Installing plug-in under cabinet lighting using the outlet located inside the cabinet above the built-in microwave

John'sGirl's Avatar (by Gravatar) by John'sGirl in  Energy » Electrical » Lighting 

This outlet is only a single outlet, but I would like to replace it with a double outlet in order to plug in my under cabinet lighting - I will be drilling small holes inside the cabinets to link the lights. How do I know if I need a 15-amp versus a 20-amp double outlet?? I intend on only using 3 to 5 lights...

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100276599

If I use the lights that I have linked above, I will be using 3 lights with one kit or purchase two kits (3 lights/kit) but only use 5 lights versus 6.


My neighbor has a similar set up and he plugged his under cabinet lights into a small surge protector that is plugged into one of the receptacles of the double outlet inside the cabinet above the microwave oven; this is what I would like to do.

Any suggestions??

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Answer by homeowners

These particular lighting fixtures are using 20 W light bulbs in each light and 6 of them connected in parallel will only draw  1A of current. So, 15A circuit or 20A would make absolutely no difference. Since the lights don't have a switch (as far as I could tell, it's usually on the connecting cable) - you may want to use a combination power outlet that has a switch in place of one of the sockets. This will require cutting the plug off the connecting cable and wiring it directly to the switch.  Actually, I'm not certain it comes with a connecting cable, so that may be a moot point. Something like this will do: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/... plus a matching faceplate.

It is a type of DIY project that I would only advise if you're familiar with safety precautions in working with high voltage wiring. But, since you're planning on replacing the outlet anyhow, I figured you have to be aware of that anyhow.

Be sure to disconnect the circuit at the breaker panel before opening the outlet!

Answer by

Thank you for your reply.  I understand that the lights will not be drawing more than 1amp of current and this is why I had decided that it would be suitable to use this set up for this application.  However, since I intend on replacing the single outlet with a double outlet, I need to make sure the replacement is suitable to the current circuit breaker.  I don't know how to determine if I need a 15-amp or 20-amp double outlet for the circuit it's on.  I would assume that it would be a 20-amp circuit, but you know what they say about that! Haha!  ;-p

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