Under Cabinet Lighting - power source


Old 03-01-11, 09:13 PM
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Under Cabinet Lighting - power source

I am planning on installing under cabinet lighting (low volatge LED or Xenon) for my cabinets. Was looking for a good power source to tap into but after a lot of reading in the forums here, I understand that it is against the code to tap into the small appliance circuit for the countertop receptacles.

I am not sure about using the garbage disposal circuit. I do see some posts that the garbage disposal can be on a lighting circuit if it does not draw more than 50% of the branch circuit rating. (Need help with hard-wiring under cabinet lighting...? [Archive] - DoItYourself.com Community Forums).
My garbage disposal is on a dedicated circuit which has a 20AMP breaker and as per the label on it, the usage is 6.7AMPS. So can this circuit be used for the UCL lighting? If not, then what are the other options? The kitchen lighting has 8 recessed lights and 2 pendants over the island. But tapping into this would be difficult - cut open the ceiling. I also wonder if the fact that the part of the basement directly beneath the kitchen is unfinished and if I can figure out the circuit cable, I can try to tap into it and have to run the cables to the UCL lighting provided it falls within the NEC code. More work!
What other options do I have. Tapping from any of the basement power source?

Would really appreciate your feed back and suggestions. I am a novice DIYer and the forums here has helped me educate a lot abt the code.
This is getting very ingteresting.

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Old 03-02-11, 07:11 AM
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Perhaps the easiest solution would be to run a new circuit to a new switch and proceed from there to the lights.

You could mount the LV tranformer nearby.
Old 03-03-11, 05:01 AM
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If you have access to wires underneath the kitchen that's probably the easiest place to tap into existing power. The disposal circuit is your best bet, as it's rarely in use. Just avoid the dedicated appliance circuits.

I have tapped into the circuit feeding an over-the-stove microwave, but such a circuit is often also powering the fridge. While the UC lighting probably won't overload such a circuit, there can be annoying flicker when the big appliances come on.

Moderators addendum. The OTR microwave instructions will call for a dedicated circuit. Adding other things to that circuit creates a Code violation.

Sometimes the disposal circuit is also shared with the dishwasher. Adding additional loads like the undercabinet lighting can overload the circuit and cause tripping.

Last edited by pcboss; 03-03-11 at 02:06 PM.
Old 03-03-11, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mukansamonkey View Post
The disposal circuit is your best bet, as it's rarely in use.
The OP could extend the disposal circuit if necessary, but running a new one would be best.

I have tapped into the circuit feeding an over-the-stove microwave, but such a circuit is often also powering the fridge.
It would be a code violation to power lighting from either the OTR microwave or the fridge circuit. It would also be a violation to have the fridge and OTR microwave on the same circuit.

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