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darlingm 12-31-2011 03:23 AM

Kitchen circuit re-design - Existing is a mess
I've been getting a little confused reading through NEC 210.52, dwelling unit receptacle outlets, specifically on the kitchen.

Attached below is a diagram of my main floor circuits. The lighting circuits aren't included on the diagram, those are all separate now (two circuits, alternating pattern in case one trips.)

My panel is full (20 breaker box), but I know I need to make some more room. Luckily one is for the pool which was taken out before we got the house. I can make some other room by combining a few dedicated circuit outlets in the basement that don't need to be dedicated with what we do down there.

Just want to make sure I get this right.

So, there are six circuits in my kitchen:
#2 - 15A, 14 AWG - OMG what idiots. Microwave is on the same circuit as the family room AND garage. Microwave is marked to run 14-15A, LOL. Even though it's a 15A circuit, microwave is plugged into the only 20A outlet in the house. (Microwave does use a 15A plug.)
#4 - 20A, 12 AWG - Two 15A duplex outlets. We never use these. One is underneath the windows, and the other is behind a desk + hutch.
#6 - 20A, 12 AWG - Two 15A duplex outlets. One outlet runs the igniter on the gas stove, and the other runs the fridge (marked to run 4.5A)
#11 - 15A, 14 AWG - OMG what idiots. Garbage disposal is on the same cirucit as two and a half bedrooms, including my computer. Explains why my two monitors just died. Disposal is marked to run at 8.1A.
#13 - 15A, 14 AWG - One 15A duplex outlet. We have a small nightlight and a toaster oven plugged in.
#17 - 20A, 12 AWG - Dedicated outlet for dishwasher.

I know I need to run a dedicated 20A circuit using 12 AWG to the microwave.

I know I need to get the garbage disposal onto its own circuit

So, my questions:

Question 1 - Since the oven is gas, and only needs electricity for igniting the gas, is it OK that it's on the same circuit as the fridge? It's a 20A circuit, fridge is marked for only 4.5A.

Question 2 - Code requires at least 2 20A small appliance circuits. I'm getting confused about that term. Anyways, are circuits 4 and 13 my small appliance circuits? If so, I have a problem with a 15A circuit powering a sole 15A outlet, right? Either way, I need to run 12/2 and replace breaker with 20A, right? Then, I need to either replace single duplex outlet with a 20A version, or put another 15A duplex outlet somewhere else?

Question 3 - Is it OK for the garbage disposal to be on a 15A circuit, since it's marked as being 8.1A? Or is this required by code to be a 20A circuit?

Question 4 - So, I have one free breaker right now. I think I need to add a dedicated microwave circuit, and a dedicated garbage disposal circuit. That'll put six circuits in the kitchen alone. Is there any way that I can combine any of this, or do I need six? I need to squeeze out another circuit to put the garage & new outdoor outlets, and another circuit to actually make the bathrooms on their own circuit.

Question 5 - Related to question 4. Is circuit 4 needed to count as my second small appliance circuit, or do any of the others count for that? I'd love to free up circuit 4, and put those outlets on an existing circuit.

I'm really seeing the value of having a new home, AND getting to go in there while it's being built!!!

Jim Port 12-31-2011 08:23 AM

Stop worrying so much about breaker space. As long as you are not adding new loads you can add a subpanel. You are already seeing what happens when someone scrimps.

The small appliance branch circuits can power the receptacle circuits in the kitchen, dining and pantry areas. The gas igniter can be on one of these circuits.

You do not need 20 amp receptacles unless there is only one place to plug into that circuit. A standard duplex is two places.

darren 12-31-2011 09:09 AM


Originally Posted by darlingm (Post 808010)
#11 - 15A, 14 AWG - OMG what idiots. Garbage disposal is on the same cirucit as two and a half bedrooms, including my computer. Explains why my two monitors just died. Disposal is marked to run at 8.1A.

Just curious on how this made your monitors die.

gregzoll 12-31-2011 11:39 AM

Depending on the age of the home, it would not surprise me that it was wired that way. Originally my home had four circuits, in which they divided the house up in four quadrants. So again, do not over think, and if you are bringing the home up to current code, that means AFCI on all circuits that are required to have them, and gfci on the same. Min. 2 SABC circuits, mine has 4, including a lighting and circuit for the disposal. Bath has one SABC for the two outlets, lighting is hooked into the circuit for the two bedrooms, linen closet light, hall light.

My Living room has the lighting for the overhead in it, the entry and exterior light on that circuit. It is up to you how you do it, but keep in mind the amount of work involved, if you do not have a basement or crawl, let alone are not taking any walls down.

darlingm 12-31-2011 10:32 PM

Everyone - How many small appliance circuits does my kitchen have right now? I know circuit 13 is one, but needs to be upgraded to 20A to be code compliant. I don't think circuit 6 counts as one, since it's running the fridge and gas igniter -- or does this still count as a SABS? The counter is just by the microwave, oven, dishwasher, and fridge in the diagram. Does my circuit 4 count as a SABS even though it's on the other side of the room, on the other side of the kitchen table? There's only three outlets around the counter -- and one is for the oven and another for the fridge, so I'm not sure those count.

Jim Port - Thanks. Good suggestion, I think that's the right way to go.

darren - I think it made them die because I was too cheap to replace my computer's battery backup when its battery died, so my computer and monitors are plugged straight into the outlet. I'm definitely not a pro, so I could be misunderstanding something. However, my understanding is that low voltage and low current is just as harmful to sensitive electronics as high voltage and high current. Whenever my wife would turn on the garbage disposal, my monitors flickered. It worried me, but I never imagined they were on the same circuit, being all the way at the other end of the house. I'm definitely new to electrical. I assume if it was on a separate breaker, the electrical signal would be cleaner or less affected.

gregzoll - Thanks for your reply. I luckily have a basement, and an uninsulated attic at the moment (removed the 1-2" thick insulation that was there so I could air seal), so that reduces some of the work I'll need to do.

gregzoll 12-31-2011 10:45 PM

Lets break it down room by room. You have a floor plan, number the rooms, and use either GoogleDoc's, Openoffice, or if you have MS Office, put the circuits that feed that room # into a spreadsheet. From there, you can create a table to help determine how to break them down further. I have kept my house as simple as my madness is, but due to still in the midst of a remodel, I have probably moved circuits in the panel around at least four times, before I even got to the Kitchen remodel that I am in the middle. Last weekend I actually straightened out the wiring from the bath for lighting, due to I had it on a separate breaker and need that slot for the Kitchen, so yeah, it gets a little hectic doing wiring mod's.

If anything, take the Kitchen, Dining, Pantry and enlarge them to help you draw out the circuits. I have two sets of counter tops, and have a portable dishwasher next to my sink, so it is 36" of counter to the right. I ended up with one SABC to the right of the Sink, another for the mic, then another on the other side of the room to feed the outlet to the left of the stove, the igniter for the gas stove, and the outlet to the right on that counter. Originally I was going to go with only two for counters, and one for outlets in the dining, but wife changed that due to layout change on the stove side of the kitchen.

I do have the lighting on its own circuit breaker for dining and Kitchen, due to wife still wants to add a couple more lights, and plus it gives me breathing room on that change. I think that my total daily load at any time hits around 46 amps, especially on laundry days, so I have plenty of breathing room on a 100 amp service.

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