Kitchens are the busiest and the most active room in the house consuming a huge percentage of electricity in the average household. It’s no coincidence that the kitchen also requires the most load for the number of electrical and kitchen appliances essential for everyday chores. 

At Just Wood, we know that according to the National Electrical Code, electronic devices need to use multiple circuits because of the various risks associated with error and not using the right electrical items in building it. A more strict definition by the Building Code states that larger appliances need to use a single and independent circuit that powers one unit alone.

The average cooking station features up to a dozen of appliances, which implies the need of 6 or more electrical circuits installed. The difference from power used in your regular bedroom or living rooms is immense! You could use a single circuit to power all lights in a room like that, but you can’t do the same for the kitchen.

Why is the proper electrical foundation so important? Well, you wouldn’t want things going on fire, would you?

Heavy consumption may sound hard to believe, but do you know how much does the refrigerator, mixer, microwave oven, coffee machine, etc. drains?

We must make sure that the electrical appliances are in the right position while planning what, how, and where you place them.

It’s important to note that NEX (National Electrical Code) is a fundament rather than a law and communities across the countries often define their own set of rules.

Electrical Code for Kitchens

The kitchen wiring is subject to local code requirements, unlike other wiring in the home. Electrical code rules include all characteristics of wiring installations, from the wires and breakers and wires used to switches and outlets’ locations.

Different circuits demand different requirements, but one set of code rules about GFCI and AFCI protection apply to most wiring in the kitchen.

Wiring of Old Builds

Power consumption per kitchen device has grown by many times during the last few decades. That’s why it’s a common sight to come across systems that are heavily undersized for the demand of today.

While in some cases of minor remodels, you could get away with the parent-child approach, for new builds that come with building permits, you will have to stand up to standards.

Circuits of New or Refurbished Kitchen

In the process of erecting a new building or thorough remodeling, the Building Code will bound you to put both wiring and piping up to today’s must-do’s.

Wiring for Kitchen Lights:

When planning lighting fixtures, we always recommended providing a uniform lighting layout for adequate light coverage.

Cove lighting

Cove lighting mounts on top of wall cabinets and points upward, providing general lighting and creating a halo effect.

Area lighting

Area lighting focuses on a particular spot while throwing some light around. Pendant lights are also an excellent option for area lights when positioned over the dining table or kitchen counter.

Task lighting

Task lighting directs a beam of light at a focused work surface. Task lighting is key, as it has to be in front of the person without directly glaring into the eye.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting spotlights an object such as a wall hanging. Small lights inside a glass-door cabinet draw attention to a collection of fine china and crystal.

Wiring for outlets

Wiring for 240-Volt Appliances

Amongst electrical appliances, ovens or cooktops generally draw the most power in the kitchen and are hard-wired to the electrical circuit. Each one of these particular needs a dedicated 240-volt circuit rated for 30 to 60 amps.

Wiring for 120-Volt Appliances:

The outlets on the two small-appliance circuits are enough for all portable appliances like a toaster, oven, food processor.

Most of the built-in appliances use the standard 120 voltage, which cannot be plugged into the small appliance circuit and requires hard wiring.

A few kitchen appliances need a separate and dedicated circuit in the kitchen receptacle:

  • Dishwasher: Dishwashers must be GFCI protected and can be hard-wired or plugged into a receptacle. Some local codes demand that the dishwashers be supplied by dedicated 15- or 20-amp circuits.
  • Garbage disposer: Garbage Disposers are hard-wired to a wall switch with a 20 Amp circuit or plug into a switched GFCI-protected outlet below the kitchen sink
  • Refrigerator & freezer: Refrigerators are inevitably plugged into a receptacle and require a dedicated circuit sometimes.
  • Microwave: Portable microwaves have cords and can usually plug into a countertop outlet. Other times, they need a receptacle on a dedicated circuit depending on their wattage rating. Built-in microwaves may be plugged in or hard-wired. Over-the-range microwaves with vent fans usually require a dedicated circuit.
  • Vent fan: Hard-wired vent fans are typically bridged to the kitchen’s lighting circuits. If the fan unit has a cord, it must be plugged into a receptacle on a dedicated circuit.

According to kitchen professionals Maggie, using multiple appliances on the same outlet could potentially cause overloads that might damage gear beyond repair.

Electrical Circuits & Kitchens

The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the home, and the area must be well circuited and protected. The intricacy and complexity of the room doesn’t make a kitchen wiring plan hard to design. If you learn the basic rules and requirements for each type of circuit and outlet, you can make a complete list of what you need before you get started.