kitchen remodel questions

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Old 11-05-14, 01:36 AM
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kitchen remodel questions

So I'm helping my dad with his kitchen remodel (or rather, he's helping me)... and since it's his house he is doing the electrical, which I'm not qualified to do. Dad has wired the 2 houses he built, so he does have some knowledge... but Dad's the type that acts like he knows what he's doing when he often doesn't, so I just wanted to check a couple things because I think his electrical knowledge might be a bit behind the times.

Outlets over kitchen countertops need to be gfci protected and a minimum of 4' on center, correct? His old 1950's wire is ungrounded, but as I understand it you can still use the gfci without the ground provided they are labeled as ungrounded. I'm not sure that it will be possible to run new a grounded wire to the box... some genius put up some sort of snap-in drop ceiling that's tight to the floor joists in the finished basement where the box is, and you can't get to any of the wires (or add any) without completely destroying the ceiling.

Does gfci protection include any lights and/or switches that might be near the sink? (and if so, within 6ft of what? the top of the sink? the head of the faucet?) Mom thinks she might want a separate switch for the light over the sink. Should it be wired with the outlets on that wall? (personally, I think it's silly to have a separate switched light over the sink, but she wants a pendant light there. and i've learned you don't argue with mom!)

I guess it seems strange to me that if you have a 36" sink, that you would be required to have an outlet a minimum of 6" to the left and 6" to the right of the sink. Since there is a large window directly over the sink, I'd prefer not to have any outlets between the window trim and the backsplash, if it's allowable.

Does the garbage disposal also have to be gfci protected, since its outlet will be under the sink? (Nachi.org says the NEC does not require it, it's optional.) We will be using an air switch.

We are thinking about using a plugmold under the cabinets instead of outlets every 4 ft. Any tips on what plugmold to get, or what to avoid? The kitchen will have mainly 12 and 24" cabinets, and they are not european, so if we go that route, what do you suggest... putting in a 3/4" filler underneath the cabinets so that the plugmold can be continuous under several cabinets? And I assume you use a short piece of wiremold raceway between where the stub comes out the wall and where the plugmold begins?

Finally, the undercabinet lighting. Any suggestions on what type to get? I'm leaning toward dimmable LED's just behind the front lip of the face frame. Or should they be a couple inches behind the face frame so as to not create a hard shadow line? Any thoughts on that? There will only be 2 areas of undercabinet lighting, maybe 4 or 5 ft on each side of their stove.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 04:48 AM
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You may have a problem with the 1950's two wire installation to begin with. You need two separate circuits in the kitchen for small appliances, so if you only have one, you will need to install another one somehow. Each circuit must be protected via GFCI, but you can do that at the panel or at the first receptacle, wiring the downline receptacles from the LOAD side of the GFCI. No lighting can be tied to these two circuits. Another reason for an additional run. Garbage Disposal does not need to b on GFCI, but cannot be part of the small appliance circuits.

You mentioned using plugmold/wiremold.....are you running the circuits on the surface? I would protect the entire set of circuits from the panel, then. Undercabinet lighting I like the small LED lights, dimmable or not, mounted toward the front of the cabinet. It makes them shine better on your work area with less shadow from appliances that may be stuck back on the wall.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 06:17 AM
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I had heard about the 2 circuit rule. Does that apply no matter how small the kitchen is? I need to investigate what the current circuits feed. There is a dishwasher, fridge, wall mounted microwave in addition to the usual outlets for small appliances. The electrical was supposed to be "his deal" but I'm finding that I need to be a little more involved in helping him figure some stuff out.

I had planned on taking off the existing wall cabinets... blowing some holes in the wall where the patches would be covered up... running new wire that's about 12" higher than the existing outlets, so that they could all be removed/abandoned/patched. Then we would stub out the wire just below the upper cabinets for the plugmold. As I understand it, the wiremold (a short piece, maybe 1" long) is just needed to protect/cover that stub until it reaches the plugmold, which we would probably mount 1" from the back of the cabinet so that it's not right in the back where your knuckles would have a hard time plugging up into it.

I think that at a minimum, the current undercabinet lighting is tied in with the wall outlets in the backsplash, because they are run off a switch/outlet receptacle that is inline with all the other outlets.

I'll check to see if the ceiling lights and outlets are on the same circuit. There is an old 2-fuse sub-panel box in part of the basement that's under the kitchen... I wonder if it could be upgraded to a small 8 space breaker panel. I think there is a service cable running to it, probably for the 240V that runs the oven/stovetop. If that could be done, everything could be run with new wire.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 06:31 AM
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Receptacle Spacing

Outlets over kitchen countertops need to be gfci protected and a minimum of 4' on center
I am being picky here, but the spacing should be a maximum of 4 ft.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 06:56 AM
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oops, my bad, I meant maximum. thx for catching that.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 07:13 AM
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Not the electrician but have just remodeled kitchen. Have found out you can't have to many plugs. Wife and I thought we over did it but still find we want more. To me a upgraded sub panel sounds good and upgrade all kitchen wiring you can get to.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 07:25 AM
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The two 20A circuit rule (technically "small appliance branch circuits") applies no matter how small the kitchen. These circuit must serve only the kitchen counter tops, dining room and/or pantry receptacles (no lights or built-ins).

In most jurisdictions a "kitchen remodel" would trigger a requirement to upgrade the wiring to current code - this is up to the local inspector interpretation of the code and laws. Even if not required to do so, I would remove the ungrounded circuits and install new. Grounded wiring is much safer and 60+ year old wire is past its lifetime especially once you start messing with it.

The plugmold must be no higher than 20" from the counter top to count toward the required receptacles.

Your old fuse box could be upgraded to a panel only in the very unlikely chance that the feeder is four wires.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 07:35 AM
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X, here is a thread from a few days ago that addresses many of your questions. It also has a link to a previous thread with many suggestions.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ppliances.html
 
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Old 11-05-14, 08:49 AM
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I think I'd start by determing what version of the NEC and what amendments may have been adopted in your area.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 09:39 AM
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Except for the addition of GFI protection for dishwashers and AFCI protection for the kitchens little has changed in Article 210 concerning kitchens. The circuit and spacing requirements have stayed the same.



 
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Old 11-05-14, 05:28 PM
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Great advice all, thanks. The cabinets won't be coming off the walls for another week or two so we'll have some time to look into this. Fortunately there seems to be a wire chase the length of the house, and if we are lucky we will be able to fish some new wire through there, maybe by disconnecting one of the old ones. We will start identifying circuits and see where we're at. Looks like the kitchen will need a minimum of 6 circuits.

1). fridge
2). dishwasher & disposal
3). small appliance 1 - 1/2 of countertop outlets
4). small appliance 2 - 1/2 of countertop outlets
5). microwave
6). ceiling lights and under cabinet lighting

It sounds like his plan is to run a new wire down the chase to the main breaker panel in order to set up a new subpanel in an unfinished room in the basement beneath the kitchen. This should enable us to run all new grounded wire to all the above, as some of you have recommended.

The 2 fuse box would be replaced that way. I think it currently runs the basement washer/dryer and maybe dishwasher (saw a new wire, figured that was a recent upgrade). Or maybe that's the single gang fused box that's directly above it... haven't looked at it real close yet.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 05:43 PM
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The refrigerator can be on one of the small appliance branch circuits. If the MW is a countertop one it too can be on the 20 amp SABC. Over the range MW call for a dedicated circuit.

I don't see anything for a stove or oven.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 06:52 PM
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Oh yeah.

#1 will be oven/stove... and fridge will combine with one of the small appliance. But I suppose the fridge should be the first one on that load line... followed by the gfci? or doesn't it matter?
 
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Old 11-05-14, 07:02 PM
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The refrigerator should be fine downstream of a gfi.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 05:04 PM
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OK, got a "little more" info today. The main breaker panel is 150A and still has some space in it, but like I mentioned earlier, the top of the panel- south end of the house- is impossible to get to (without destroying the finished basement ceiling, and they don't want to open that can of worms).

So since we are moving the oven anyway, dad is planning on pulling the existing 240V line that feeds the oven (its on a 50A breaker) back down into the basement and using it to feed a new subpanel- north end of the house- directly below the kitchen. It looks like currently the old 2-fuse subpanel plus an additional 1 fuse box is being fed by/comes down out of the existing oven plug.

I guess my question would be, should we upgrade the existing 50A breaker to something larger so that the subpanel could be larger too? Say, maybe a 70A breaker and 70A subpanel?

It would then feed everything in the remodelled kitchen...

1). new oven location
2). dishwasher & disposal
3). small appliance 1 - 1/2 of countertop outlets + refrigerator
4). small appliance 2 - 1/2 of countertop outlets
5). microwave

plus all the stuff that was formerly run by the old fuse subpanel... which I believe is the basement washer/dryer and garage outlets/lights, and maybe it currently feeds the dishwasher.

The kitchen lights would still be fed by the original breaker panel.

Seems like over half the total power consumption will need to come from this new subpanel, just would like a 2nd opinion on the size. Can't tell you the exact size of the wire currently feeding the oven, but I believe it's the old SE cable... about 1" wide and 5/8" thick. The location of this subpanel will probably a good 35-40 feet from the breaker panel.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 05:28 PM
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The issue is going to be that if you have SE cable you have three conductors and you need 4 to feed the sub panel.

Also the breaker cannot be increased as the wiring would be too small for the increased ampacity.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 05:54 PM
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Hmm, I wondered about that. We would either need to pull a new ground wire from the breaker panel, or pull a whole new wire, correct?

If we just pulled a new ground wire, and kept the 50A breaker, do you think a 50A subpanel will be large enough to run all that? I'm thinking not.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 06:36 PM
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All the conductors need to be run together so a new cable would be needed.

The oven could be the deciding factor on feeder size.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 09:21 PM
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Spoke to Dad, he thinks the service cable has the braided ground and that it will work if we want to put in a 50A subpanel. If not, we will probably end up disconnecting it from the box and use it to pull a new wire through the chase. I'd be in favor of pulling new wire to get a bigger subpanel. Who knows, I might want to put some heavier garage circuits on it someday.

I'll definitely be looking into what the mfg recommends for the wire and circuit for their oven.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 09:36 PM
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If you only have 3 conductors the panel will only support 120 volts and have half the capacity of the 120/240 panel.

The old cable should be secured to the framing. I doubt you can use it as a pull string.
 
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