Small Appliance Circuits - How to Split the Receptacles?

Tom PultzNovember 13, 2009

For our kitchen / dining room / family room remodel I'll be rewiring the two small appliance circuits that originally fed the dining room and kitchen counter receptacles.

Two of the original receptacles on these circuits aren't really located in what I consider to be the dining room or kitchen, although I suppose that is subject to interpretation since they are located near where the old kitchen eating area was. With the new layout they'll really be more in the family room than kitchen.

Is it still OK to use these two receptacles as the starting point for the two small appliance circuits? I don't want to replace the wiring all the way back to the panel in the garage.

As envisioned, circuit #1 will feed three receptacles in the dining room, then two in the kitchen: one below the over the counter micro, and one to the left of the sink.

Circuit #2 will feed a 'hutch' with a receptacle in each of two 'appliance garages', another in the open space between these, and another to the right of the sink.

There will also be three receptacles on the island that contains the gas rangetop.

Which circuit would be best to supply these island receptacles? Circuit #2 will have a potentially shorter line length, but using circuit #1 would split the island and most of the countertop recepectles among two circuits.

As an aside, can I tap off the island circuit and install a receptacle in the cabinet for the gas rangetop ignitor, or does that have to be on its own circuit as Wolf recommends. Seems kind of silly for such a small load.

Thanks for the advice. The dining room, kitchen and family room will all be open to each other with no separating walls.

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What I would do: Run a new 3 wire Multi Wire circuit to the island, black, red and white w/ground. One line will make up your second dedicated small appliance circuit and the other line will power the Wolfe ignitor. Everybody is happy.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 5:22PM
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Tom Pultz

If I ran a new 3-wire circuit as you suggest, could I put all the kitchen countertop wall receptacles (6 total) on SA circuit #1 (makes sense from a which breaker controls which receptacle standpoint), make the 3 island receptacles SA circuit #2 and do as I wish with the dining room, or does the dining room also need to be considered a SA circuit?

The reason I ask is I'm installing a new outside receptacle next to the new French doors in the dining room and if the dining room can be considered to NOT be a SA circuit in this case, I could put a GFI in the last receptacle by the French doors, and feed the outside receptacle off the load terminals. This way the GFI would be easily accessible but out of the weather.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 6:09PM
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Essentially you are saying the use of an area has changed. So,the existing circuits can no longer be used to feed SA applications per NEC rules. But, I'm also not the guy drawing arbitrary lines on the floor dividing these areas

The NEC requires ALL receptacles in a dining room to be on small appliance circuits with some exceptions that don't apply here, although there can be more than the minimum of 2 circuits. None of these circuits can feed any receptacles outside the areas of a dining room, kitchen, or pantry. An outside receptacle wouldn't qualify to be on a SA circuit.

What you need to do is make sure the SA circuits feed only areas that would be considered dining room related or it could come back to bite you later in a house sale. Of course, so can doing the work without permits. And, the person inspecting the work could put eyeballs on the job and give a better opinion on placement of SA receptacles.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 5:38AM
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Tom Pultz

Here's a couple drawings of the layout of the kitchen and cabinets on the sink wall. All the walls between the kitchen and dining room have been removed and we'll have a large island as shown to define the outline of the dining room.

Please critique the recpt layout.

From lower left the layout is as follows:

1) Short wall, about 21 in wide. It currently has a recpt, but I think I may have to move this to a short perpendicular wall (not shown) that I've added to better define the dining room from the living room. That wall is about 27 in long, so technically it should have a recpt, correct?

2) Double opening French doors.

3) Another short wall, less than 2 ft, again currently with recpt. As in 1) do I need to move this to the longer perpendicular wall that defines the kitchen next to the built-in fridge? I'd rather not move it since the longer wall will be fully paneled in wood and has a heating duct running up through it so the space for a recpt is limited.

4) 24 in counter with OTC micro. Will have 1 recpt above countertop, plus dedicated 20A recpt for micro in cabinet; frig has dedicated 20A recpt.

5) Double ovens in corner.

6) Counter to left of sink. Has 1 receptacle in a 3-gang j-box. The receptacle is about 26 in from the edge of the sink. Do I have to move it to a separate box closer to the window to be within 24 in of sink?

7) Sink in front of bay window.

8) Countertop with dishwasher and waste pullout below. Currently has 1 recpt in 3-gang box, which is placed as close to the sink as possible due to vertical water and vent pipes to right of window. The recpt will be about 26 in or so from the edge of the sink.

9) Simulated hutch. The upper cabinets will sit on the counter and have storage for small appliances behind the two lower doors. Each area will have 1 recpt and there will be another recpt in the open area between them. This will be less than 4 ft from the recpt to the right of the sink, but more than 24 in from the right edge of the hutch.

Since recpts in 'appliance garages' do not count, does the one recpt between them need to be within 24 in of the end of the counter?

10) Large picture window with awning window below (not shown). There is no room for any recpt below or to the left of the window. There is 1 recpt to the right of the window and this is the start of SA #1 circuit.

11) The island will have recpts on either side of the rangetop in the 42 in high cabinets facing the dining room, and one in the right end of those cabinets. The curved island will have bar stools and is 36 in high. Is this sufficient or does the curved island area need another recpt in the cabinet at the lower end?

SA circuit #2 starts with a recpt to the left of the recessed pantry cabinet, continues around the dining room and currently also includes the recpts below the micro and to the left of the sink.

I'm thinking of moving the recpts below the micro and left of sink to SA #1 circuit so all countertop recpts along the walls are on the same breaker.

Since the recpts in the dining room will get very little, if any use I am thinking of adding the island recpts to this SA #2 circuit instead of running a separate circuit for the island.

Thanks for any insight.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 1:08PM
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"The NEC requires ALL receptacles in a dining room to be on small appliance circuits"

The practical impact of this is that they must be 20 amps, and can share the wall-counter circuit if you want.

They can also be on one or more separate 20 amp circuits.
No GFCI is required for them, just 20 amps.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 3:32PM
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