Sparks Are Flying!

I couldn't resist the title, but, sorry to disappoint, no juicy gossip here, this topic is, drum roll, electricity related! Nonetheless, I promise riveting information.

A kitchen I'm working on has revealed surprising electrical issues, in terms of additional circuits needed to serve the backsplash lifestyle (you didn't know you had a backsplash lifestyle, DID you??) of the homeowner. It's a small kitchen. I initially assumed the existing wiring would serve the electrical needs in this kitchen along the backsplash, yawn, fairly easily. I was very wrong. (I TOLD you it would be riveting!)

kitchenaidmixer.jpgFor one thing, I noticed the client has a fancy Dualite toaster which, gasp, draws 17 amps. That's a lot! The toaster draws 6 amps more than the microwave! The microwave should be on a separate circuit anyway, (although by code, it doesn't have to be) yet, it makes you wonder if an appliance like this toaster should be too. Also in this small kitchen is an instant hot/cold water tap, which comes with a heating unit, the Franke Little Butler. That should be on its own circuit as well.

Now, if that fabulous toaster and a coffee maker go on at the same time, the coffee maker being 6 or 8 amps, the typical circuit will trip with these two heavy load takers. You wouldn't THINK a toaster and coffee maker could blow a circuit, but you also don't want to wait until everything is all finished, with no way to add another circuit, having purchased a $300 fast, 4 slice toaster, with countertop and beautiful $40/square foot tile permanently installed.

4 Slice Toaster-Chrome.jpgInitially, the electrician wanted to have a total of 18 receptacles (including 2 outlets in the next room and plugmold receptacles) on ONE circuit and ONLY TWO receptacles on another circuit. And, the microwave and toaster would be on the 18 receptacles circuit. Was he serious?



So, what to do? Ask questions and provide information to your remodeling pros about your special small appliances, which may draw far more power than you think. Make sure your receptacles are evenly distributed, in different circuits, to handle several small appliances at once in different spots along the countertop.


delonghi espresso.jpgYou may want to consider plugmold, a great way to keep the receptacles out of site, as they are installed just below the wall cabinetry, at the top of the backsplash. It frees up your backsplash to do that great tile design! Whether you use plugmold or standard electrical outlets, they all must be GFI protected.

Bottom line, take inventory of your small countertop appliances and try to have some idea of where you want them placed and communicate that to your various pros.

Posted on February 26, 2007 and filed under Kitchen Design.