Fridge on a dedicated circuit (CEC)

Old 03-07-05, 11:09 AM
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Fridge on a dedicated circuit (CEC)

I just finished wiring up a new kitchen in the basement of my home. I was told that I might need to have a dedicated circuit for my fridge. I currently have it wired with some recepticles and some lights. I will be using an office sized fridge (small fridge) in the basement. I was wondering if code states that there has to be a sperate circuit for the fridge more specifically the CEC cuz I live in Toronto.
Any help would be appreciated.
Old 03-07-05, 02:06 PM
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The Code requires two 20 amp "small appliance branch circuits" serving your kitchen. It says there can be no lighting on that circuit. The refrigerator can be plugged into one of those circuits. It is not required to be on a dedicated circuit. But it says you "shall be permitted to" provide a dedicated 15 amp circuit for the refrigerator, that is, if you choose to.

Old 03-07-05, 06:03 PM
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I believe that Juice is referring to code in the United States. Kitchen codes in Canada are similar but different. But hang in here--there are a number of knowledgeable Canadians who post.
Old 03-08-05, 09:15 AM
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Not sure I come under the heading of “knowledgeable”, but I am Canadian!

The Ontario Electrical code does call for a dedicated circuit for the refrigerator. The circuit is allowed to also supply a dedicated clock outlet, but nothing else. The outlet needs to be located behind the refrigerator, so as to prevent the second receptacle being generally accessible.

The kitchen countertop circuits (either split 15 amp and 20 amp outlets) can not be used for supplying the refrigerator, or even lights.

However, even without the code, I would recommend using a dedicated circuit for the refrigerator. It makes sense, and is easy to do before you finish up with the construction. It may save you a refrigerator full of wasted food, if someone trips the breaker.

As John notes the Canadian code for kitchens is similar to, but not the same as in the US. For example, in Canada only countertop receptacles within 1 m of the sink need to be protected by a CFI.

Last edited by impeyr; 03-08-05 at 06:20 PM.
Old 03-08-05, 10:01 AM
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In 'olden days' it was acceptable to have the fridge on a lighting/ general purpose circuit. This continues to be 'grandfathered' until you make any changes to this circuit. In a renovation or new installation, the fridge needs to be on a dedicated circuit. You may put a special clock receptacle and a range hood on this dedicated circuit.

You are probably aware of the other rules for kitchens in Ontario:

1. A receptacle on a dedicated circuit for the 'eating area' of the kitchen;

2. A receptacle on a dedicated circuit for an enclosed microwave;

3. Any uninterupted 12" span of counter must have a receptacle, and no point of the countertop can be more than 35" from a receptacle (ie. minimum 70" apart). Countertop receptacles cannot power any other devices;

4. Any receptacle that is within 1 meter from the edge of the sink must be GFCI-protected;

5. Adjacent receptacles cannot be on the same circuit;

6. Countertop receptacles can be either 15A multi-wire circuits or 20A circuits with 12AWG wire and T-slot receptacles (rated at 20A). In either case, no more than 2 receptacles are allowed on one circuit.

7. 15A multi-wire circuits cannot use GFCI receptacles, but must use a double-pole GFCI breaker instead. It is allowed to use the 20A T-slot GFCI receptacle, and because the receptacles on either side of the sink are not considered adjacent, you can run the receptacle on the other side of the sink from the load terminals of the T-slot GFCI receptacle. Because double-pole GFCI breakers are expensive (more than $100), the 20A circuit with T-slot GFCI receptacle is a good option for protecting the beside-the-sink receptacles.

8. Rules #3 and #5 almost always means there must be a minimum of two circuits for countertop receptacles.

For more detail on the new kitchen countertop rules go to Click on 'consumer' and FAQ. Search for 'kitchen.'

Don't forget to have your new work inspected by ESA.

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