lighting on a small appliance circuit

neworder71March 1, 2011

After much reading I understand the current building code doesn't allow running under cabinet lighting off my small appliance circuit. What NEC code did that come in on? I'm guessing this was allowed at one time.

The reason I ask is my town only has updated their code to 2003 ICC/2002 NEC. And I can't find an online source to confirm if the small appliance circuit rules are the same for my town or not.

Amusingly, I found this on a fairly reputable site:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20217311,00.html

I have one counter run that isn't easy to get power to. It has a stair case on the other side, so no other circuit in the wall. Slab foundation...no basement. Second floor above...no attic.

Thanks

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brickeyee

"What NEC code did that come in on?"

The one that established the requirpemtn for the small appliance branch circuits supplying the kitchen ocunter-wall receptacles.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Ron Natalie

I don't know when it came into the code, but it was definitely before 2000. I've got the 2002 NEC here and the wording in ART. 210.52 is identical to the current code with this regard.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:20AM
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petey_racer

It's been in as long as I can remember, and that's well over 20 years. WHY does it matter at this point?

I will say (and this is RARE for me), one UC light on a SA circuit is not an end-of-the-world code violation.

Also, the "This Old House" site and show are FAR from "reputable". Far, FAR from it!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:06AM
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tom418

petey racer:

The same "unreliable" label should be applied to the TOH magazine.

A few years ago, they had an article about undercabinet lighting, where they said that a kitchen SA circuit could provide feed to the lights. The following month, they ran
a small note in their "Corrections" column, noting that what they had illustrated was in violation of NEC.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:36AM
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petey_racer

HAHAHA
The "Corrections" column should be required reading in that magazine!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:51AM
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neworder71

ronnatalie- thank you that is what I needed to know

petey racer- the point is not all code is the same from city to city. Even cities on the same version have different amendments. Yet code is spoken of a universal on most forums. I was hoping save myself some hassle, because I do go through the trouble of complying even for 1 UC light...I would NEVER hear the end from my wife if I messed something up :)

tom418- the link I included is that article! And they didn't correct the online version.

brickeyee- not useful info, I was trying to establish when the code came in

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:01AM
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normel

The small appliance circuits are designed to have something plugged into them that services or is used on the countertop. If you buy an undercounter light that has a plug-in cord, guess where you will plug it in? No code violation there (IMHO).

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:21AM
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neworder71

normel- true but after buying a house with fully custom cabinets, hammered copper sinks, granite and travertine a cord hanging down isn't on the agenda

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:14AM
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brickeyee

"brickeyee- not useful info, I was trying to establish when the code came in"

The AHJ for your jurisdiction wil lhave code and local changes going back from when they adopted each.

You want US to find you an exact date that may not apply depending on your location?

Try doing your own homework.

I have every NEC from the mid-1950s, and many years of local crap for a coule Virginia counties.

We finally got a uniform statewide building code passed about 10 years ago and ended all the local crap. NO sub-municipality can alter/change/ammend the statewide code.

Now the only variationis interpretation, and there are ways of dealing with that.

Virninia stil only adopts every other NEC revision, and often well ito the adoption year (June/July - I do not remember the exat date) since that is when ALL state code changes go into affect.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:10AM
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neworder71

brickeyee...I try doing my homework, I don't like posting in forums because I either get useless opinions or they don't bother to read the post and grasp the nuance.

As an average homeowner, I went to my city code website. I read all the amendment/change docs they had posted and I read about their adherence to the NEC. Did they tell about an AHJ?...no, did they tell me about statewide code?...no, does our annual adaption date matter?...no. So how, as an average homeowner, am I to find a problem solving path without that information?

I had one option, read NEC 2002, I tried that. Reread my post where I said I couldn't find an online source, I'm not buying access for 1 question.

A simple statement of "hey it was added well before 2002" is all I needed. Thanks...ronnatalie!

Did I ask about type of lights to buy?...no there is a ton of info out there that is easy to find
Did I ask you how to wire them in?...no there is a ton of info out there that is easy to find
Did I ask about mounting?...no there is a ton of info out there that is easy to find

I did all that research and was left with one simple question that a novice couldn't find on his own, which you didn't bother to answer but insisted on chiming in on. You may have well suggested I buy Square D like smithy seems to do for no point.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 11:49AM
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petey_racer

Neworder, if you don't want other opinions I suggest you stay away from online forums. Sorry, that's just the way it is. You are better off ignoring them than going on a rant. I know, I am one of the worst offenders of adding my opinion to threads.

Bottom line is a call to your local building office would have solved all this from the start.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:33PM
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neworder71

petey...I don't disagree. The rant wasn't directed at the forum, it was directed at implication that I don't research things. I wouldn't be here if I didn't research or didn't care about doing things right...like 97% of homeowners. I could have left that first line out and made the same point. I appreciate the advice I'm given.

However, being a novice my building office tends to blow you off and recommend you hire an electrician.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 3:35PM
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brickeyee

"Did they tell about an AHJ?..."

They ARE the AHJ...Authority Having Jurisdiction.

It is a common expression used since different localities use differnet names.

Building inspection, code inspection, etc.

Going to a web site is only going to cover NEW work, not OLD work.

You have to actually show up in person and ask them.

Not everything is on the net, specially old codes that are not in effect for new work.

NO NEC year has EVER allowed lighting on the small appliance branch circuit.
If you do not like that answer, go ask the AHJ if a local change allowed it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 9:00AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Brickeye, he didn't say he didn't like the answer!

He just didn't like being scolded.

(And not everyone knows what AHJ means--and it's not very helpful a term unless you know what authority DOES have jurisdiction)

To the OP: can you drop the wire behind or under the cabinetry instead of inside the wall?Unless they're frameless (and frankly, this will be true of most frameless) there's a small get behind the back wall of cabinet, and only the sides touch the wall. You can usu. drill a passage hole through the side wall behind the back of the cabinet without it being visible from the "good" side.
And you can sometimes carve a bit of a channel in the drywall behind there as well for the flexible conduit (if you can use that) to rest in..

(Of course you'll have to get behind the cabinets somehow . . .

And if all else fails, could mount a raceway against the back wall INSIDE the cabinets?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 12:30PM
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neworder71

talley sue nyc...yes you captured my point, I'm not fighting the man I just needed a clear understanding

Not sure I'm catching the purpose of doing behind the cabinet vs in the wall. I still need to get switched power to it.

All said, I think my solution will be ripping the baseboard out of the pantry and cutting out the drywall out to go across the studs. I can't go up, I can't go down...through is the only option I see. Messy but will get it on a switch AND be code compliant.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 4:38PM
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brickeyee

"ripping the baseboard out of the pantry and cutting out the drywall out to go across the studs"

Cords cannot be inside walls or concealed permanently by the building surface.

You CAN run them behind cabinets, as long as they are not inside the wall (between the back of the cabinet and the wall surface).

A common method of dealing with the problem is to put a receptacle inside the cabinet (not that the box can be recessed through the back of the cabinet and into the wall) on a separate circuit from the small appliance branch circuit and then plug under cabinet lights in.

If you recess the box so the plate is about flush with the inside back of the cabinet it does not take up much room in the cabinet.

"If you buy an undercounter [sic] light that has a plug-in cord, guess where you will plug it in? No code violation there (IMHO)."

If the under-cabinet light is fastened in place many AHJs will call it a violation.

Luckily they need a reason to enter and look.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:47PM
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neworder71

I have never said I'm going with a corded version. I'm going with a wired version. Somebody else brought that option up in the thread and I shot it down back on 3/2.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:33AM
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brickeyee

"I have never said I'm going with a corded version. I'm going with a wired version. Somebody else brought that option up in the thread and I shot it down back on 3/2."

It is not for you specifically, but for anyone who searches later and comes across this thread.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:56AM
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