If you are doing some general repairs around your kitchen, it is essential to understand how the electrical systems work.
Electricity is a difficult thing to work with and can lead to some DIY disasters and injuries as well.
If you find that you need to do some work regarding your dishwasher, understanding how many amps a dishwasher uses will be a good place to start.
Knowing how many amps your dishwasher uses can help you decide if the dishwasher needs its own dedicated circuit.
How Many Amps Does a Dishwasher Use?
A typical dishwasher at its maximum power load will not need more than 15 amps of power.
Most are going to operate closer to 7 to 10 amps.
However, in order to correctly wire your kitchen, the dishwasher will need to be on its own circuit.
If your kitchen was designed before 2017, there is a chance that the dishwasher and other appliances are all on the same circuit.
This is because the world of electrical codes and laws changes from time to time.
When it changes, the requirements in your kitchen may change without you even knowing.
Even when an electrical code changes, it is not expected that a person should go into their home and completely rearrange and change the previous work.
The new code will apply to repairs, renovations, and new builds.
Which Appliances Need Their Own Circuit Breaker?
The dishwasher is not the only appliance that needs its own dedicated circuit breaker.
Since your appliances tend to pull quite a bit of electricity from a circuit, homeowners will run into problems when there is more than one appliance on a circuit.
You won’t want to have to worry about using your oven and your dishwasher at the same time, therefore they need to be connected to different circuits.
The appliances which should be on different circuits include the dishwasher, refrigerator, garbage disposal, microwave, and your oven or range.
Each of these items will need enough of their own electricity that they should be on a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit breaker entirely on their own.
The fridge and the microwave are the two appliances that tend to need the most electricity to run properly.
Can I Change a 15-amp Circuit Breaker to a 20-amp Circuit Breaker?
If you have a dishwasher that consumes quite a bit of power, you may have trouble when it comes to it flipping a breaker.
If this happens often enough, it is likely time to switch to a new dishwasher or upgrade the circuit breaker.
Unfortunately, changing the circuit breaker to a 20-amp breaker will involve some rewiring.
A 20-amp breaker uses thicker and heavier duty wire than a 15-amp breaker.
If you don’t change the wire out, you will find yourself with a fire hazard on your hands.
If this is not something that you feel comfortable doing, you should definitely call in a professional to handle it.
The electrician will also be able to see if there is a specific reason that your dishwasher keeps flipping the breaker.
They can then determine whether it is going to make more sense to replace the dishwasher or to simply change out the breaker.
If you have to rewire anything in your home, it is best to do so with a circuit breaker that will carry more power than the appliance needs.
Therefore, if your dishwasher is rated for a 15-amp circuit, you may want to go ahead and install a 20-amp breaker.
If you decide to replace your dishwasher later on, you will be able to have confidence that you will have enough power to make it work.
How Will I Know How Many Amps My Dishwasher Uses?
Many dishwashers will tell you exactly how many amps they use directly on their sticker or panel.
However, this is not always the case.
If you can’t seem to find this information, you can figure the number out based on the number of watts that the dishwasher uses.
On the back of the dishwasher, you will likely see some information about the watts that are used.
You will want to find the maximum wattage first, which is going to help you calculate the number of amps.
Let’s say, for instance, when the dishwasher is heating water up, it is using about 1500 watts.
Next, you will take this 1500 watts and then divide it by the 120 volts that your home has.
When you do this math equation, you will end up with a result of 12.5 amps.
Those 12.5 amps will need at least a 15-amp circuit breaker to run off of.
Some people like to play it safe and use the 20-amp breaker.
How Will I Know What Other Appliances Are on the Same Circuit as My Dishwasher?
It is not hard to figure out which other appliances are on your dishwasher’s circuit, especially if you are having trouble with this dishwasher.
The first step you can take is to head to the garage to take a look at the breaker panel, or wherever it’s located in your home.
Does the panel give any information about the items that are on that circuit?
There may be a label which states that the dishwasher and another appliance or a few outlets are all on the same circuit.
Another way you will be able to tell is if you happen to flip the breaker.
When the breaker flips, there will likely be a few other things in your home that also stop working.
This is your best way of knowing what is working together.
When a breaker flips, anything that is on that circuit is also going to flip at the same time.
You will quickly know what is connected and what is not.
This is when you can decide whether you need to call an electrician or you can handle getting the dishwasher on its own circuit by yourself.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you are carefully following any electrical protocol and safety precautions.
Can a Dishwasher Plug into a Standard Outlet?
You will notice that most of the standard outlets in your home are referred to as 120v outlets.
This is the standard in the United States.
A dishwasher is going to come with a standard plug that will go directly into this 120V outlet.
You will not need to make any modifications and/or alterations.
However, we do recommend that this is the only thing that you plug into this outlet.
Again, remember that anything else that is plugged in is going to add to the same electrical load and make it more likely for you to notice a breaker flipping.
The installer will decide if your dishwasher will work with the standard outlet.
Are Most Dishwashers Plugged in or Hardwired?
If you decide not to plug your dishwasher in, it will need to be hardwired.
Depending on the dishwasher that you purchase, the decision to hardwire or plug the dishwasher in will be up to the installer.
In many modern homes, the dishwasher is going to be hardwired, but this is not a code requirement.
You will notice that, very often, when you hardwire an appliance, you will deal with fewer issues when it comes to the power load.
Hardwiring an appliance will require the services of a professional electrician who knows the ins and outs of this process.
Does a Dishwasher Need a GFCI Outlet?
A GFCI outlet stands for ground fault circuit interrupter.
This means that, if there is a ground fault, the power will shut off immediately.
It is not considered standard to use a GFCI outlet on a dishwasher.
One of the major reasons to put a GFCI outlet is that there is access to water nearby.
If there is a chance that the outlet could get wet, a GFCI outlet is required.
This is why you will see the GFCI outlets in areas like a laundry room, a basement, or even a garage.
The outlets in your bathroom are all going to be GFCI outlets according to code as well.
This helps to ensure that, even after your child leaves the bathtub running, they won’t do anything to cause a severe electrical problem in your home.
However, for the dishwasher, this is not necessary, nor is it required.
The dishwasher will not have water issues that could cause the outlet to get wet.
Hopefully, you now can figure out how many amps a dishwasher uses and whether or not you will need to do some alternative wiring in your home to run the dishwasher properly.
The dishwasher is not an appliance that requires the maximum load of electricity.
It is, however, essential that you consider how it is wired in your home.
If your dishwasher continues to flip the breaker switch that it is on, you will need to have it rewired.
Sometimes this is going to require another breaker being put in which can support a 20-amp appliance.
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