operate.&nbsp; But it should be grounded<BR>&gt; anyway - worst case scenario, the GFCI stops working properly, and a fault<BR>&gt; occurs in the disposer.&nbsp; Depending on the circumstances, that could<BR>&gt; make your sink or plumbing live &amp; unprotected, or even a tingle if you<BR>&gt; touch the counter.&nbsp; If you run into box fill problems, install a bigger<BR>&gt; box.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; [Note: I do not believe that disposers have a GFCI code requirement,<BR>&gt; and GFCI is a permissible substitute when you don't = have ground.&nbsp; But if you<BR>&gt; have a feasibly useable ground, you should use it.&nbsp; An inspector would likely<BR>&gt; insist.&nbsp; If you run into box fill problems with a ground, you're probably<BR>&gt; already over the limit without the ground.&nbsp; Here, we don't really factor<BR>&gt; in the ground wires into box fill (except for the wire nuts), because they're<BR>&gt; much smaller and can be routed so that they take virtually zero space.]<BR>&gt; -- <BR>&gt; Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est<BR>&gt; It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.</FONT></BODY></HTML>
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What gives you the idea that it isn't? Nothing wrong with putting it on a GFCI.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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decided to rewire the (new) wall box I

the kitchen counter circuit (which is

same double box) will merely tie into the

whatever to the counter circuit. (This will

ground to the disposer switch)

( since it obviously contacts water) off of a

understand why it is evidently safer to not

protected by a GFI, but I guess it isn't.

it on a GFCI.
Motor loads will give nuisance trips every once in a while, though....
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Dick wrote:

Dick Connecting that food waste disposer to the kitchen counter top receptacle circuit is a violation of the US National Electric Code. Circuits that supply kitchen counter receptacles may not supply any other load that is fastened in place. That includes dishwashers, disposals, gas range controls, built in microwaves, range hoods and so forth.
--
Tom Horne

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On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 14:59:42 GMT, "Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT"

The disposer is on the same 20A circuit as the counter outlets in my house (built about 1969). The dishwasher is on a dedicated 20A circuit. The range hood is on a 30A 240V circuit with the stove top* (oven has a separate 30A 240V circuit).
&&&
* - I thought this was strange at first, but it (hood light) could provide a way to verify that the range breaker is off. I have the breakers all labeled, but it wouldn't hurt to have something else too.
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Mark Lloyd
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