When planning a new kitchen layout or renovation, we recommend designing a kitchen electrical wiring diagram first. It may seem hardly noteworthy, but your wiring will determine the level of efficiency and function in your kitchen. Plumbing and electrical wiring are two things that you will want to get right.
Your kitchen wiring can affect what appliances you can operate as well as any potential new lighting installations. The convenience and utility of your kitchen are part of your daily life. Your wiring can become a real headache in the near or distant future if not properly planned and installed.
For those who aren’t familiar with this topic, your kitchen wiring consists of various circuits. These circuits are designed and installed to serve different electrical functions and cater to these specific requirements.
For example, your main appliances use a large amount of electrical energy while lighting requires less. To ensure stability and have an organized electrical system, there needs to be a proper diagram drawn up.
Why is an Electrical Wiring Diagram Important?
Wire your kitchen with your grand plan in mind. Have a good idea of what appliances you want in your kitchen. And importantly, keep in mind what other devices you might want to install in the future. Be sure to plan for additional higher electrical and lower electrical outlets throughout your kitchen area.
Remember that you will need to keep some power points easily accessible to operate certain kitchen appliances. Place those power points in the areas of your kitchen that are convenient to reach for regular use. And keep in mind there may be additional appliances that you want to use in the future.
Kitchen wiring plans are an absolute necessity for wiring installations. Usually, it’s the electrician who drafts the plan, and they’ll have invaluable input on placement and functionality.
Consulting with a licensed electrician or electrical engineer is an important step. They are the experts who can help point you on the right path to optimize your surroundings safely. And your ideal kitchen will need to comply with national electrical codes and standards.
However, taking an active role in planning your kitchen wiring is wise. By doing this, you’ll be able to customize your wiring plan to be of most benefit to your household.
How to go about Designing Your Kitchen Wiring Diagram
Start with a blueprint or layout design of your kitchen. On the layout, be sure to add all your major appliances and where you want them placed in your kitchen. The electrical wiring runs along the walls, so all circuits in the diagram will start from the walls.
You will need dedicated circuits for some appliances with the voltage and amp specifications for each written on the diagram. Also, kitchen diagrams use some standardized symbols, so be sure to use those when applicable to avoid any possible confusion. If you need more information and want to delve deeper into this, there are many easy-to-find sources online.
What are Home Runs?
So most kitchens utilize two “home runs.” A “home run” is essentially one circuit with three to four power points on it. These will work for minor appliances and other smaller electrical utilities.
With these, you can add a set of 3 – 4 power points on either side of the room. You do this by placing two home runs along the walls wherever you think best. If you place these power points near your kitchen sink or any area exposed to water, It is a mandatory NEC standard to use both AFCI and GFCI for these access points.
Lighting usually is in panels for groups of lights, based on preference. You can have multiple panels or light power points in your kitchen. However, keep in mind that low-voltage emergency lighting requires different panels from the others.
Be sure to refer to some diagram examples online or consult with an electrician to help you get started. A kitchen diagram can be tricky to put together. But with the right information and advice, you can have more confidence in your layout.
Things to Keep in Mind when Designing your Electrical Wiring:
National Electrical Codes and Standards
National Electrical Codes are general standards and electrical practices to be followed when installing electrical wiring in your home. The National Fire Protection Agency sets these standards and provides guidelines on implementing these practices for most households. However, depending on criteria set by your local authority, some of these guidelines may change.
GFCI and AFCI protection are two criteria that are currently mandatory for home wiring. GFCI prevents electrocutions in the home, especially with power points near water.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) sense the difference between the amount of electricity flowing into a circuit against that which is flowing out. It is when there is a change in the flow of electricity that electrocution becomes a dangerous risk. A GFCI senses this change and cuts off the power immediately.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) are devices that sense any sparking or arcing when electricity jumps between faulty wire connections. Whenever this happens, there is a risk of an electrical fire. AFCIs prevent this by shutting down the current flow during these situations.
Other National Electrical Codes (NEC) and Standards dictate the number of circuits and methods allowed for conducting electrical currents through a household. Another dictate concerns adjustments in ampacity based on temperature and exposure to different factors.
You must note these specifications when designing your electrical wiring diagram, as they can determine which circuits run where.
The Layout of your Kitchen
When designing your kitchen wiring diagram, consider the general layout of the kitchen. How close are the power outlets to the sink? How will you position your appliances on your countertops?
It’s also important to consider the position of the various types of lighting you may want. But keep in mind that there should be flexibility in design for the near or distant future.
Even though it may not seem pertinent now, there are many aspects of your kitchen that you might want to consider changing later. When designing your electrical wiring plan, keep in mind common power points and potential requirements apart from your layout design.
If you plan on catering specifically to your current kitchen layout, do it in such a way that you can make changes or renovate with minimal effort.
Many well-designed homes built decades ago kept in mind general wiring requirements, and because of this, they require little to no tweaking on upgrades or additions.
So set the wiring arrangement you opt for around a general idea of what appliance or lighting feature will go where.
Also read: 5 Ways to Plan Your Kitchen Layout
The Appliances you Plan on Using
Before you go about putting your wiring diagram together, you should have a good idea of which appliances you will be using and the lighting you will need. Kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator, electrical chimney, cooking range, dishwasher, and garbage disposal consume more power and require dedicated circuits.
As some devices are susceptible to damage from electrical fluctuations or surges, you must identify the various outlets that might require additional power and plan beforehand.
Often, people choose to place additional lighting over the kitchen sink and near the stove. While it can help minimize electricity usage when you’re in the kitchen, it’s also a convenience that many expect. So it is a feature to consider when designing your wiring plan.
You should also add provisions for task-based lighting where kitchen cabinets will be installed, even if there might not be an immediate requirement. Under-cabinet and cabinet lightings are convenient additions and upgrades to your kitchen. Adding a lighting panel that might be of later use could be a smart move to make.
Most minor kitchen appliances do not require a dedicated circuit and will use the general power points. However, when designing your kitchen, be sure to have some power points that can support higher power usage just in case. You want to avoid tripping the circuit breaker.
Consulting with a Licensed Electrician
While you now have a general idea of what to keep in mind when designing your kitchen electrical wiring diagram, be sure to consult with a licensed electrician. There are many technicalities and specifications to observe. Kitchen wiring done improperly is both expensive to redo and a safety hazard.
First, we recommend having a good idea of the needs of your household when designing your kitchen electrical wiring diagram. Next, reach out to a contractor or licensed electrician to gain advice on the most feasible plan for your home.
Taking an active interest in your electrical wiring will pay off in the long run. Familiarity with your wiring diagram and layout is important knowledge to possess. It can come in handy during future renovations or even when doing quick fixes yourself later on.
What you know now about designing a kitchen electrical wiring diagram will guide you in making better decisions for your home and household.