Electrical safety is the absolute focus when installing or replacing any type of electrical appliance in your kitchen. If you are looking at a new appliance, you have to make sure you adhere to local building codes and regulations as well as any instructions and requirements that came with the appliance itself.
Running New Electrical Cable
When replacing an existing light fixture or a switch, the update is simple and does not require consulting an electrician. When you run new electrical cable for new service, you need to work with a licensed electrician to assure it complies with all residential codes.
New electrical wiring should be installed when you are living in an older home, as the wiring may not meet current standards and support the electrical needs of a new appliance. Always take under consideration the local code requirements.
Standard requirement for a new refrigerator is a dedicated 20-amp circuit. Make sure that the refrigerator circuit is properly sized and rated for the intended use to prevent any issues or potential damage. In the past, smaller refrigerator units may have not had the 20-amp requirement, so if you are considering an upgrade, double check your current electrical circuit.
In general, a refrigerator itself does not require GFCI unless the outlet location is in a place where your local code requires AFCI protection.
The range circuit size will vary depending on the type of range being used in the kitchen. A gas range will require a smaller circuit than an electric one since it draws significantly less power. Typically, an electric range will require 240-volt, 50-amp circuit. If you are considering a kitchen remodel and opting for a gas range, it is still recommended to upgrade your range circuit as future homeowners may have a preference to opt for an electric range when thy upgrade the appliance.
If the cooktop and a wall over are separate units, the National Code generally allows both units to utilize the same circuit as long as the combined electrical load does not exceed the safe capacity of that circuit.
Typically microwave ovens plug into standard appliance outlets, but larger microwave ovens can draw as much as 1500 watts, and these need their own dedicated circuits. Microwaves above your oven typically require a 20 amp/240-volt circuit breaker.
When purchasing a microwave oven make sure that the power requirement does not exceed the previous model. Consult your local electrician if an upgrade is required for a larger microwave oven.
Above your counter you will need two dedicated 20-amp circuits to cover the needs for small appliance loads. From griddles to pressure cookers, coffee pots and blenders if you don’t want to run into any future issues with tripping breakers, make sure there is enough power supply above your counter. These receptacles should always be GFCI protected.
If at any point you are not certain that your power supply in the kitchen is adequate, it’s best to consult your local electrician to avoid any future circuit overloads or damaging your new appliances.