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Old 06-22-2012, 10:02 AM   #1
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


Hello, I've been a long time lurker and finally made the jump to posting a question.

We are remodeling our kitchen and would like to have all the counter outlets turn on and off from a switch. (We are paranoid about leaving stuff plugged in when we are not around - this would save us from having to always plug stuff in.)

We have 2 circuits that feed the outlets, everything daisy chains from 2 GFCI outlets. The feed is 12-2 for both circuits. There are 6 outlets total, with every other outlet on a different circuit.

Ideally, for convenience, we'd like to have three-way circuit control everything. So we could have a switch at each end of the kitchen. However, I'm not sure if that is possible?


Here are my options I thought of:

1) A single double-pole-single-throw light switch. (No three-way circuit possible - unless I just haven't found the right switch?)

2) A three-way switch setup for each circuit. (The +1 has mentioned she does not want switch galore.)

3) Maybe have a standard three-way circuit control 2 relays. Do they make relays that can be wired into to code? I could wire them in the basement below, it's an exposed ceiling with all the circuits labeled. I'm in favor of this option the most, if it can be done.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks for any help!
Drew

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Old 06-22-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


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...would like to have all the counter outlets turn on and off from a switch. (We are paranoid about...
Anyone have any thoughts?
Yeah. Get past the paranoia.

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Old 06-22-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


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Yeah. Get past the paranoia.
That'll be hard for us, as we had a toaster oven turn itself on one night and melt the counter. Stupid computer chips in everything.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #4
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


Any switching scenario controlling a definite purpose contactor in the basement should do the trick.

You could use a 2-pole power relay in an enclosure to control both circuits at the same time. You would have to utilize a separate circuit for the control relay, to comply with the provisions of the Code that no other loads be imposed on the SABC's, however.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


I do something similar for electric baseboard heat in my basement. We seldom use the room but it needs baseboard heat when you do. The kids crank it up when they are down there but never think to set it back when they leave. As a result I can pump 1200+2400W into that space for a week at a time...

My solution was to put in a definitive purpose contactor at the panel. I bought a 3P (pole) one with 120V coil. I only use 2P and switch the two hot legs of the 240V going to the heaters. I drive the coils side with a 120V 12 hour countdown timer. The kids set it for 3-4 hours and after it counts down the contactor is switched off and off go the heaters. No surprise electric bills.

You could do something similar. Put the contactor at you panels and and it controlled from a switch in kitchen. Maybe put in a countdown switch. In morning fire it up for 8-10 hours and then by evening it will shut itself off.

We have this at my office for the commercial coffee maker so the carafes with a little coffee don't bake all night on the warmers. First person in turns on for 12 hours. By 6-7 PM the thing shuts itself off and no cracked or baked on coffee pots.
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:13 PM   #6
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


Awesome! Thanks for the recommendation!

I looked up Definite Purpose Contactors and saw that a 25 amp double pole would work for not too much money. It seems like the best way to go.

For the enclosure on something like this, will a regular oversized electrical box work? I saw most have screw terminals for the wire exposed. I was thinking it might be best to just mount it in an oversized junction box.


Thanks again!!
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


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You would have to utilize a separate circuit for the control relay, to comply with the provisions of the Code that no other loads be imposed on the SABC's, however.
Interesting point. I would argue that the switching load is not really any different from the internal circuitry load of a GFCI, or a lighted switch. It may technically be a load, but it's tiny and directly related to the function of the circuit. It's also better safety-wise for the contactor to be completely de-energized by one breaker (double pole, in this case) rather than two separate ones. But according to the letter of the code, you're right - it appears to require a separate circuit to control the contactor. Which is crazy.
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:01 PM   #8
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


Unplug the appliances when they aren't in use.
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:09 PM   #9
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Kitchen Electrical: one switch for multiple circuits


hey if you want to get really fancy get yourself a relay and an occupancy sensor so that when it senses movement in the kitchen the plugs will come on. On a side note you realize doing this is going to involve resetting a lot of timer clocks on appliances right?

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