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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    2

    Default Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    I am remodeling my daughters kitchen. No upgrades since it was built in 1947 ! I am getting mixed messages from my research and local electricians on just how many circuits are "required". If this is already answered in layman's terms (not NEC "lawyer speak") please point me in the right direction

    I am fairly certain that the NEC requires a 20A, GFCI circuit on each side of the sink. I believe, each circuit can have up to 4 receptacle as long as they are all in the kitchen.

    The electrician said the refrigerator could run off of one of the counter top circuits, even though is was on an adjacent wall.

    It is a gas stove, but 120V is required for the clock, light and igniter.

    I plan on installing the dishwasher, disposer and microwave/hood on cords (3 prong, 16 gauge). Each will have a dedicated receptacle, but then things get tricky.

    The electrician specified individual circuits (I believe 15A) for each of the above appliances, which seems like overkill to me.

    In my opinion, counter top microwaves run off the standard counter top outlet, so why can't a built in one (with a cord) do the same ?

    Again, in my opinion, one 20A circuit should be more than adequate for both the dishwasher and disposer.



    If you choose to respond please state if you are a professional and if your responses is based on NEC or local inspectors "requirements" or "best practice".

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    First an explanation, NEC is a recommendation not law. It is generally adopted by states but states can add requirements well beyond NEC recommendations or not adopt NEC at all (this seldom happens) but some states do delay adoption of new NEC standards.

    GFCI protection in the Kitchen is required, if NEC is adopted, for all receptacles serving counter top surfaces. One exception "Exception No. 2: The receptacle outlet for refrigeration equipment shall be permitted to be supplied from an individual branch circuit rated 15 amperes or greater." which means even if the receptacle is close to the sink or counter top, GFCI is not required. I would never install a refrigerator on a GFCI protected circuit.

    2 20amp circuits to serve small appliances are recommended as a minimum.

    Receptacle behind the stove, or under the cabinet for the DW or GD do not need GFCI protection.

    The Microwave- using the receptacle behind the stove to feed the stove and the microwave should be a separate 20 amp circuit to handle the load.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pacific Northwet
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    1,418

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    I concur with your electrician. Dishwasher, microwave/hood (installed, not countertop), and disposer should each have dedicated circuits, even if cord-and-plug connected.

    Reason being is load: each of these appliances can represent a significant load on the circuit, and if shared will be a major inconvenience.

    My wife has tripped the breaker I-don't-know-how-many-times because she wanted to use another appliance when the countertop microwave was running.

    Remember that the dishwasher has a heating element. Running it on the same 15A circuit as the disposer could trip the breaker.

    The disposer doesn't seem like it takes much electricity, until it gets jammed. Motors exhibit the highest power requirements when they are unable to spin.

    Absolutely don't put the refrigerator on a GFI. If its outlet is on the same circuit as the countertop outlets, make sure it's "upstream" of the GFI. Best if the outlet is behind the fridge.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    While everything is open, I would also have installed an abundant number of outlets and perhaps some inside the counter cabinets.

    The kitchen is my household's command center, and many of our electronic devices are charged there; and many rechargers are still mini-bricks (like cordless phone) that block out an entire outlet.
    I also had a table height counter that was used as a desk so an outlet was inside the cabinet to better hide the laptop AC adapter brick.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    644

    Smile Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    Quote Originally Posted by theoldwizard1 View Post
    I am remodeling my daughters kitchen. No upgrades since it was built in 1947 ! I am getting mixed messages from my research and local electricians on just how many circuits are "required". If this is already answered in layman's terms (not NEC "lawyer speak") please point me in the right direction

    I am fairly certain that the NEC requires a 20A, GFCI circuit on each side of the sink. I believe, each circuit can have up to 4 receptacle as long as they are all in the kitchen.

    The electrician said the refrigerator could run off of one of the counter top circuits, even though is was on an adjacent wall.

    It is a gas stove, but 120V is required for the clock, light and igniter.

    I plan on installing the dishwasher, disposer and microwave/hood on cords (3 prong, 16 gauge). Each will have a dedicated receptacle, but then things get tricky.

    The electrician specified individual circuits (I believe 15A) for each of the above appliances, which seems like overkill to me.

    In my opinion, counter top microwaves run off the standard counter top outlet, so why can't a built in one (with a cord) do the same ?

    Again, in my opinion, one 20A circuit should be more than adequate for both the dishwasher and disposer.



    If you choose to respond please state if you are a professional and if your responses is based on NEC or local inspectors "requirements" or "best practice".
    Actually the NEC requires two 20A circuits on the countertops but does not mandate how may outlets or where.

    True, the power for the gas stove and the refrigerator may be on either of the countertop circuits, as well as a clock receptacle.

    The NEC doesn't know if you will actually have a MW, DW or GD, if you do..how much power they will draw, so it just says one must calculate the load and not load any "fastened-in-place appliance circuit" to more than 80%. But, it's just easier to install dedicated circuits in case you get bigger appliances or want to add on to an existing circuit later.

    That's why if a MW is plugged into one of the counter-top small appliance branch circuits (SABC), its OK. The inspector doesn't know what you will plug in. Remember the Code is the "minimum required".

    But, as everyone has been saying go w/ 20A circuits and don't skimp...you will regret it later. And your daughter will put you in a nursing home that much sooner.

    And yes, what I've said is Code and I've held a master electrician's license for many decades.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    Standard practice here (Chicago area) is 2-20 amp countertop circuits. Separate 15-amp circuits for Ref, Micro, DW, & Disposal, unless a large Ref (such as Sub Zero) is used. Then increase the Ref circuit to 20-amp. Keep all lighting on a different 15-amp circuit, including ceiling lights, under- and over-cabinet lights, sink light, etc. The outlet for the range generally is tied into the microwave circuit. It is only used for ignitors, timer, and lights, so it uses very little power. Any convenience outlets (such as in a dinette area) should be another circuit, not necessarily dedicated, just not tied to countertop outlets. (Lighting circuit is acceptable.)
    HTH

    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,003

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    My vent hood required a 20a dedicated breaker. If the inspector finds out that the specific requirements for oddball appliances were unmet, that's a fail.
    I like how an instahot can share the air switch (disposer) connection, since the switch is a toggle and one of its outlets is always on, the disposal only interrupts the instahot momentarily.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    Couldn't hurt to contact a local inspector to ask what is required.
    My advice and opinions come from hands on knowledge...and This Old House Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Definitive Kitchen circuit count; NEC vs local code vs "best practice"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave357 View Post
    Standard practice here (Chicago area) is 2-20 amp countertop circuits. Separate 15-amp circuits for Ref, Micro, DW, & Disposal, unless a large Ref (such as Sub Zero) is used. Then increase the Ref circuit to 20-amp. Keep all lighting on a different 15-amp circuit, including ceiling lights, under- and over-cabinet lights, sink light, etc. The outlet for the range generally is tied into the microwave circuit. It is only used for ignitors, timer, and lights, so it uses very little power. Any convenience outlets (such as in a dinette area) should be another circuit, not necessarily dedicated, just not tied to countertop outlets. (Lighting circuit is acceptable.)
    Interesting, but I can find no legal or code definition of standard practice.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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