Kitchen Remodeling Tip 2: GFCI Circuits

GFCI Circuits in your Kitchen

Our last blog on kitchen remodeling covered electrical issues that might occur.

Kitchen Remodeling Tip: Check Electrical Needs

In my case, I had an older house with appliances (refrigerator and built-in micro-hood) each wired on circuits with other electrical outlets rather than on separate circuits. It was not practical to add separate circuits for these two appliances, but we were able to move the microwave to a different circuit with lower total power demand which resolved any power shortage issues. Also, It was not necessary to to move the refrigerator to another circuit.

Now, we’re going to cover the issues regarding GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in an older house.

GFCI

GFCI-Outlet

GFCI Outlet

Originally, the NEC code required GFCI receptacles only in the garage and bathrooms. Over the years, the code has been regularly amended, to include kitchens, and laundry areas. What is a GFCI receptacle?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In brief, a GFCI receptacle monitors electricity passing through any plugged in device for an imbalance. The GFCI receptacle breaks the circuit if there is more than a 5 milliamp difference between the electrical current entering and the current leaving. The result is that any device plugged into a GFCI receptacle with a short or a wiring issue will be disconnected in about .025 seconds.

In my particular instance, for some reason we had no GFCI receptacles in the house. So I had the electrician add GFCI receptacles to the bathrooms and the kitchen areas so we’d be up to code. However, I’ve just learned that the latest revision to the code now has added a GFCI requirement for dishwashers. It’s easy to get frustrated over changing regulations, but when you consider that spending a few bucks on having the proper electrical outlet might save a life, it makes sense to be protected from electrical hazards.

For more information on GFCI or other remodeling or building issues contact your remodeling professional or homebuilder.


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Kitchen Remodeling Tip: Check Electrical Needs

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.

Microwave-Install

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.

New Home or Remodel – Arizona Wholesale Supply is ready with appliances, flooring, window coverings, and much more. Check with your builder or designer today.


Appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more

Arizona Wholesale

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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