Problem with kitchen island receptacle

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Old 04-01-04, 11:44 AM
Kray
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Problem with kitchen island receptacle

Would appreciate a little advice on a situation I discovered which I am sure is a code violation.

I have a kitchen island cabinet unit built around an oven/cooktop that is on a 50 amp circuit. I pulled the oven out while tiling the floor and noticed that the receptacle at one end of the island is wired in to the 50 amp oven circuit. A 3-4 foot length of 12-gauge romex runs from this receptacle to the junction box that houses the oven receptacle. The black romex wire is wired to the black wire of the oven circuit.

I know that the small appliance island receptacle should be on a separate 20 amp circuit. The kitchen is built on a cement slab so there would be no way to get a 20 amp circuit to the island receptacle short of jack-hammering the floor. The wiring for the oven circuit is encased in conduit running through the floor, but I don't think there is room inside the conduit to pull 12-gauge wire through for a new circuit.

Any suggestions on how to address this situation? I could simply remove the small appliance receptacle to eliminate the safety issue but the absence of a receptacle in the island is a violation in itself (I think). Do I have any reasonable options for retaining that receptacle? Would it make sense to at least replace the 12-gauge romex with larger wire (also, should it be in conduit since it is somewhat "exposed" inside the cabinet?)? Probably reaching here, but is there any possibility of installing some kind of 20 amp breaker inside the cabinet so the short wire run for the small appliance receptacle is protected by the 20 amp breaker? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
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Old 04-01-04, 12:10 PM
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Remove the wires to this receptacle until you can run a proper 12 gauge cable from the panel (or from one of the other small appliance circuits in the ktchen).

What you have is a very dangerous setup. It could cause a fire and burn your house down.
 
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Old 04-01-04, 05:24 PM
Kray
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Thanks. I sort of expected that would be the reply, and will plan to disconnect wire and correct this situation. Just to further my education a little, could you briefly summarize the risk presented by the current situation? There is just one receptacle involved that gets occasional use for electric knife, mixer, etc. Is the concern that the appliance could malfunction and cause too much current to be drawn, overloading the wire, or could this wiring arrangement itself cause the appliance to malfunction and create an overload situation? I can appreciate the danger but realize that I'm a little confused on exactly what the risk is and the direction of cause and effect here.
 
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Old 04-02-04, 03:03 PM
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The short piece of wire running from the oven to the outlet is virtually unprotected from overload as well as anything plugged into the outlet. If there were to be an overload, something would likely burn.

I'm wondering if it might be acceptable to install a small sub panel in the island ahead of the stove box using the existing stove wiring. Put in 2 circuits, stove and plug, each with it's own breaker. The existing breaker would protect the wire to the sub panel and the breakers in the sub panel would protect the wires to the stove and plug. Everything has to be accessible and, assuming all the wiring would be done in the back of the cabinets, I would do everything in conduit.

Experts? Can this be done within code?

Doug M.
 
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Old 04-02-04, 03:12 PM
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The idea of a sub panel is an intriguing idea, but alas I don't think it could be done within code. There are strict requirments on where and how sub panels can be installed. Requirements include working clearance as well as height. I suppose that it is possible to make it work though.

There is also the problem of the possible missing ground. Kray doesn't state if the circuit to the range is four wire or three wire. Three wire would not work for a sub panel. But, four wire could possibly be pulled through the conduit and used.
 
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Old 04-02-04, 03:44 PM
Kray
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Thanks for the great input, Racraft and Dougm. This gives me some food for thought.

I didn't mention the ground wire in the first post, but the oven circuit is in fact four wire (black, red, white, and ground). So the sub-panel idea seems like something that could be doable and would essentially eliminate the current safety issue, but would not meet certain code requirements. If I sold the house, I wonder what the house inspector would say.....

If I go this route, sub-panel would be installed in back of cabinet and could be no more than 30 inches above floor level. It would be "accessible" by opening the cabinet door and reaching back to it. I'm curious whether this would come even remotely close to meeting requirements for location, clearance, and accessibility?

One other question occurs to me, regarding this subpanel idea:
I'm not sure what gauge the current oven circuit wire is - probably whatever is minimally required for 50 amps. I was wondering if this would be acceptable for the "incoming" wire to a subpanel or would it be considered undersized given that a 50 amp circuit plus a 20 amp circuit would be running out of that subpanel?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 04-02-04, 05:43 PM
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Instead of a subpanel, is there adequate room for a single pole pullout cartrige fuse block. Install it at the oven connection, so anything downstream is protected by the 15 or 20A fuse you place in there.
I had a similar experience with my 30A oven serving the 15A receptacle. Luckily, my oven is releatively low wattage, and I was able to replace the 30A breaker with a 20A so all was ok.
 
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Old 04-05-04, 11:23 AM
Kray
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Thanks for the suggestion, Handy Ron. I will have to check out the fuse blocks at the hardware store and see if that might work for my situation. But would it be OK to install a fuse block that is not inside a box? Also, I'm having a little difficulty envisioning how the connections would be made but maybe that will be clearer when I see the fuse blocks.
 
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Old 04-05-04, 03:52 PM
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Re: Problem with kitchen island receptacle

I did some quick calculations. If it's either a " Sch 40 PVC or a " EMT conduit, there is enough room for both circuits.


Originally posted by Kray
The kitchen is built on a cement slab so there would be no way to get a 20 amp circuit to the island receptacle short of jack-hammering the floor.
The NEC doesn't care what one has to go through to have a compliant installation. If jack-hammering is needed, that's what needs to be done.
 
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