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Old 11-05-2011, 05:51 PM   #1
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


Hey Everyone,

I just bought a new house, and am installing a new dishwasher into the spot where the seller had one. In the space, there is the water and drain hookups, as well as two sets of wires. One set is a 14 gauge, with a black, white, and uninsulated ground wire. The other is a 12 gauge with a gray, white and uninsulated wire. The hookup for the dishwasher has a black, white, and green (ground) wire to hook into. I have 2 specific questions:

-What is up with the gray, white, and uninsulated line? I thought that gray was for the neutral wire, but there is also a white one in there.
-If the gray is just a black wire that is faded, can I just hook both sets of wires up to the dishwasher? If not, what do I do with the other one?

If it helps, there is a 20 amp circuit breaker for the dishwasher/garbage disposal. I am an electrical novice, but feel I can hook up the dishwasher if my questions are answered.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-05-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


A normal DW only has one cable to feed it. you will need to find where the other cable goes or does.

If the breaker is 20 amp you should have #12 wire.

The gray is probably a light black.

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Old 11-05-2011, 07:39 PM   #3
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


One of them may be a switch leg .... you should test each line for voltage/continuity before proceeding.
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


Thank you both for your help.

Jim, you say I should find out where the other (14 gauge) cable goes. Both cables (12 and 14) go out into drywall in the back of the space where the dishwasher goes. Is there a way to find out where the cable goes that doesn't involve tearing out the drywall? If not, is there a safe way to 'seal off' those wires and just use the 12 gauge to power the dishwasher?

Sparky, I am an electrical novice so I don't know what a switch leg is. Is it something I can figure out on my own?
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:36 PM   #5
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


A switch leg would be where only the hot wire goes to and leaves a switch. Is there a switch near the countertop that does not appear to do anything?
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:47 PM   #6
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


Is there a garbage disposal installed, connected, and a switch for that above?

Is there an "electrical box" that these wires are coming out of? Or are they just wires coming out of the wall?
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:31 PM   #7
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Yes, there is a garbage disposal connected. The disposal has a hard wired line going back into the wall, and a dedicated switch that turns it on and off. The wires are all coming "out of the wall" and there are no switches that don't do anything.
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:21 PM   #8
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Dishwasher Wiring Help Requested


Well you've got me!

People like me run wires when the walls are torn apart for things which might be installed in the future. Then the wire is there. So that is possible. Perhaps a commercial dishwasher needing 240 volts or both 240 and 120 volts????

Or maybe a future trash compactor next to the dishwasher? Or maybe a Reverse Osmosis water system? Or instant water heater?

Anyway I would install a double gang electrical box there with cover. Wire nut the 14 gauge wires. Tie the grounds together. And with a voltmeter, be sure the 12 gauge wires are 120 volts (and dishwasher is 120 volts). And mark the breaker or if marked be sure it goes to those wires.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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Were the two wires connected together with the old dishwasher's wires?

I just replaced our dishwasher this weekend. The old one caught on fire on Wednesday. There was a recall by Maytag in 2007, but we were not contacted about it.

Since I did the wiring, I can tell you that in our case, the 12 gauge wire comes from the 20 amp breaker to a GFI outlet at the end of the bar and then back to the dishwasher. The dishwasher is to the right of the sink in the last cabinet in the peninsula. The old dishwasher was plugged into an outlet under the sink on the same circuit as the rest of the kitchen outlets.

Does one of the sets of wires go to the garbage disposal's switch? Best advice is to test the wires. I bet the 12 gauge has power, the 14 gauge goes to a disposal's switch, and then wires from the switch to the disposal. With a 20 amp breaker, all the wire should be 12 gauge.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
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Thank you all for your help - I ended up getting everything working. Turns out that indeed the 14 gauge wire was going to the garbage disposal switch, so I hooked all of them up to the dishwasher. Is it a big deal if the 14 gauge wire is still in there? The previous owner didn't have a problem for 5 years, and I'd really not want to tear up the walls to replace a wire.

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