Kitchen Electrical Code: Everything You Need to Know

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Mark Jardine
April 16, 2024
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Kitchen remodeling is a difficult project. Numerous factors must be carefully taken into account. Along with choosing cabinets, countertops, sinks, lights, and appliances, you also need to consider the right wiring for an electrical supply in the kitchen.
You must adhere to the local code's standards because electrical rules are often modified. Electrical code is a flexible collection of guidelines focusing on safety that adapts to the ever-changing home. The National Electrical Code mandates that numerous circuits be in place because the kitchen has many appliances. In contrast to a bedroom, where one general-purpose lighting circuit is sufficient, a modern kitchen will require seven or eight circuits.

Electric Range Circuit

Requirement: Provide one 50-amp, 120/240-volt dedicated circuit wired with appropriately sized wire cable. This should not be GFCI.

Basic Lighting Circuit

Requirement: Provide at least one 15-amp, 120-volt circuit feeding a ceiling fixture, recessed lights, and under-cabinet lights. This cannot be on a GFCI circuit.

Dishwasher Circuit

Requirement: Provide one 15-amp, 120-volt dedicated circuit wired with 14/2 cable. NEC Code cycle 2017 now requires dishwashers installed on a GFCI circuit.

Garbage Disposal Circuit

Requirement: Provide one 15-amp, 120-volt dedicated circuit wired with 14/2 cable.

Microwave Circuit

Requirement: Provide one 20-amp, 120-volt dedicated circuit wired with 12/2 cable.

For Permanent or Large Appliances

A typical electric range requires a dedicated 240/250-volt, 50-amp circuit. So, you will need to install a 6/3 NM cable (or #6 THHN wire in a conduit) to feed the range. For the gas range, only a 120/125-volt receptacle will be required to power the range controls and vent hood.

For Small Appliances

Two 20-amp small appliance circuits that serve all countertop outlets and the majority of wall outlets must be included in every kitchen wiring plan, especially if they are also positioned in the dining room and pantry.

How many circuits are required in the kitchen?

The NEC mandates that the kitchen contain a minimum of two small appliance branch circuits for outlets that are 120 volts (120V) and 20 amps (20A). Since most of these outlets are located on the walls above the counters and are used often, they must be distributed fairly between the two circuits to prevent overloading. A minimum of one dedicated 120V, 15A lighting circuit is also required.

With regards to Kitchen Electrical Code

The National Electrical Code (NEC), adopted in whole or in part by your town, is developed and updated by the U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).