Electrical planning- kitchen- # of circuits

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I'm planning a kitchen remodel, and I always like to have a complete plan before I get started on projects (self or hired contractors). I also have a tendency to overengineer my projects, but now I'm in a situation where I need to know where I can pull back a little, because I have a limited number of unused circuits in my electrical box and I'm trying to avoid the large additional cost of upgrading my panel.
My house was built in the 1870s, and the current kitchen has limited electricity. I haven't fully traced the existing wires yet, but I believe that I have the following:
* Main house circuit (knob and tube) supporting other rooms plus one kitchen light and two kitchen non-grounded outlets. * Fridge (may or may not be on it's own circuit * Stove (I think this is on a separate circuit)
My intent during the remodel is to move the fridge and put in more outlets and lights, plus a microwave, dishwasher and disposal. In the perfect world, I'd do the following, but since I don't have enough circuits I'm wondering if there is anywhere I'm overengineering my plan, where I could consolidate and save a circuit.
Run new wires and use the existing circuit breakers: --------------------------------------------------- * 1 circuit to the stove/oven. May also support one BP by the stove for handheld blender use on the stove * 1 circuit to the fridge (stays on separate circuit to avoid food spoilage)
NEW circuits needed: -------------------- * NEW circuit to a new built-in microwave oven to be installed above the stove with a vent fan * NEW circuit for the countertop BPs (for countertop appliances like mixers, blenders, wafflemakers, etc.). This circuit might share the new kitchen lighting, which would include undercabinet LED or halogen, 3 pendant lights from the ceiling (60W each). * NEW circuit with just the dishwasher and disposal.
Of particular interest are the last two- is it appropriate/necessary to run the dishwasher and disposal on a separate circuit, or is it possible to put them on the same (GFCI) circuit as the BPs and lights?
Thanks for any advice, Keith
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Why not a sub panel with a larger breaker in it close by the main? Why not the same sub-panel in on a wall or closet near the kitchen.....? A sub panel would use one to two breaker spots in the panel, and the sub panel would have many breaker choices to use. I just finished a kitchen remodel, and a nice addition was "low watt" lighting under cabinet which was quite adequate(less energy) and also srip receptacles under cabinet......invisible. Good Luck jloomis

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I think a subpanel for the kitchen is an excellent idea. Actually for *all* kitchens.
In addition to appliances which need separate 20 amp circuits, I feel that each counter outlet should be on its own 20 amp circuit. This is because there are quite a few counter top appliances which are energy hogs like a waffle iron, deep fryer, electric skillet, hot plate, etc. Then lighting should be on a separate circuit.
So a kitchen subpanel would easily allow all these separate circuits without taking up all the circuits in the main panel.
Also good idea to have 4 outlets for every counter outlet and space them 2 ft. apart. (Never enough outlets on the counter in a kitchen!)
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It really depends on where your main panel is located. Mine is located on the backside of the kitchen wall in the laundry room, with plenty of breaker slots available. So there's no reason or advantage to use a subpanel.
Of course, kitchens have a lot of circuits so a subpanel is a smart idea if your main panel is a good distance from the kitchen.

We have a relatively small kitchen, and still have over 8 outlets. That's a lot of circuits to run individually, and you would need even more for larger kitchens.
Besides, you're unlikely to use more than two or three of those appliances at a time, and most won't use anywhere near the capacity of a 20A circuit. Even using two appliances on each of two circuits would mean four appliances going at once. I'd be hard pressed to think of an instance we ever had more than two going at once (toaster and coffee maker).
But there would be no harm in adding more circuits if you feel the need and have the available breaker slots.

That might make sense if you plan on leaving the appliances plugged in all the time. We always unplug ours and store them in the cabinets.
Anthony
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Hi Keith,

Things have changed a lot since the days of a single circuit for the entire kitchen, except for a separate range circuit. My in-laws house is wired the same way.
These days you should (and I believe code now requires) separate circuits for each major appliance. This usually means:
60A - 240V circuit for range/oven 20A - 120V circuit for refrigerator 20A - 120V circuit for microwave 20A - 120V circuit for dishwasher 20A - 120V circuit for garbage disposal.
You also must have "TWO" 20A-120V small appliance circuits (the kitchen outlets). The outlets themselves must be no more than four feet apart (since most small appliances only have 2 foot cords), and any counter 2 feet or larger must have an outlet available. It usually works best to alternate your outlets along long runs of counters. One outlet is on the first circuit, second outlet is on the second circuit, third outlet is on the first circuit, and so on. You can save cable by using 12/3 wire for these two circuits, alternating which hot leg you use for every other outlet.
You also need a separate 15A or 20A circuit for the kitchen lighting. As far as I know, lights are not allowed on the appliance circuits. But you can put the range hood fan/light (not a microwave) on the lighting circuit.
If your dining area is part of the kitchen (i.e. not a separate room), any outlets should be on the kitchen small appliance circuit. The dining lights can go on the kitchen lighting circuit. I also put small items like our doorbell and ceiling fan on the kitchen lighting circuit (both are in our dining area).

You might be able to use those breakers that have two circuits in a single breaker to pack more circuits into limited panel space.
Or, you could install one larger breaker and install a subpanel somewhere with as many breakers as you need for the kitchen.
You might want to pick up a copy of "Code Check Electrical". It's not a "how-to" type of book, but it's a good reference for code requirements.
Hope this helps,
Anthony
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This only works if (a) each receptacle is its own GFCI or (b) the 12/3 circuit is protected by a GFCI breaker.
Wayne
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On Sat, 02 Feb 2008 17:53:13 GMT, Wayne Whitney

This may have already been addressed by a real electrician but ALL kitchen countertop recptacles MUST be GFCI protected.
Therefore, you cannot use 12/3 NM as then you would be sharing a nuetral which will cause "nuisance" tripping of GFI's.
They do make 12/2/2 or somecall it 12/4. There would then be 2 separate 20 amp circuits in one cable. There is a red, a black, a white, and a white with a red stripe so you can ID it and of course a bare ground.
The NEC requies at least 2 small appliance 20 amp circuits in kitchens. You would probably put the fridge on the line side or I prefer running a 20 just for that and also the MW which can be a 15. The Dish and Disp require their own circuits and you can use a 14/3 and a 15a two pole for those items. The lighting would be on a separate 15a cct.
This is most likely more than the original poster wanted to know but this would be the absolute minimum for all kitchens and would apply anywhere the 2005 NEC is being adhered to. The MW does noe req a cct of its own unless you use a cord connected range vent hood.
There are other things like switches to control the DISH and DISP ccts.
You could use 12/3 for one of the countertop GFI small appliance ccts and the other for the fridge w/o issue although.
Got carried away. Take what you need, ignore the rest.
RP
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Well, you can not use 12/3 NM for a MWBC on the load side of a 120V GFCI. But if each receptacle is a separate GFCI receptacle, then nothing is being fed from the load side of the GFCI, and 12/3 for a MWBC will work fine. Likewise, if you use a 240/120V GFCI breaker with all regular receptacles, then 12/3 for a MWBC will also work fine.
Cheers, Wayne
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On Fri, 08 Feb 2008 16:22:21 GMT, Wayne Whitney

I agree with first statement but then installing GFCI's at each position, dependent on how many you have is a more expensive proposition. Lets use $20 per and you have 6-8. If you use 2 12/2's or 1 12/2/2 NM you only then would need 2. Yes?
I will have to ponder your 2nd statement regarding the 2p 20a GFCI breaker.
I have done countless kitchen remodels and had never used that configuration. I am not saying it isn't a good idea, I just have to give it a little thought. Would you not still be sharing the Neutral? Then you leave yourself open to issues possibly down the road not to mention the fact those breakers cost almost $100 here. Shop the electrical distros and you may find a $60 one depending on the panel brand.
Regards,
Roscoe
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wrote:

Really bad idea. Won't meet code, creates a fire hazard (you will have a 12 AWG return with the potential of 40 amps (two 20 amp breakers) flowing. Even if the two circuits are on different phases, the problems are significant, and this should not be done.
Wire is not *that* expensive that there is a reason to be cheap to the point of creating a hazard.
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NOT a bad idea and is actually very common practice. Of course the circuits are on opposite legs. It's called an edison circuit and is done in most kitchens. AND there's no hazard about it.
s

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On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 23:34:41 -0600, "S. Barker"

(please, please bottom post!)
Not a good idea as too many times either the installer doesn't realize that they should be on different phases, or someone comes along later and moves one of the lines so they are both on the same phase.
Personally, I'd never do this, and would reject any work that included this technique.
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If fed by a double pole breaker, this shouldn't be a problem. Wayne
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On Sun, 03 Feb 2008 16:18:17 GMT, Wayne Whitney

You keep making assumptions about people and the future! Say that double pole breaker fails some day. Say that one side fails. Say the (idiot) replaces just the failed side, leaving the other side still on the double pole breaker.
Now the odds are 50/50 it will be wrong!
(and never, ever, underestimate what people will do!)
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If it's a double pole breaker, you can't replace just one side. And when was the last time you heard of a breaker going bad?
s

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S. Barker wrote:

when > was the last time you heard of a breaker going bad? > > s >
If one side of the breaker fails, it's simple to drop in a single pole breaker and move the wire to it. There, now you've replaced 1 side of a double pole breaker. Breakers go bad all the time. Especially near the ocean in humid, salty air, like where I live. Some areas are harder than others on electrical equipment.
--
Art

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wrong. double pole breakers are molded together. You can't remove half of it.
s

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On Mon, 4 Feb 2008 21:08:04 -0600, "S. Barker"

(Please bottom post!)
Again, wrong. Never, ever underestimate what someone else can and will do... All the idiot who does this has to do is remove the wire from the defective side, and put it on another breaker. Leaving the 'non-devective' side connected. The odds that that second breaker will be on the wrong phase are mathematically 50/50, but in real life, the odds are 100% they will get it wrong.
Again, you cannot rely on the next person working on the circuit to do the right thing, especially if it is not clear that it is an Edison circuit, and if they don't understand the implications of such a circuit.
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(please top post, it makes the most sense)
i see what you're saying now. BUT. Real life is that most houses have edison circuits in the kitchen and Real life is, that most people don't poke around trying to do their own electrical repair. So , real life is that the chances of the wire getting on the wrong leg is pretty minimal. and REal life is that most people don't draw enough current in the kitchen all at once to overload the neutral even if the hots did end up on the same leg. 12 ga wire will take a lot more than 20 amps in real life.
s

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On Tue, 5 Feb 2008 09:03:29 -0600, "S. Barker"

(please bottom post, as per Usenet standards)
In real life houses burn down, with a determineation 'wiring or electrical fault'...
We're spinning our wheels here, you won't convince me, and I won't convince you. I can only hope that I convince someone else, and in doing so some day in the distant future (after I've died of old age, so not that long from now) someone else won't have to deal with a shocking experience, or worse.
I think we've thrashed this topic enough! <g>
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