The Kitchen Electric Estimate

IMG_6583a%20copy.jpgGeez, I spent a long time trying to spice up the title to this little piece, (I can't always just stick to pretty kitchen pictures!) and I just couldn't find anything clever to describe an electrical estimate. Give me some ideas, please! Maybe something about sparks flying? No, bad idea.

It's a GOOD idea, when getting multiple bids for your kitchen renovation, to be organized so that your bids from contractors will use the same set of specifications. It sounds like a no brainer, and it should be, but the only way to make sure the estimates are comparable is to have one set of specs to give out to your electrical contractors to bid from.

Here's what you may want to include, or make sure your designer includes, on a floorplan and/or separate sheet of specifications:


Appliances - Brands and model numbers if possible. List all appliances, including:




Refrigerator Drawers

Wine Refrigerator

Under Counter Beverage Refrigerator 

Stand Alone Icemaker 

Cooktop - gas or electric

Ovens, Single or Double - gas or electric


Other Ovens (steam, etc.) - gas or electric

Pizza Oven 

Deep Fryer

Grill, gas or electric - separate from cooktop/range

Built In Wall Rotisserie - separate from oven 

Built In Wok

Built In Mixer 

Range - gas or electric

Warming Drawer 

Built-in Coffee Station

Instant Hot Water

Garbage Disposal

Trash Compactor


Hood/Blower or Downdraft


Receptacles - Will you use Plugmold or standard receptacles? Note GFI protection. Note location and number if possible.

Special circuits - Do you need multiple separate circuits for special needs in any one area? A monster toaster that takes 17 amps? Paired with another appliance on the same circuit, it will trip. Be aware of potential lifestyle electrical needs.

Circuits - A good guideline is a separate circuit for appliances (not countertop appliances) over 10 amps, but the electrical codes takes precedence

Accent lighting - Note if you'd like accent lighting in cabinetry or pointing toward certain cabinetry. How will it be switched? What about accent lighting above cabinetry or as part of a tray ceiling or other ceiling effect? What about sconces? A little used by lovely style of lighting, yes, for the kitchen.

Task lighting - Under cabinet lighting, what type? Halogen, flourescent, xenon, etc. Can you specify the brand? Try to specify the locations and switching if possible.

General lighting - Are you using recessed lights? Pendants? Ceiling Fixtures? Note what you are using, how many, and how they will be switched, whether in multiple locations or a single location. Also specify if dimmers are desired. And, make sure that the wattage in your lights is adequate, which could effect your estimate. Very generally speaking, I specify/prefer as many lights of the same type, say, recessed, switched together, as possible on the electrical plans that I do. I'm not a fan of 3 lights here, 3 lights there on different switches. I feel general lighting is just that, general lighting and is meant to be turned on all, or mostly all, at once. The other reason is that too many switches cause confusion and forgetfulness.

Fancy switches - Oh, there are so many touch-type fancy wall switches out now. Start by checking out these switches at Lutron.

TV/Phone/Computer - Don't forget wiring for media. This type of wiring may be done by audio/video/computer technicians. Check with your electrican.

Speakers - Most likely wired by your audio technician, but not necessarily. Check that out.  

Heat - Any specialty heating solutions such as toekick heaters? 

Last but not least - Check the service panel! 


Home Automation 

Will the kitchen be part of a home lighting control system? Check out Lutron for basic information. For further information on home automation, check out CABA

If you want to see a digital kitchen in action, check out this video, but keep the tissues handy, the emotional guitar music may make a tear fall.

Here are a few more articles with insight from Builder Online,  CABA's page on the digital kitchen and don't miss this humorous look at all the automated frenzy, from Network World.

Apologies for potentially overwhelming you, what can I say? Yes, the world of kitchen remodeling has many devils lurking in the details!

In a future post, I will talk about and show, an electrical plan. (Don't flood me with emails asking, When!! When!!)