May 15, 2017
The wiring in a kitchen is different from the electrical setup in other areas of your home. Because electrical receptacles (outlets) in a kitchen will be near a source of water (the kitchen sink), additional measures are required to ensure the safety of the people in your house.
Understanding NEC Requirements
Since 1971, the National Electric Code (NEC) has required that GFCI receptacles be installed in homes. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI outlet monitors the electricity flowing in a current, and if there is any imbalance detected in the current, the receptacle is tripped and the electricity to that outlet is cut off. Everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix, and GFCI outlets work to combat that potentially deadly duo. At first, GFCI receptacles were only required on the exterior of homes, where rainwater could cause a problem or near pools. However, in the years since, the NEC adopted changes to require GFCI outlets inside the home as well, in areas with water sources like bathrooms and kitchens.
GFCI Outlets Keep You & Your Family Safe
In a kitchen, there must be at least two GFCI protected circuits. That means that all electrical receptacles over a kitchen counter have to be split into separate electrical two circuits. Also, all of the outlets in the kitchen that will be over the countertop must be GFCI receptacles. If a GFCI receptacle senses that any electricity is flowing to a grounded object (like a person holding a kitchen appliance that is plugged into a GFCI outlet), the electricity flowing to that outlet is immediately shut off. This reduces or eliminates the risk of shock or electrocution.
Know Where Wiring Goes
In the kitchen featured in this video, which was one of our residential electrical construction projects, we’ve placed GFCI receptacles to the right of the range, as well as a range cable for an electric range. We also wired for 120 volts, just in case the client opts for a gas range. Then we installed a switch bank, under-counter lighting, and above-counter lighting. You’ll see there’s another GFCI receptacle to the left of the range.
Keep Your Kitchen Wiring Up to Code
The NEC dictates that receptacles must be within two feet of a break in any countertop. In the home shown in the video, there are receptacles within two feet on each side of the 36-inch sink to meet the code. National Electrical Code also requires that the distance between two receptacles be no further than four feet, a condition we also made sure to meet. Furthermore, GFCI receptacles have to be 20 amp and 12 gauge. Outlets that are not over the kitchen counter (like the outlet where your fridge is plugged in) do not need to be GFCI receptacles.
If any of this sounds confusing, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for! When you work with a trusted company like CMC Electric that places a focus on customer service and satisfaction, we take all of the guesswork and uncertainty out of your home project. We’ll ensure that your electrical wiring is done correctly and meets all code requirements without breaking the bank.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today to ask questions or schedule a service. Whether your needs are a quick fix, a more extensive repair, or a massive remodel, our team of knowledgeable and friendly employees is up to the task!