Subpanel for Kitchen Reno, or squeeze by?

Angie_DIYJune 23, 2011


Allow me to introduce myself -- I usually post on the Kitchen Forum. I am in the early stages of a complete kitchen renovation that I am doing mostly myself, but I have hired an electrician for the wiring. (I found a friendly one who is letting me help while his usual partner is on another job.) My question regards whether or not to put in a subpanel.

I have 7 free breakers, but I really wanted 8 branches. Here are the branches that I want:

(2) 20A small appliance

(1) 20A Dishwasher

(1) 15A (or 20?) microwave (dedicated)

(1) 15A garbage disposal (dedicated)

(1) 20A radiant floor heat

(1) 15A refrigerator (dedicated)

(1) 15A general lighting.

(I assume this seems right?)

I have two options, of course: put in a subpanel or find a way to consolidate two branches. (My CH22CCM100 box is evidently not rated for tandem breakers.) I am aware that I can put the fridge on a small appliance branch (under an exception to 210.52(B)(1) ), but I do not want to do that. I'd rather put in the subpanel. I also want the MW on a dedicated branch. My electrician and I couldn't readily identify two other branches in the house to join.

However, he had an idea that hadn't occurred to me. The current kitchen light is on a 15A branch circuit that has only a few other lights and receptacles on it. This branch supplies the dining room light, a nearby powder room, a receptacle in the dining room, and a switched receptacle in the basement. During the reno, we would be adding another ceiling fixture, over-sink fixture, and under-cabinet lights. His opinion was that, at least load-wise, this branch could adequately handle the kitchen lighting. (FWIW, this branch used to supply the fridge, too, and has never blown a breaker or anything. Of course, we will remove the fridge receptacle in the final setup.)

Sooooo, would you use a subpanel or not? As it is, I am so close to the required number of breakers! OTOH, I like the idea of a "clean install." I also worry about filling up the load center; although I don't have any plans to add more branches to my modest house, I suppose you never know.

Thanks for any thoughts!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ron Natalie

The other option is to install a bigger main panel.
You can just get a longer Type CH panel.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Ronnatalie. I must admit that I hadn't thought of that. However, wouldn't that be a lot more work than adding a subpanel?
Thanks, Angie

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As long as you don't mind maxing out your panel, by that I mean not anticipating any future needs, I would put your lighting anf the fridge on the same circuit. Save a bunch of hassle.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As long as you don't mind maxing out your panel, by that I mean not anticipating any future needs, I would put your lighting anf the fridge on the same circuit. Save a bunch of hassle.
Can't do that... fridge has to be on small appliance circuit or a dedicated circuit.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, guys. For the record, I am *not* planning to put the fridge on either the gen. lighting or the SA branch. I am planning on a dedicated circuit for it. My question was about the wisdom of sharing the kitchen general lighting branch circuit with other non-kitchen lighting, and the wisdom of maxing out my load center.

This may not seem like it, but it is a related question. Can I put a dedicated clock outlet in the kitchen on the general lighting circuit that currently feeds the dining room (and may feed the kitchen)? My reading of the 2008 code is "yes." Forgive me if this is obvious, but I interpret 210.52(B)(1) as compelling the use of the SA branches for all receptacles that are required to exist by 210.52(A) and 210.52(C). A clock outlet is NOT compelled by either 210.52(A) or by 210.52(C). Ergo, the clock outlet is not required to be supplied by the SA branch.
210.52(B)(2) Exception 1, of course, grants us the right to supply a clock outlet from one of the SA branches. But it is not *required* to be so fed. Does this all sound right to you?

(The reason I am asking is that I am opening up the doorway between dining room and kitchen. To do so, I need to move the switch for the DR light. This is fed by 80-yr-old BX cable, and there may not be enough slack to move the switch by the 1 foot I want to move it. It would be a real, real bother to run a new line from the switch to the fixture. Hence, I am thinking of putting in a clock outlet high on that wall just to give me a place to do the junction. Any comments on this plan?)

THANKS, guys!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 3:15PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Confused & need help please
I know just about zero when it comes to electricity....
Want to save shower recessed light
I have 2 matching recessed lights in my bathroom. One...
1 of 2 security light bulbs keep going out, do i need a new light?
I have a security light fixture in my carport that...
Swimming pool wiring
I have 2 gfci circuits operating two pool pumps. Is...
Can I electrify battery-operated lights?
Hi all. Is there a way to electrify a battery operated...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™