Electrical Design: What to Consider when Remodeling Your Kitchen
Power the Kitchen of Your Dreams
Designing the kitchen of your dreams is an exciting project. From appliances to countertops to backsplashes, there are important decisions to make. One decision is electrical design that includes positioning sockets in the correct place and installing correct circuits for appliances.
Below we review important things to consider when remodeling your kitchen and tips for getting the most out of your kitchen's electrical system.
Make Sure You Have the Right Type and Number of Circuits and Outlets
Depending on the age of your home, remodeling your kitchen may involve upgrading your electrical circuits. Older homes may not have the electrical system needed for today's refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and other appliances nor the GFCI safety outlets. Working with our electrician will ensure that the correct circuits and outlets will be installed in your new kitchen.
Common circuits required for a modern kitchen include:
- Lighting circuit
- Refrigerator circuit
- Range circuit
- Dishwasher circuit
- Garbage disposal circuit
- Microwave circuit
- Small appliance circuits
Circuit Planning Tips
Installing the correct circuits will depend on the appliances you plan to install in your kitchen. For example, while your refrigerator will need its own dedicated circuit, some smaller appliances can share a circuit. Similarly, the lighting fixtures you plan to install and their wattage requirements will dictate how many lighting circuits you need.
Once you have a list of the electrical appliances and lighting you plan to install, we will work with you to map out where each item will be placed and the outlets needed. We will also ask about your current layout of utilities and circuits and any concerns or issues.
How Electrical Codes Affect Your Design
The U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is responsible for the National Electrical Code (NEC) and updates the NEC every three years. Our experienced, licensed electrician will ensure that that your remodeled kitchen adheres to local and federal electrical safety codes, as needed.
GFCI Outlet Code Requirements
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are a requirement in kitchens and bathrooms. However, there are other electrical code requirements associated with GFCI-protected outlets.
Some important GFCI-related requirements include:
- Two 20-amp, 120-volt circuits must be installed to supply power to GFCI-protected outlets in kitchen countertops and eating areas
- Countertop GFCI outlets must be placed no more than 48 inches apart to discourage people from stretching to plug in appliances
- Countertops that are 12 inches or wider are required to have a GFCI outlet installed
How the Age of Your Home May Impact Your Electrical Design
As mentioned, older homes may not have up-to-date wiring systems that are up to code. In some cases, older homes can be "grandfathered" in and you will not have to do a full update to your wiring and circuits. However, if you are doing a large-scale remodel or require building permits for your project, you will likely have to make updates..
Common reasons you may need to upgrade your kitchen wiring include:
- Building permits require an upgrade to make the kitchen code-compliant
- There aren't enough circuits in your current kitchen to accommodate your remodeling plans
- Your electrical panel needs to be upgraded and it makes sense to upgrade your kitchen wiring at the same time
- Your home still has cloth wiring (which can be a fire hazard)
Make Safety a Priority
The primary reason to upgrade your kitchen wiring is safety. Even if older home's systems are in decent shape and well-maintained, they may not have the same safety features or stability that modern systems have.
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) are critical in preventing electrical fires. Just as many older homes do not have GFCI outlets (designed to prevent shock injuries), they are also unlikely to have AFCI circuit breakers installed. With the increased electrical load of modern kitchens, you want to be sure you incorporate them into your home.
Are you starting a kitchen remodel? Contact Valley Heating Cooling, Electrical and Solar to get started on your electrical design. Our team of experts has worked on a wide range of remodeling and new construction projects and we are excited to help you bring your dream kitchen to life.