New Kitchen Circuit

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  #1  
Old 12-06-05, 08:18 AM
D
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Red face New Kitchen Circuit

So I have one 15A circuit for a small bedroom and kitchen (including refrigerator, disposal and dishwasher). Obviously, the circuit is overloaded, but at least the outlet in the kitchen is GFI. When I run the dishwasher, the circuit trips when the fridge turns itself on (when it falls below the min temp). So I want a new 20A dedicated circuit for the kitchen with 12/2 Romex, but I have the WORST plaster & lathe walls. It's a mess making one hole in the wall and patching it, let alone the many it will take to run the 40 ft or so to get to my subpanel. Also, the building I am in dates back to 1890 so there are all kinds of old construction/debris in the walls/ceiling.

1) Conduit is not used for low voltage, correct? So I shouldn't expect to find any leading to/from my kitchen? (and I'm not required to run any myself?)
2) Is there any helpful trick to fish wire in an old building such as mine? Are there other alternatives I should think about? (Running it outside the walls and building an enclosure?)
3) Is a job like this worth contracting out? How much might I expect to pay in Massachusetts, or in your area?
4) When do I need to pull a permit?
5) Can I have another circuit inspected when this one gets done? I added a 220V 30A washer/dryer outlet using 10/3 romex, but I have plastered over the holes. Is that a problem, or do they just need to see the subpanel, outlet and wire? Do I need a seperate permit?

Thanks!
-Tim
Electrical Engineer, but total beginner at do-it-yourself electrical/code
 
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  #2  
Old 12-06-05, 08:49 AM
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If you are going to rewire the kitchen, you want to do so properly. You didnít say where you are located, but I will assume in the US. If this is different then please say so.

In the US a kitchen requires two 120 volt 20 amp circuits for the counter top receptacles. These can also serve the refrigerator, although that is not recommended. They can't serve the dishwasher, lights or anywhere else (with a couple of minor exceptions that you should ignore). You need a separate circuit for the kitchen lights (or leave them on the bedroom circuit). You need a separate circuit for the dishwasher. While it can serve other loads like a disposal, you need to consider those other loads. You also want separate circuits for any built in devices, such as a microwave.
 
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Old 12-06-05, 09:44 AM
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It might be a problem to add 2x 20A circuits to my subpanel that already has 4x 15A and my 220V/30A circuits. I thought I read that there was a 6 circuit limit of some kind on subpanels. I also have to double check how much power is coming in from the main panel. I might be approaching that limit as well (even before I add any new circuits). If I have, for example, 60A coming in on 2 legs, and 2*15A on each leg and 30A across both, aren't I maxed out as it is?

p.s. I am in Boston, Massachusetts
 
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Old 12-06-05, 12:12 PM
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I thought I read that there was a 6 circuit limit of some kind on subpanels.
Does not apply to subpanels within the same structure.

If I have, for example, 60A coming in on 2 legs, and 2*15A on each leg and 30A across both, aren't I maxed out as it is?
No, it doesn't work that way. Because of load diversity (i.e., not everything is using maximum power at the same time), the individual circuits can add up to more than the feeder.
 
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Old 12-06-05, 12:57 PM
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John,
Good to know! Because off the top of my head I'm pretty sure I do have 60A (2 poles) coming in. OK then, so one 20A circuit for the receptacle (one GFI outlet) plus the fridge, one for the dishwasher and disposal, and the overhead lights on the old 15A? I can do that.... now I need to figure out the busting up the walls/ceiling part. You folks with drywall/attics/basements don't know how good you have it.
 
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Old 12-06-05, 01:00 PM
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You need TWO 20 amp receptacle circuits for counter top.
 
  #7  
Old 12-07-05, 12:39 PM
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Two? I guess I misunderstood you. I have two receptacles (small kitchen - 6ft x 12ft) right now. Even if I added two, isn't that a bit ridiculous to have 20A over two outlets? I mean not that it's really much more work, it just seems unnecessary. But hey, what do I know?
All I have to go on is seeing friends who live in similar apartments and I've never seen more than one circuit in a kitchen - even those with dishwashers - let alone 4 circuits (if you include the lights and dishwasher). Of course, that work probably dates back many decades. Lots of old unrenovated buildings in my part of Boston (Brighton). Heck, my place has knot and tube wiring throughout. Anyway, thanks for the info...
 
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Old 12-07-05, 12:58 PM
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Before you do anything, you should learn the current electrical codes for kitchens. I recommend Wiring Simplified, a $6 green paperback available in the electrical aisle of most Home Depot stores.

Once you know the electrical codes, you can decide how many of them you want to follow. But you will certainly want to follow all of the ones that are reasonably practical. This includes two 20-amp circuits to serve kitchen countertop receptacles. These two circuits can also serve the refrigerator and dining room receptacles (but not the dishwasher or disposal or any lighting). In some homes, this is certainly overkill, but it is the code, and they cannot practically tailor the code individually for each house.
 
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