Electrical planning:

Since the kitchen is one of the most used rooms of a home, it tend to have a lot of electrical services run to it and since we were stripping the kitchen down to the studs we have an opportunity to completely replace and update the electrical service.  It also gives me an opportunity to fix things like:

Some people’s kids! Sheesh, there is no excuse for this kind of stuff. The really, really, really stupid thing is that the outlet was still connected and powered.

This was found behind the back splash.  The previous owners “updated” the kitchen with new counter tops, back splash and, tile floor.  The workmanship was pretty sub-par on all the projects they did, which is one of the reasons we moved forward with the renovations.  The outlet pictured above was still live.  This was downstream from a GFCI outlet, so I imagine that until the mud dried in the box they were not able to reset the GFCI since the wet mud would have kept tripping the circuit.  Why they didn’t just cut a hole in the back splash is beyond me.  There were too few outlets along the counter top to begin with, so why would they eliminate one?  Anyway, seeing this made me realize that it was probably best to just tear it all out and start over where possible.

I was also faced with panels that look like this:

Left panel
Right Panel

They work, but they are a mess which makes tracing the circuits more difficult.  There are also cables that apparently have been eliminated during previous renovations and just left disconnected and tucked into the panels.

No idea where this goes.

Anyway, suffice it to say that correcting the problems with the electrical will take place when I pull new circuits.

I sat down and listed out the circuits I would need:

First I would need a bunch of dedicated circuits required by code.

  • Double Oven – 8/3 – 40A
  • Single Convection Oven / Microwave Combo – 8/3 – 30A
  • Induction Cooktop – 6/3 – 50A
  • Dishwasher 1 – 12/2 – 20A
  • Dishwasher 2 – 12/2 – 20A
  • Disposal – 12/2 – 20A
  • Refrigerator 1 – 12/2 – 20A
  • Refrigerator 2 – 12/2 – 20A
  • Wine Refrigerator – 12/2 – 20A
  • Downstairs Washing Machine – 12/2 – 20A
  • Downstairs Dryer – 10/3 – 30A
  • Water Heater – 10/3 – 30A

I also need a bunch of receptacles in various places.  Since I don’t know what the load is going to be I have to use a rule of thumb for how many I can put on the circuit.  For a 20 amp circuit, I don’t want to use more than 80% of the circuit’s capacity, which gives me 16 amps.  If I assign a load of 1.5 amps to each outlet, then it allows me 10 outlets on a 20 amp circuit.  Many kitchen appliances like toasters or toaster ovens will draw more than 1.5 amps (considerably more), so for the kitchen I modify the rule of thumb to 6 outlets per 20 amp circuit.  I don’t know what will be plugged in to each receptacle in the future and used concurrently so I’m trying to size this on the conservative side.

So for the kitchen I’ll have three 20 amp circuits for receptacles.  I’m pulling 1 for the utility room and rear entryway (mudroom, breezeway, or whatever else we’re calling it), one for the dining room and two for the living room.

  • Kitchen 1
  • Kitchen 2
  • Kitchen 3
  • Utility
  • Dining

For lighting circuits, I’m pulling:

  • Accent lighting throughout (under cabinet, toe kick, and crown lighting)
  • Living room cans
  • Kitchen lights
  • Dining lights

I’m using all LED lighting so I’m not at all concerned about overloading the lighting circuits.

Finally in the miscellaneous category:

For the crawlspace I’m going to pull or re-pull:

  • a circuit for lights, since there is only 1 light fixture currently in the crawlspace
  • a new dedicated circuit for the radon remediation system
  • re-pull the air handler circuit (just to change the routing of the cables).
  • re-pull the well pump circuit.

Since I have access to the upstairs bathrooms from below, I am also going to pull a circuit that will be near the toilets so the girls can have heated toilet seats.

I’ve not mentioned the floor heating circuits.  According to the vendor for the floor heating, I’m going to need 5 double pole circuits for the downstairs.  These aren’t high amperage, but they do take up a lot of space in the panel.  I’m planning on putting radiant floor heat in the upstairs as well, so I’m going to go ahead and pull 4 additional circuits for the upstairs.  This will give me 4 zones of heating (one for each room and one for the hall and bathroom).  I need to verify with my floor guy prior to pulling these circuits though.

Everything else is pretty good.  I’m still going to put in conduit just in case I have to pull cables later.

This also doesn’t mention locations for switches and which ones are 3 and 4 way switches, but that’s still in flux.  Since I’m planning on using smart lights, I’m thinking of not switching some of my lighting circuits.  I’m a little hesitant because of the behaviour of smart lights when there is a power failure.  More on switches later.

That’s pretty much it for the electrical, but like everything else, I’m sure it will change.