kitchen remodel

analogmusicmanJanuary 17, 2014

we're in the very early stages of our kitchen remodel and it's become painfully evident that I've got some major rewiring to do. besides the fact that none of the outlets are GFCI protected,there are several appliances that should have their own circuit and don't .(like the microwave which trips a breaker when an electric heater is turned on) so,I'm going to have to run something like 5 new 20A circuits. unfortunately,my panel (upgraded to 150A a couple years ago) has no free slots for any new breakers. my solution is to add a "sub-panel" devoted to the kitchen circuits. this panel will be fed from the 50A duplex breaker that used to feed the electric range but now will be unused since our new range will be gas. does a 50A feed to my subpanel sound ok? the new panel will be a GE 125A panel I saw at HD for about $25. is GE an ok brand or should I stick with square D like the main panel? I guess I'm lucky in a way since my main panel is directly below the kitchen.


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Ron Natalie

It sounds OK at it's face. You need to pour over the installation instructions for the exact appliances, but if there are no electric cooking devices, 50A is plenty.

There's nothing wrong with GE panels. I have several in one of my houses. While Square D QO is sort of the commercial standard, they actually do have some other issues (I have QO in two of my houses and GE in the other).

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:28PM
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I had a similar dilemma with a small 12/24 sub-panel feeding kitchen + living areas. Instead of adding yet another sub-panel, I just upgraded to a 30/40 box... my kitchen alone has 12 separate circuits.

If necessary, you can change the breakers in the main panel that feed your proposed sub--give it more than 50amp if necessary. (Fridge + disposer + washwer + mWave + toaster TOGETHER will be only about 25-30amp peak given that you have 2 poles.)

Cheers, Shawn

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Ron Natalie

Sizing feeders is not done by just adding the breakers in the sub panel together.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:41PM
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OldBiker650 said: "my kitchen alone has 12 separate circuits"

Overkill I'd say.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Ron Natalie

Not really. I've got the two small appliance circuits mostly feeding the countertops. Dedicated circuits for:

1. Range
2. Microwave
3. Builtin expresso Machine
4. Dishwasher
5. Beverage center
6. Garbage Disposal
7. Trash compactor
8. Refrigerator
9. Vent hood.

plus the lighting.

That's twelve right there.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Add up what you might be running at the same time and then decide if 50A us sufficient:

Dishwasher 10A (13A if using heat to dry)
Microwave 10A
coffee maker 13A
toaster or toaster oven 13A

50A panel gives your 80 amps continuous at 120V. That seems like enough. Since you have no free slots now, make sure that the new panel will have a few open slots for future use. On the other hand, it is so close to the main panel, why not put in a 100A panel and be done forever? It won't cost much for a larger panel or the cable or wires.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 7:14PM
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question: can the dishwasher and disposal share a circuit? I've heard they can,just wondering if "code" specifies diffent circuits for each.
also, is the "2 minimum 20A counter circuit" rule "cast in concrete"? I'm going to have just a handfull of outlets on the counter and 1 circuit appears to be enough.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:18PM
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Ron Natalie

The code doesn't specifically require separate circuits, though if the manufacturer's instructions for the dishwasher says it requires a dedicated circuit, it is required by code. If it only recommends a dedicated circuit, then you can make the decision if it would be prudent to share it with the disposal or not.

There is no "2 minimum 20A counter circuit" rule in concrete or otherwise. The rule is that the all (with slight exception) kitchen receptacle outlets need to be served by (at least) 2 20A "small appliance" circuits which have no other outlets (like lighting or rooms outside the kitchen area. The code includes pantries and dining rooms in the kitchen).

That is set in concrete.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:21AM
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ok,I think I got it. now,onto something else. (but still having to do with the remodel)
I plan to put "electric radiant heat" under the engineered hardwood floor.(179.1 sq, ft.) I've talked to the flooring people and they say they use "warmly yours" for that type of heating. (anyone have experience with those products?) I called them and they tell me that it needs a 20A 240V circuit for that area, so I'll run one to one of the walls where I think I want the thermostat.(which I'll wire myself like all the other wiring) my question is whether "code" specifies anything special when it comes to electric subfloor heat. I'm particularly concerned about conduit shown on their drawings.
another question (though minor) is about "staples" and if the code is that concerned about "romex" having any staples at all with a remodel.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Ron Natalie

The code doesn't say anything specific about floor heat. If the manufacturer requires conduit, then you have to use it, but if this is the mat stuff that just gets glued down, I've never seen that installed with conduit. The only time I've seen stub pieces of conduit is to run the wires into stuff that's embeded in concrete or gypcrete

If you are installing the wiring to the framing you need to attach it within a foot of the box and every 4'. If you're fishing into existing walls, you're not required to staple anything (which would be very difficult anyway).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:59PM
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now onto a slightly different subject:
I've been looking at some different ways of doing "undercabinet lighting" for my new kitchen. it looks like (right now anyway :-) I'll be going with "dimmable" LED lighting, which will necessitate installing a dimmable power supply in one of the cabinets and a dimmer switch on the wall. (by the way,why do they call those dimmer switches "low voltage" when they switch 110 VAC ?) I've read where since the supply will be exposed on the shelf of the cabinet,you should use armored cable to carry the ac to it. my question is how should I cut the armor? both HD and Lowes sell BX cutters and the lowest price is about $32. I don't want to pay that for something I'll never use again. any ideas? hacksaw?


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Ron Natalie

They call them because they can dim the power supply for the low voltage lights (i.e., non-incandescent loads).

I don't know what you are reading, but by and large in most of the US, there's no need for armored cable.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:32PM
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You can do it with a hacksaw. Take your time. Good blade. Clamp it down to help hold it steady. Watch for sharp edges and use some tin snips or wire cutter to trim back the sharp edges.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 6:32PM
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    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:59PM
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