kitchen remodel - DIYer limits


Old 01-22-07, 08:30 AM
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: NE
Posts: 122
Question kitchen remodel - DIYer limits

I know this is very subjective, but what are thoughts on how much a DIYer should attempt during a remodel. In my situation, a family friend is actually a licensed electrictian and said he would oversee my work. My plan (could be the wrong way to go) is to run all of the new wiring then have him inspect my work, hook everything up at the service panel, and oversee final connections after drywall is up.

The majority of electrical would be new circuits:

1) 2 20 amp dedicated countertop circuits
2) 40 amp stove circuit which will be new, as I need to relocate the stove - existing circuit is 40 amp
3) 20 amp microwave circuit

For the 8 can lights that I will use, I plan on using the existing lighing circuit (15 amp). I've mapped this circuit, and it only supplies kitchen/dining room lighting.

I haven't mapped out the fridge, dishwasher, and garbage disposal circuits yet, but I plan on using the existing circuits if the fridge is dedicated and dishwasher/garbage disposal are on the same run - if this is allowed by code in my area. I have a little over a month before the project.

Paying a pro to complete all of this is not out of question, as I want to be safe. I was just seeking opinions. I have several electrical books and have read them front to back multiple times. Most of the books actually have chapters dedicated to kitchen remodeling. I've completed several minor electrical projects and read the electrical forum frequently. Again, I have an electrician to consult if I hit any snags but would like to know how much of this work I could do safely.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the lengthy thread.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Two 20 amp small appliance circuits for the counter top is the minimum required by the NEC. If you have a large kitchen or special circumstances consider one or more additional beyond the two required.

If you are running a new circuit for the stove, use 6 gage wire so that you could go to 50 amps if necessary.

A dedicated circuit for the microwave is a good idea. It's probably requireed if the microwave is built in. If this is on the counter top then it counts as a small appliance circuit, but do not count it as one of the two required.

As long as your lighting won't exceed 1,440 watts on the entire circuit and as long as the circuit is properly grounded then your lighting is fine.

Definitely make sure that the refrigerator is on a dedicated circuit. You can have the dishwasher and disposal on a single circuit, but some will advice against this.

Make sure that you read the books you have and that your electrician friend inspects your work before you install drywall, and make sure that you have the entire project inspected and properly permitted.

Last edited by racraft; 01-22-07 at 10:12 AM.
Old 01-22-07, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
bob, I think you mean 1440 watts, not 14,400.

FWIW I did my kitchen remodel first, and when I started I new very little about electrical work. Taking the advice from the good folks here, I picked up a couple good books and read them cover to cover, then re-read them.

Did all the wiring myself and it passed inspection.

You can do it. Just make sure you have the knowledge before you start.
Old 01-22-07, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Quite correct fuente. Sorry, mis-type. Corrected.
Old 01-22-07, 10:20 AM
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We knew nothing about electical and did a full subpanel and all electrical work in our basement (much to the amazement of friends and coworkers). Passed with flying colors. Went on to wire a recording studio with isolated grounds and rather complex circuit work. Got enough knowledge that hubby was hired as an apprentice electrician. All this was book and experience learning... you can do it!
Old 01-22-07, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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I've done two complete kitchen remodels where I did all the work except the countertops in both and the drywall in one. The electrical work is pretty straightforward. In your proposed plan I would consider using two separate lighting circuits, especially if you decide to add on additional lighting such as undercounter and toekick. A closer look at the number of planned lighting cans may indicate that you need more. Our original plan called for 4 and we ended up with 13 on two 15A circuits. The original circuit had other loads on it and the additional cans pushed it to close to the 15A limit.

If you have a disposer think about a 20A circuit that the DW can share. My area requires a dedicated ckt for a built in uwave. A range hood or exhaust vent will also require power and may need a separate circuit. Split wiring the two 20 SA circuits should provide more than enough power for the kitchen. Even though modern kitchens have lots of electrical gadgets there's seldom more than a couple running at one time and the 40 amps available can handle a lot of small appliances if the load is balanced. A coffee pot and toaster oven on the same circuit in the morning can put a strain on a single 20 amp circuit but are no problem on two separate circuits. Consider your expected load when deciding if you require more than the minimum.
Old 01-22-07, 03:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NE
Posts: 122

Thanks for all of the input. I do have a question about inspectors/permits. During the course of their inspection, what if they notice other work has taken place without permits? Let's say hypothetically that I finished my basement a few years ago. Had a licensed electrician perform all of the work but didn't pull permits. During the course of my kitchen inspection, the inspector goes downstairs to check service panel and notices the new work. Am I hosed or what?
Old 01-22-07, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Don't let him go downstairs. Simple. He is not a cop, you can direct him where to go and where not to go. If he absolutely has to go downstairs, just make sure the room is not ripped apart and he won't even ask.

I had a similar situation with my 'inspection'. He showed up and I led him into the kitchen. I knew from the disclosure on my home that one of the additions, while done well, was not permitted. No way he got anywhere near that room. At that point it was obvious that the addition was an add-on, but if it wasn't obvious he would never have known the difference.

It would be advisable to not have any other open walls and such, and if you do don't have them in plain view.

Another example. I had my electrical panel upgraded and it was time for the inspection. At the same time I was putting in recessed whole house speakers. This includes cutting into drywall, and running speaker wire in the attic. I did not pull a permit for this. I had wire all over the house and one wall opened up.

The first thing the inspector wanted to do when he knocked on the door was to come in. I politely told him to go around to the garage, since that's where the panel is. He seemed a little pissed off, but for the mortgage and taxes I pay, I'm not giving them another red cent of my money (just my opinion). It's so bad in a neighboring city that inspectors actually try and trick homeowners into letting them into their homes, then slap them with fines for work that does not meet current code. This is of course ridiculous, and there have been more than a few lawsuits again the city. But they continue to do it. It's borderline harassment. Ok off my soapbox...

Just be smart and you won't have any problems.
Old 01-22-07, 06:27 PM
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a family friend is actually a licensed electrictian and said he would oversee my work.

Then you have the access to your questions. This is a great avenue to learn.

hypothetically. No, Your inspection is for the current permitted work.
They can however, request that serious code violations be corrected.

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