Updating your New Kitchen
Review Electrical Requirements in your New Kitchen
Remodeling a kitchen can be fun and exciting, but it can also be frustrating, and costly. Don't make it more frustrating and costly than necessary by failing to examine your electrical needs.
When lighting or appliances are moved or require additional power, it's typical to have some electrical work done. However, even if you're just updating an existing kitchen with new cabinets, countertops, etc. you may be find yourself in need of some electrical work. Here is an example that I ran into recently with a kitchen remodel.
The house was in a nice neighborhood, and had a great floor plan that perfectly fit our needs. But it was an older house (approx. 30 years), so we had to completely gut and redo the inside. Even though we weren't adding any additional appliances, I had some concern that the power available in the kitchen might be insufficient. Specifically, I knew that the manufacturer of the microwave hood recommended a separate circuit, and I doubted that this kitchen was wired with a separate circuit for the microwave hood. Nevertheless, everything seemed to work well in our new kitchen….until Thanksgiving.
All of our kitchen appliances and lights were running at full power along with crockpots, etc. when the kitchen lights started blinking like a Christmas tree. Curiously, even the lights on the chandelier in the nearby dining started blinking. Then a breaker kicked off and the microwave as well as some lights shut down. We turned off a few things, and flipped the breaker back on. Thanksgiving was saved, but we knew that some electrical work was in our future.
We had an electrician come out, and together we discovered that the microwave hood was on a circuit with some lights and plugs in another room. Unfortunately, there was no inexpensive way to pull a separate wire from the breaker box to the microwave hood. However, the electrician was able to switch the microwave to a different circuit with a lower total power requirement. In addition, he suggested we use low power LED bulbs for the lighting on that circuit. The result was that with LED bulbs and the microwave together, even if all lights AND the microwave were on at the same time, there would be no chance of overloading the circuit. Easter here we come!
Next up: GFCI circuits in your kitchen.
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