I wrote it up as a safety issue, but it it wrong or just stupid

I did an inspection on a sf 4 yo home the other day that is just outside the city limits (read no building codes). The switch and only disconnect for the garbage disposal is located 6’2" away from the sink opening for the garbage disposal. From a safety standpoint, it is dumb, but I cannot find an actual requirement that the disconnect be located within reach of the sink (disposal throat). Gurus?


It is not required to be a specific distance in the case of a Garbage Disposal per se’…now remember the switch probably turns it on and off as well and while inconvient in itself not really a violation I can think of.

We have distances for disconnection means and within sight issues all the time but this is not one I would be overly concerned about…in fact the disconnect is still within sight actually…and is really for servicing the unit.

Think of the other side of the coin…if the kid can reach down in it while off…they can’t actually reach the switch to turn it on…so either way I would not be overly concerned about that.

Also…we are talking about “PERMANENTLY” connected…if the disposal has a receptacal under the counter then the plug can serve as this use…the switch is nothing more than a on and off factor.

**(B) Appliances Rated Over 300 Volt-Amperes or

1**[size=2]/8 [/size]Horsepower.
For permanently connected appliances
rated over 300 volt-amperes or 1.8 hp, the branch-circuit
switch or circuit breaker shall be permitted to serve as the
disconnecting means where the switch or circuit breaker is
within sight from the appliance or is capable of being
locked in the open position. The provision for locking or
adding a lock to the disconnecting means shall be installed
on or at the switch or circuit breaker used as the disconnecting
means and shall remain in place with or without the
lock installed.

FPN: For appliances employing unit switches, see 422.34.

also within sight is spoken as well in additional text under that article…but again in your case 6’ and over does not put the disconnection means NOT within sight…so it is fine.

A few years ago common practice/code in some areas to have the switch far enough from the garbage disposal so that your hand couldn’t be in the disposal when you turned it on.




It may appear to be a dumb installation, but if it’s within view… it’s fine.

Disconnect Means

  • Appliance >300v-a or >1/8h.p. requires disconnect [422-21b] [t 4601.7][LIST]
  • Cord/plug (except wall oven or cooktop) OR… [422-22, 17b] [t 4601.7]
  • In-sight and <50ft. rated switch fig. e14 (may be breaker) OR…
  • Lockable switch fig. e13 OR… [422-21b] [t 4601.7]
  • Unit switch that opens all ungrounded conductors [422-25] [t 4601.7]

[/LIST]Toggle switch is the safest type of switch between toggle, touch sensitive and rocker. The location of the disposal switch should be place where a disabled individual can’t turn it on accidently by bumping it with their wheelchair. The best location for a kitchen design would be to the left of the kitchen sink, a few inches below the over-hang of the kitchen counter, roughly at 28-30 inches in height.

Why to the left of the sink. What if you are left handed. Why not put it on the right side of the sink.


This was just my opinion. Right handers do dominate and that was simply considered into my reasoning. For those left handers out there, have the switch installed to your preference.

The reason why the left side of the sink is an accepted practice (IMO) is because it makes the average right handed individual actually get uncomfortable to activate the switch. Which (in turn) makes the switch fully intended to be placed in the “ON” position. No mistakes can be made by (the average individual) when the disposal is turned “ON”.

In this area, if the disposal is on the right side of a double sink, it needs to be on the left, and vice-versa. They are usually a few feet from the sink as well.


I was just messing with you. Guess I should have put a few smilies on that post.