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Kitchen Circuits Required for Home Remodels

When people remodel their kitchens, they often think about aesthetics such as countertop layouts and kitchen color schemes. Not much thinking goes into upgrading or adding kitchen circuits, although this is considered an important priority for any kitchen remodel.

The kitchen houses more appliances compared to other rooms in the house. So when planning home remodels, kitchen circuits should be included in the planning. You wouldn’t want to spend most of your money remodeling your kitchen only to find that your outlets are not within reach of your kitchen appliances or are not up to par with safety standards.

Necessary Electrical Circuits For Your Kitchen

At a minimum, you need at least 7 electrical circuits for a basic kitchen setup:

  1. Lighting – An average kitchen lighting setup will have a mixture of ceiling, recessed, and task lights. A 15-amp, 120-volt circuit should be enough to power all the lights in your kitchen.
  2. Oven Range – Your oven range should have its own dedicated oven range outlet, which has special receptacles that fit your oven range’s special plug. This special circuit provides 50-amp, 240-volt circuit for your oven range.
  3. Refrigerator – Refrigerators have gotten larger and more advanced through the years, so their wattage requirements have also changed. A dedicated circuit is also recommended for your refrigerator to prevent load sharing on this 20-amp 120-volt circuit.
  4. Garbage Disposal – This appliance requires a 15-amp, 120-volt circuit. Check with your local electrical codes to see if it’s okay for your garbage disposal to share the same circuit as your dishwasher or if you need a dedicated circuit for it.
  5. Dishwasher – Although not considered a basic kitchen appliance, more households now have dishwashers as a convenient alternative to manual dishwashing. If your local codes allow it, your dishwasher may share the same 15-amp, 120-volt circuit as your garbage disposal machine. If not, then it needs its own dedicated circuit.
  6. Microwave – Microwaves vary greatly in wattage use, depending on the year and model. They require a 20-amp, 120-volt dedicated circuit.
  7. Other small appliances – These include blenders, juicers, toasters, waffle makers, rice cookers, air fryers, and other small appliances that are usually lined up on your countertop.

Kitchen Circuit Safety Considerations

Aside from wattage and amperage requirements, you also need to consider safety requirements when adding or upgrading your kitchen circuits. Remember to install GFCI outlets in areas close to water. GFCI outlets prevent grounding or electric shock due to the presence of water. It’s recommended for appliances that use water, as well as appliances situated on your countertop, especially if there’s a sink nearby.

Electrical Code Considerations

A lot of homeowners forgo professional help because working with professionals means they are strict with following local electrical codes, which can sometimes drive up the price of the remodeling project. However, you should ensure your remodeling is up to local code, even if you are doing the project yourself.

National Electrical Code (NEC)

According to the National Electric Code, you should have at least two 20-amp, 120-volt dedicated circuits on your countertop. When installing countertop outlets, make sure they are less than four feet apart. The NEC also recommends GFCI outlets for areas such as kitchens, garages, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces.

Additionally, outlets cannot be installed more than 20 inches above kitchen countertops. The only exception to this rule is if the homeowner is physically disabled.

International Residential Code (IRC)

The IRC requires homes to observe proper spacing when it comes to electric outlets. Receptacles must be installed in such a way that all points, when measured horizontally, are within 6 feet from an outlet. This ensures that all appliances are less than 6 feet from an outlet. For countertops, the spacing requirement is 24 inches.

Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC)

The Uniform Plumbing Code has been accepted in 35 states, so before remodeling your kitchen pipes, check to ensure if your state has strict plumbing requirements. The UPC requires using the right materials for plumbing (PVC, copper, brass) and the right dimensions for supply and drain lines. Homeowners are also required to regulate their water pressure by installing booster pumps if the water pressure is weak and a pressure-reducing valve if the pressure is too high.

Seeking Professional Help

If your home is covered by all of these electrical and plumbing codes, you should consider hiring a professional. Electrical codes are put in place for the safety of the homeowners and to maintain the structural integrity of your home. Professionals are equipped with the required knowledge in safety standards and electric codes to ensure that your kitchen circuits increase the value of your home, not put you in danger.

LiveWire Electrical will ensure that your kitchen remodels are safe, affordable, and up to local code. If you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel, don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

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