I was talking to a friend about my projects around the home and we got on
the subject of re-wiring the kitchen. Something I'll have to do one of
Anyway, when we discussed it he mentioned something about having to have
separate breakers for certain appliances in order to meet code. He
mentioned the refrigerator, the microwave, the garbage disposal, the oven
Something in the back of my mind is thinking, the code restrictions can't be
that inane, to the point where you'd have to have at LEAST 4 breakers just
for the kitchen alone, and one of them will be a double pull. The garbage
disposal I can see, the oven is a cinch, but the microwave? The
refrigerator? These are not huge energy consumers.
Is my buddy out there in left field with this business of needing so many
specialized breakers to meet today's code?
I know you need at least two 20A small appliance circuits.
(Depending a little on the kitchen layout) I would put the fridge,
microwave, gas stove ignitor, and vent hood together on one 20A circuit.
Another 20A circuit for half the countertop outlets and the dishwasher, and
another 20A for the other countertop outlets and the disposal. That's
three 20's, and no electric range yet. The latest code may very well
require another circuit for the dishwasher, microwave, or fridge that I've
doubled-up; they've gone a little crazy lately IMHO about the required
number of circuits.
You've also got the lights, and the convenience outlet along at least one
non-countertop wall to deal with (but those could be picked up by circuits
for the other rooms.)
Adding the extra circuits that you think are silly is easier than arguing
with the inspector or code compliance office, and usually doesn't add that
much to the cost. They may actually come in handy someday when you want to
run a food processor, microwave, dishwasher, and two electric roasters, all
at the same time.
Go to the library and look at the NEC code book. My suggestion is that
every countertop outlet have its own breaker. Think about it. You plug in
the roaster and the electric griddle, run the toaster, etc. The roaster and
electric griddle will each come close to maxing out a 15a circuit. The
toaster will take a good of another 15a circuit. The kitchen is the highest
draw of the house, especially for a party! If you are going to do this you
might just as well do it right the first time and not regret it for years
Its code and for good reason! Your microwave might be 600 watts, but a
new one can be twice that!
Kitchens are large energy users, and need adquate wiring!
Then put furnace, washer, dryer, garage, outdoor outlets, AC, bath,
sump pump, basement freezer, all on seperate circuits too
Well I guess. It just seems like so damn wasteful to me. But I guess the
numbers don't lie, just right there is 2 20 amp circuits plus a 15 for the
When did this become common/required?
It might be because I don't have a lot of things in the kitchen, I don't own
a microwave, nor a toaster oven, don't have a dishwasher or a garbage
disposal, I don't drink coffee either. So maybe I'm questioning this
because I don't have to deal with all that crap. Doesn't mean I shouldn't
put it in, if only so that my house has better resale value. And who knows
maybe I'll marry some daddy's little princess who'll insist on all that
NEC code allows a 15 A or greater separate circuit for refrigerators.
This is a common sense thing, as you don't want the fridge to quit
because you tripped out the breaker with a waffle iron on the same
circuit and didn't realize it. Some local buiding codes require the
fridge to be all by itself, and freezers as well. As always, call city
hall and ask. Inspectors are not all boobs, and can often explain the
rationale for the rules.
You know the kitchen must have GFCI's now, right? And 20 A receptacles
are the norm in many codes.
The typical 200 A service entrance has space for so many breakers now
that using a half dozen spaces for the kitchen isn't any probklem. With
breakers only $6 now, doing a tidy job isn't a budget buster. ood luck.
Yea, but in real life having a second item on the circuit with a freezer
or frig is a very good idea. A clock or night light is good. After all, do
you really want to find out your freezer circuit went out three weeks after
So the crockpot causes a breaker to pop and now the refrigerator is left not
running for the next 8 hours. That does not make sense to me, but having a
dedicated circuit sure does. Of course, you don't want the room to go dark
if the toaster fries, so there is a separate circuit for lighting. You
already agree on the oven and disposal, so how many breakers make sense now?
If I was really worried about the fridge I would put it on the circuit
with the lights so you would know when it tripped.
The rule basically says the receptacles have to all be 20a, minimum 2,
only serving the kitchen, pantry breakfast room or dining room, except
a dedicated 15 can be used for the fridge. All others need to be 20s
I have 6, and my refrigerator is on the same circuit as some outlets, so I
probably need 7 to meet current code.
Also, my garbage disposal and dishwasher share a circuit, some would say
that is wrong; so 8.
When entertaining we have to move coffee pots into other rooms since we
don't have enough amps on the two outlet circuits, so 9.
More than 9 is probably excessive...
FWIW ... My smaller kitchen ... fridge 15A, microwave 15A, 2 additional
split outlets to serve both ends of the 8' counter (15A x 4). So that's
6 breakers plus the stove (40A x 2). And I'm in the process of gutting
a bigger room to relocate that kitchen. When I do, I'll require at
least one additional split outlet for the longer counter top surface.
According to code, You need (2) small appliance Countertop circuitts,
Refridgerator, micro, dishwasher garbage disposal Electric range/
cooktop need a two pole breaker, a trash compactor and general lighting
All should have thier own 12/ 2 awg 20 amp circuits
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.