Doing some kitchen reno work recently in a family members condo. I ran
all of the new electric lines, which called for 2 new countertop
circuits as required by code. The plans originally called for a
microwave to sit on the countertop.
Now plans have changed, and the microwave is now being mounted under a
cabinet. I'm not sure but I think I read somewhere that if the
microwave is being mounted under a cabinet, it needs its own circuit,
which is a problem now since all the wall are closed up and I can't
run a new line.
However, I can run a new line from one of the countertop outlets up
about 3 feet to the cabinet. So my question does anyone know what the
Can you run a new circuit via the attic? Common sense and best wiring
practice calls for a separate 20amp circuit for the larger built in
microwave ovens but with all the new current hungry counter top items
being used these days, you will wind up with the problem we have at my
home where we trip the circuit breakers to the kitchen all the time
because of all the modern kitchen counter top conveniences. ^_^
No, this is a condo Bldg, no attic. I don't understand the code. If it
is sitting on a counter, perfectly fine to plug it in an outlet.
Also, I think if I attached it to a cabinet, but draped the cord down
and plugged it in the counter outlet, thats fine too, no new circuit
needed. But once you attach it to a cabinet, it needs its own circuit.
Does not make sense. Electrically, its using the same current.
Built in microwaves generally are higher wattage and thus the seperate
20 amp circuit requirement.
You have a choice
go back to a countertop microwave
Do the job right and run a new 20 amp circuit with 12 gauge wire.
or hack a work around and live with tripped breakers when someone
forgets you cant use microwave while using any other countertop
Personally even a day of work is better than a lifetime of
In preping for a kitchen remodel in a 60 year old home I added a bunch
of new circuits dead ended in work boxes on basement cieling, to make
later kitchen job easier
There are special long bits for electrical work they are 3 feet long
and extensions are available you can drill directly from hole in wall
behind new microwave to basement, just use care watch for obstructions
like water lines and other power lines, a small mirror in hole helps
I ran a new line for mine, but it is not true that larger microwaves
need more power. In my case, my combo turbo/microwave over stove,
under cabinet uses less than my little physical sized table top unit.
Just read the watts. They usually recommend a separate line
regardless. Is nice to be able to use appliances without thought of
You pay the code experts in City Hall to know this. Seems to me they
are supposed to answer questions like this as part of their job. Most
of the local ones here are very helpful so you may have similar
competent people in your area. Give it a try.
** You may actually create a situation if you mount the microwave to a wall
cabinet, above the countertop, and it blocks one of the required counter
outlets. If you do this, technically that counter outlet no longer qualifies
as one of the required ones. The same thing applies to counter mounted
garages. (nec 210.52 (5) but in my opinion, you'd be splitting hairs
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