Kitchen/Breakfast/Baking Room Wiring Recommendations Requested

stie9790February 27, 2012


We're going to be starting our Kitchen/Breakfast Room/Pantry renovation in about a month. The electrical panel will be installed professionally, but the wiring will be done by yours truly.

My current kitchen design plan is below for reference. Rather than me putting my best guess for types and #'s of circuits required by code (I have plenty of guesses), I'd rather just have you guys tell me what I need. I'm assuming all lighting (Pendants, recessed, Ceiling, Undercab) would all be on the same circuit. Another tricky issue is the two dishwashers, can they be on the same circuit?

This reno will all happen together, but every source I've found usually only addresses the kitchen, not a kitchen + pantry + breakfast room (Can they all be considered 1 room?) Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

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Ron Natalie

The code requires at least 2 20A circuits serving receptacles in the kitchen and related areas and nothing else. You'd need at least those and a circuit for lighting.

If your range is electric, it will obviously need its own circuit (check the manufacturer's recommendations). If it's gas, it still likely needs electric these days for ignition and control circuits. While it's technically legal to put those on the appliance circuits, I'd run a dedicated line. I'd at least put the wiring in for a future electric range even if you're using gas now.

You need to get out the manuals for the dishwashers and other fixed appliances and see what they require or recommend for power. You'll need some sort of disconnect for these. Usually I put a receptacle for the dishwasher under the sink so you can just use the plug for the disconnect. You'll also need power under the sink for the disposer. I'd use dedicated circuits for that even if it's not a strict requirement.

You'll need receptacles on all the counterspace such that no point along the wall is more than 2' from a receptacle. That includes the little counter to the right of the stove (looks to be bigger than 12") and I suspect the thing that you are calling a bar would be considered countertop as well.

I'd run a dedicated circuit for the fridge.

There doesn't appear to be any wall space in the kitchen proper that doesn't have a countertop (other than the fridge) so no additional outlets are strictly required, but I'd be inclined to put one on the wall between the scullery and the basement stairs (facing the stairs) just to make a nice place to plug in a vacuum cleaner or floor buffer.

You'll need GFCI protection for the countertop receptacles. I don't know how old the house is you are renovating this kitchen, but make sure that the new kitchen receptacle circuits are NOT shared with whatever is feeding the bathroom receptacle (and even if it doesn't have it now, you should make sure it has GFCI protection in there as well).

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:56AM
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Hi Ron,

If I'm reading your post correctly, do you mean that the breakfast room and the pantry/baking area outlets and lights can all be served off the circuits required for the main kitchen area? In essence, for all three "rooms" combined, I'm thinking I need:

2 x 20A Receptacles, serving all 3 Rooms (w/GFCI protection in Kitchen/Pantry only)
1 x 40A Electric Oven (most likely)
1 x 20A Refrigerator
1 x 20A Dishwashers (assuming they can both fit on 20A)
1 x 20A Range Hood (15A?)
1 x 15A Lighting / Switches serving all 3 rooms

Also, for a recent bathroom remodel, the inspector said that code requires that at least 1 light fixture has to be on a different circuit so that the room is not completely dark ever... Have you heard of this? Would this apply to these 3 rooms as well? I thought it was dumb at the time, and the electrician I was consulting said that it was an older requirement that nobody does anymore.

Also, should I just run 12/2 for all 15A & 20A circuits? I thought I read that many of the current things requiring 15A may eventually require 20A... This way the wiring will always be in place, is this a waste of money?

Lastly, for GFCI protection, I was planning on running each of the two 20A circuits through a single GFCI receptacle (once I'm out of the breakfast area) and then using it as a pass-thru (?) to provide protection to the other outlets in the kitchen/pantry areas? Does this meet code?

Sorry for the long list of questions, I'm trying to save a little bit of money here, can you tell!?!?? I have no problem running the wires and making the connections and figuring the circuits, it's more the code requirements that I find a little confusing.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 4:54PM
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ISTM that the AHJ could decide you have two kitchens and require you to have two 20 amp GFCI circuits for convenience outlets in the kitchen, and two more in the baking room, spaced as mentioned above. I'd wire it that way.
The Breakfast Room/Sunroom is separate and cannot share the kitchen appliance circuits.
Using 14/2 instead of 12/2 doesn't save that much in material costs, unless the added length requires an additional coil of 12/2, but 14/2 is easier to work with due to not being as stiff.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:47PM
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OK, so based on Randy's input, for the 3 "rooms", I'll need the following?

2 x 20A Receptacles for Kitchen (w/GFCI protection)
2 x 20A Receptacles for Baking Room (w/GFCI protection)
1 x 20A Receptacles for Breakfast Room
1 x 40A Electric Oven
1 x 20A Refrigerator
1 x 20A Dishwashers (assuming they can both fit on 20A)
1 x 20A Range Hood (15A?)
1 x 15A Lighting / Switches serving all 3 rooms

Does everybody agree with this setup? I added the range hood on its own circuit, does that make sense?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I would upgrade the range to 50 amps for future flexibility. (My current range is 50 amps.)

I think you'll need more than one receptacle in the Breakfast room due to its size. 15A is enough, but if you want to run 12/2 thats ok. Just use a 15a breaker and receptacle.

I would keep the DWs separate. No use having to turn both off while working on one, or having one kill the other.

I don't think I would want to combine all the lights together. It might depend on how many of what-sized lights and if ceiling fans are in the mix.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Ron Natalie

50A would be a good idea, the newer induction ones require the larger circuits typically.

I don't agree with Randy. You should legally be able to get away with ONLY two receptacle circuits for the kitchen and the related areas. The Code handbook even shows this as an example. Of course, it never hurts to add more.

You want disconnects for the dishwashers other than the breakers. Most dishwashers are spec'd for pretty much their own circuit although some will allow them to share a 20A circuit with the adjacent disposer.

You must use one of the two or more 20A circuits for the breakfast room receptacles. It can NOT be a 15A or general purpose circuit (I left it out of the original list because I thought that room was being left unmodified).

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Thanks for all the input so far. The 50A tip for the range is a good one. This may be a lame question, but I assume I can put in a 50A circuit even though the range only requires 40A, it wont "hurt" it?
Can you explain the disconnect terminology? Based on my reading it seems using a dishwasher cord plugged into a receptacle under the counter is a disconnect... I guess im just unclear on what a disconnect is and why it is necessary. If you could clarify, that would help me. Im a visual person, so I think ill make a diagram of circuits and have you guys comment on that... Probably more helpful than a list at this point...

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Ron Natalie

You can always put in the bigger wire and a 40A breaker if the unit requires 40A specifically. Otherwise, it's not going to make any difference if a 50A breaker is used.

Correct, the simplest of disconnects is a plug in some convenient and accessible place (like under the adjacent sink). If the dishwasher is hard wired, a switch to disconnect it in that same sink cabinet is not uncommon.

Any equipment really ought to have a way to disconnect the power that is in sight of the person working on it. That's usually not going to be the breaker unless your panel is in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Why do you have a baking room without an oven? There are a few other problems with your layout that you should correct before finalizing any wiring or plumbing or cabinet orders as well.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Hi Live Wire - welllll... it's not completely a baking room. It's a baking room in the sense that the prep and mixing of all baked goods will occur in that room. It's also a food storage pantry and a scullery (clean up room), so in general, it's a big jumble of functions. I do appreciate the heads up though.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:09AM
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OK, below is the quick bubble diagram I came up with for these three rooms. My hope is that you wonderful people can comment on it in regards to which circuits may or may not be shared by these 3 rooms. So far, the only overlap I have on it is between the kitchen and the sculler/baking room lighting. Have a look and let me know what you think: Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 7:25AM
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Live wire - I forgot to ask, but what other issues do you see with the layout? I had already posted in the kitchens forum, and while there were mixed reviews, people mostly agreed this was good for my family. I think calling it a "baking room" is probably a stretch... The link to my long previous post re: layout is below

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous Kitchen Layout Post

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Ron Natalie

I don't know what the comment "both fit on one" means on the kitchen dishwasher. Do you have multiple dishwashers there (I don't see it, unless you've got something like the Fisher Paykel dish drawers which is OK because the thing is designed to run on a single 20A circuit, it only has one plug for the pair. By the way between issues I've had and my sister has had in her house, I'd strongly recommend staying far away from Fisher Paykel).

Other than that I can't see anything wrong with the current plans. You've got way more circuits than the code requires (not that it is a bad thing).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:37AM
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From previous posts, the 'both fit on one' comment means that they plan on putting the dishwasher in the kitchen and the dishwasher in the scullery on one 20A circuit.

To cut back on circuits (if you want) all of the lighting could go on one circuit. It's only 3 rooms worth.

And I'd say the biggest question is whether the scullery:
(1) could be considered part of the kitchen and could therefore share the 2x20A receptacle circuits required in a kitchen, or
(2) whether it would be considered it's own independent kitchen with it's own 2x20A circuits or
(3) whether it would be considered something else that didn't require as many independent circuits.
Having 2x20A circuits in that room seems overkill to me but I don't know what the code requirements are.

But it's always better to err on the side of too many circuits than too few.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Hi Greg, yes, you're right regarding the dishwashers. Originally I was hoping on putting them both on the same 20A circuit, but based on advice here, it probably makes more sense to just put each on a dedicated circuit (so the diagram has a typo). Do you guys think these Dishwasher circuits could be 15A?

Also, who or what would determine what the scullery room is by code? Is there somebody I could meet with beforehand somehow to discuss the requirements? Maybe the local electrical inspector would do a walk through with me - do they do that for homeowners and DIY projects?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 5:05PM
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What about a microwave circuit in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Ron Natalie

It is clear that the two circuit requirement is aggregate across any kitchen, dining, pantry, breakfast areas. You can get buy two two small appliance circuits previously, but I do not fault you for the design you have.

You should pull the manufacturer info for the units you have to see what is required/recomended.

If you're going to have one of the bigger microwaves you might need to give it it's own circuit. I've got an Advantium and it requires a dedicated 220 recap.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Just to give you an idea, my kitchen has two circuits. But due to the layout, the coffee maker, countertop microwave/convection oven and an electric skillet are on one circuit. This means I cannot make coffee while frying bacon and making biscuits. I can only do one at a time since any two will exceed the 20amp limit.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Hi Guys,

One of the electricians I just had come in to quote me on the panel upgrade (from 100A to 200A) recommended that I consider putting in a subpanel for the renovation of these three rooms. He said it would make "the switchover" from new wiring to old much easier. What do you think of this? I tend to think it's just added cost, but it would certainly minimize all the "homerun" wiring back to the main panel since it's on the other side of the house. Just curious what your thoughts are...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Ron Natalie

It might not be a bad idea. Depends on where the main panel is and how much effort it is to get there. The only real downside is you will have to size this sub panel pretty large, the kitchen is one of the largest electrical loads in the house.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:15AM
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Where would the subpanel be placed?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Ron Natalie

That would be a good question. Looking at the plan again there aren't a whole lot of options. The wall opposite the basement stairs or the mudroom are the only real options.
Frankly given where the basement stairs are, I can't imagine it's going to be that hard to run to the new panel (if you're upgrading the serivce I assume you're also getting a new main panel) if it's in the basement somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Yeah, the location is a good question. There really isn't anywhere I'd want to put it IN the kitchen, so if anything, I guess it'd go under the main kitchen area somewhere in the basement on the north foundation wall (top of the plan). That location would probably be 40 feet from the main panel.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:14PM
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