Swapping GFCI for a regular appliance outlet

ozzyosmondApril 15, 2012

I am installing a drawer microwave in our kitchen island and there are 2 outlets that need to be removed and replaced with a single outlet inside the cabinet. The first outlet is a GFCI and it feeds a 2nd outlet. I need to take both of these out and put a single outlet inside the cabinetry at the upper left corner behind the microwave. I have done simple wiring jobs in the past (lighting and replacing outlets), but I don't know how a GFCI's wiring differs from a standard outlet. I am quite sure I don't want to have a GFCI outlet trip inside the cabinet and have to pull out the microwave to reset it! What considerations do I need to make?

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Ron Natalie

You are not allowed to do that. The island is required to have a receptacle that serves the countertop and that one must be GFCI. You can add an additional receptacle inside the cabinet for the microwave, but you must leave the others. The microwave doesn't require a GFCI so if you can pick up the circuit before the GFCI that's fine. The existing GFCI would still be accessible (not behind the microwave) even if you were to connect the microwave on the protected side.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:14AM
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There is an outlet against the wall that is on the other end of the island. Couldn't I make that a GFCI? Otherwise I would have to mount one inside a cabinet as there will be no aesthetically pleasing place otherwise.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:43PM
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Ron Natalie

Provided there's no cooktop or sink, an island (or a peninsula which it seems that you have) only requires a single receptacle. The receptacle must be GFCI protected (and should be already, remember that a GFCI CAN protect downstream receptacles).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:15PM
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You could replace the GFCI receptacles with regular ones, and then put a GFCI breaker in the breaker box to protect the whole circuit. This would be a way to have ready access if it trips.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:22AM
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"There is an outlet against the wall that is on the other end of the island."

Islands are not against walls.

An outlet not ON the island itself does not meet the requirements.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:23AM
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In our case you can enter the kitchen through passages on either side of the island and there is a wall just wider than the "island" at one end. So I guess technically it is a peninsula but it's more like an island with a wall on one end!?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:20PM
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The NEC requires 2 small appliance ciruits, but even with that requirement, I prefer to specify a dedicated circuit for any microwave or high wattage heating appliance like an instant hot water. Microwaves draw a lot of amps, and even a 20 amp appliance circuit can trip the breaker if you're running the microwave and maybe a crockpot or rice cooker, etc. If you aren't confident enough to run wire from the box, then call an electrician to do it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 6:28PM
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