Drawing of electrical cord

When Do You Need A Dedicated Circuit?

For the most part, an electrical circuit rated for 15 or 20 amps is more than capable of powering a slew of lights and appliances. However, there are many scenarios where a dedicated circuit that powers just one appliance is required to handle the load. Here are a few appliances that require a dedicated electrical circuit for peak performance and peace of mind.

Stoves

Electric ranges are some of the most power-hungry appliances found in a home. Virtually every stove on the market will require a 240-volt circuit rated for 50 amps. There's no way to safely add another appliance to a circuit that powers an electric oven using commonly available breakers and conduit. A typical stove can draw up to 5,000 watts when pushed to its performance limit.

Laundry Machines

While a standard washing machine draws a fair amount of power, a 120-volt receptacle rated for 20 amps will do the job. If you have a gas dryer, a special 30-amp GFCI outlet can be used to power it and the washer sitting nearby. An electric dryer will require its own dedicated 240-volt circuit rated for 30 amps to ensure safe and reliable operation.

Dishwashers

In most cases, a standard 15-amp circuit using a 14/2 NM conduit is more than capable of powering an off-the-rack dishwasher. If you plan on powering a garbage disposal unit using the same circuit, a 20-amp breaker and 12/2 wire is a must. A GFCI outlet is highly recommended and may be required depending on the local building codes in your particular jurisdiction.

Refrigerators

Since refrigerators can use up to 15 amps on occasion, a 120-volt circuit rated for 20 amps is recommended. A compressor can draw a surprising amount of power for a short period of time when it kicks on. Adding a GFCI outlet is a good idea if it's within 6 feet of a sink or located in an unfinished basement or a garage.

Water Heaters

A garden variety electric water heater requires a dedicated 240-volt circuit controlled by a double-pole breaker rated for 30 amps. If you have a tankless water heater, minimum wiring requirements vary based on the unit in question. Certain all-electric tankless models can draw up to 100 amps. While gas-fired, on-demand water heaters don't use as much juice, they still require a dedicated circuit.

Microwaves

Most common microwaves found in American kitchens need a dedicated 120-volt circuit with a 20-amp breaker for safe operation. Many microwaves produce as much as 1,500 watts when running at peak power. Consequently, a 12/2 NM conduit is a must. Depending on where the microwave is located, a GFCI outlet may be required. For instance, a microwave mounted in a cabinet shouldn't require GFCI protection.

Baseboard Heaters

For all but the smallest of baseboard heaters, a dedicated circuit is a smart choice that will save you a ton of headache and worry. Baseboard heaters can run on either 120 or 240-volt circuits depending on the hardware involved. A 240-volt circuit will result in greater energy efficiency. Due to the many variables involved, only licensed electricians should install dedicated baseboard heater circuits.

Get Your Circuits in Order Without Delay!

When you need superior circuit installation in northern Virginia and beyond, Beacon Home Services is the company to trust. Rest assured, we'll set you up with the right dedicated circuits for your power-hungry appliances in no time, and at a price that's impossible to beat.

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