Garbage disposals have brought a whole lot of convenience in the kitchen when it’s time to get rid of food waste. But like any other home appliance, knowing their power consumption and other specs is essential before you install one.
Only after you have these details can you do the necessary wiring and ensure that your home’s electrical system can support the use of garbage disposal. And with that said, how many amps does garbage disposal use?
Well, that’s the same question I asked myself when I wanted to install a garbage disposal in my kitchen. And after research and consultation with some veterans, I’ve got so much lined up for you in this article. Just read on for more!
How Many Amps Does a Garbage Disposal Use?
Most garbage disposals usually use between 5 amps and 15 amps, although we still have some options whose amperage is less or more than that. You can check the number of amps for your unit by reading the specification label or by using a clamp meter if you have it.
Amperage is an essential aspect, as you’ll see shortly. But to give you a brief overview of what amps are, they refer to the electrical current flowing through a circuit. It’s the magnitude of current or in simpler terms, how much power an appliance is fetching from the power source.
As such, always factor in the amps that a garbage disposal will use when buying or installing one. Otherwise, you’ll get the wrong kind of appliance or have a faulty installation whose repercussions range from roasting the entire unit to causing inefficiency in its operations.
And usually, the amperage of a garbage disposal unit varies depending on the appliance’s capability. Even so, I noticed that most units in the market have an amperage of between 5 and 15 amps.
The units on the lower end of that spectrum are designed for light-duty tasks. They can chop and grind soft food waste, such as leftover vegetables and the likes. These models may sometimes be smaller, which is why they use less power.
On the other hand, we have garbage disposals that sit on the higher end of the spectrum. These are the models that can handle tougher jobs in the kitchen. And since they have to generate more power for such tasks, their amperage is usually above 10 amps.
How Many Amps Does a ½ Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?
The 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal draws about 9.8 amps on average, depending on the efficiency of the machines and how long it has been running. The appliance will draw more when starting up than when running for a while.
1/2-HP garbage disposals are among the most common types you’ll find in the market. And that’s because they offer a perfect balance between power and affordability. I mean, it doesn’t make much sense to buy a unit with more power than you need.
Such an appliance will cost you more, yet you won’t get any benefits from the extra power. It will only jack up your electricity bills without providing any tangible value in return.
The average 1/2-HP garbage disposal will use about 9.8 amps. It’s ideal when using it to chop and grind a variety of food waste easily and is usually suitable for a couple or a small family of 3 or 4.
How Many Amps Does a 1/4 Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?
On average, a 1/4 horsepower garbage disposal will draw about 4 amps of power when running. It has the least amount of consumption of any horsepowers, but it’s also the weakest machine regarding power.
1/4 HP garbage disposal is designed for people who don’t have to do a lot of cooking or produce a lot of food waste. It’s the perfect unit for you if you live alone or are a couple. It uses about 4 amps on average when running.
While not the most powerful, it will still be able to handle soft food waste without any issues. However, if you have a lot of tough food waste, consider a machine with more power.
How Many Amps Does a 3/4 Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?
A garbage disposal with 3/4 horsepower will use an average of 13.8 amps when running. It’s a powerful machine that can handle heavier tasks than any of its predecessors, which is why it needs more power to run.
This type of garbage disposal is ideal if you have a standard family because it can deal with larger volumes of food waste than the 1/4 HP and 1/2 HP models. It can easily shred meat, vegetables, pits, and seeds without any problems.
And, of course, to do that, it needs enough energy, with its amperage standing at about 13.8 amps. That’s already more than the recommended 80% that a 15-amp circuit breaker can handle. So if you’re going to use this unit, make sure you have a larger breaker to handle it.
How Many Amps Does a 1-Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?
A 1-horsepower garbage disposal unit will use about 16 amps of power when running, quite a jump from the 3/4 HP model, which only uses 13.8 amps. 1-HP model needs the most power of all its predecessors because it’s also the most hardworking.
With 1 horsepower at its disposal, this garbage disposal can take on almost anything you throw at it. It has the highest shredding power of any garbage disposal in the market, making it ideal for families who produce a lot of food waste.
Of course, with all that power comes a higher electricity consumption. So if you’re considering getting this unit, be prepared to see a higher energy bill at the end of the month.
But don’t panic. The garbage disposal consumption rate may not be as high as you could think, but more of that will come in one of the remaining sections. For now, let’s look at something equally essential.
Does a Garbage Disposal Need a 20 Amp Switch?
A garbage disposal ideally needs a 20 amp switch to function correctly, but it could need more or less depending on the horsepower. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to get the most accurate detail.
Getting it right when it comes to the size of the switch is important because the wrong size could cause the garbage disposal to overheat, leading to a fire. And usually, a 20-amp version should be able to handle most types of GDs without any problems.
Even so, if you doubt your appliance’s needs could be different, I recommend reading the manufacturer’s guidelines. The manufacturer has the best product knowledge, so it’s always best to go straight to the source.
How Much Electricity Does Garbage Disposal Use?
Most garbage disposals use between 500 and 1800 watts of power, with the average being around 1200 watts. So, in general, they don’t use a lot of electricity, especially relative to other appliances you already have around your home.
If you’re budget-conscious, it makes sense to want to find out how much an appliance is going to cost you before you buy it. But in this case, I wouldn’t worry too much about the GD’s power consumption.
As you can see, they don’t use a lot of electricity to run. And even if you have an older model that uses a bit more power, the cost will still be relatively low. So, while they may not be the most energy-efficient appliance in your home, they’re not going to break the bank either.
Do Garbage Disposals Draw a Lot of Electricity?
No, garbage disposals aren’t among the appliances that will need a lot of power to run. Even more, you don’t need to run it all the time, which makes their electricity consumption even lower. Some models may need as low as 3-4 kWh per year, which is a minimal amount. But that would mean that you only use your disposal occasionally for light duties.
Even so, when you do use it, the motor will need more electricity to start up. So while they don’t use a lot of electricity overall, they may need 6 times more amps when beginning than their average amperage.
This is why it’s essential to ensure you don’t put too much strain on the motor by overloading it with food waste. If you do, not only will it take longer to grind everything up, but it could also cause the motor to overheat and potentially break down.
What Size Wire Do You Use For Garbage Disposal?
The wire size you should use for your garbage disposal will depend on the circuit breaker size you have. For a 20-amp breaker, match it with at least a 12 AWG copper wire. However, for a 15-amp circuit breaker, the smaller 14 AWG copper wire should suffice just fine.
Even so, for the 15-amp circuit breaker, you could still use the 12 AWG copper wire if you want to. It wouldn’t hurt and may even help the garbage disposal run a bit cooler. Plus, the thicker gauge will conduct even better.
However, one mistake you should avoid is a smaller gauge than what’s recommended for your breaker size. If you use a smaller gauge wire on a 20-amp breaker, let’s say a 14-gauge, it will heat up more easily.
In severe situations, it may even melt and damage your appliance. This is because it will have to work harder to conduct the same amount of current as a 12-gauge wire. However, it will be just fine when using a bigger gauge wire on a 15-amp circuit breaker than is recommended.
Does Garbage Disposal Have To Be on a Dedicated Circuit?
Whether to use a dedicated circuit for garbage disposal will depend on the power requirements. Smaller units like those with a 1/4 HP rating don’t need a dedicated circuit. But for heavier versions, having a dedicated circuit will save you a lot of trouble.
When installing a garbage disposal, you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations. If they indicate that you need a dedicated circuit, then it would be best to follow their instructions to the letter.
It may not seem like a big deal to have the GD on the same circuit as other appliances. But if you do, and something happens to cause a power surge, it may not only damage your GD but also any other appliance that’s on the same circuit.
Dedicated circuits are there for a reason, and it would be best to pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Garbage disposals are invaluable kitchen appliances that make our lives a lot easier. While they may not be the most energy-efficient appliance in our homes, they don’t use a lot of electricity. But even for better efficiency, have the installation done right. Use the ideal circuit breaker, outlet, wire size, and other installation requirements to prevent accidents.