Hi, In my jurisdiction I am not allowed to do my own electrical, so I have had several "qualified" electricians visit and quote me on the extent and cost of the work required to bring an old gutted kitchen up to code, or better. To prepare myself to evaluate these quotes, I read the appropriate sections of the 2009 CEC. However, it appears that some electricians don't understand the CEC guidelines, or maybe the wording in the document is so ambiguous at times that even they (and myself) are confused by its lack of clarity. I retired after 40 years in a telecommunication job that required understanding highly technical installation and test documents, so electrical terminology is not new to me. However, I find the CEC document very difficult to follow at times.
Here is my understanding of the CEC in relation to the layout of my "new" galley style kitchen and how I think it should be upgraded. I would like some feedback on my understanding (or lack thereof) and my choices.
1/ Fridge - 15A breaker 14/2 wire - no other outlets connected. OK
2/Microwave (over-range) 20A breaker 20A T slot receptacle in cabinet above unit - 12/2 wire - no other outlets connected. (I couldn't find any rule clearly indicating the recommended/required circuit amperage in the CEC, but 20A seems to be the smartest choice.)
3/ GFCI 20A T slot receptacle(within 1m of sink) 20A breaker 12/2 wire. My understanding of the CEC is that a single 20A branch circuit for a kitchen counter-top area can connect to only two receptacles MAXIMUM. In my adjacent-to-sink situation, it looks like I can use a configuration with one GFCI receptacle(Line side connection) and one other 20A T slot non-GFCI (Load side connected off GFCI) receptacle/circuit. (This rule seems to cause the greatest amount of confusion.) Am I correct in interpreting the CEC this way? If so my plan would be to use two 20A T slot GFCI, one on each side of the sink with their loads connected to two non-GFCI 20A t-slot receptacles located above the counter-top across the kitchen. This brings the counter-top receptacles above code - all GFCI. It also eliminates hassles with 3-wire split receptacle arrangements and double pole breakers (which I probably can't get for my old congested panel anyway).
4/ 16" counter-top (left of stove). It appears this area should have its own single branch circuit (rule confusing in CEC - for me at least.) Again, since it is only a matter of time before the CEC requires all counter-top receptacles to be GFCI (like in the NEC) I would rather choose to have a 20A breaker 12/2 wire put in place. The choice is then mine whether to use a non-GFCI or GFCI receptacle at this time.
5/ Overhead lighting will be on the existing wiring.
6/ 30" electric range - wiring existing 8/3 wire - 40A breaker
7/ "Convenience" outlets and under-cabinet lighting - generally 15A. Some electricians said they would multiple from the 20A appliance receptacles to power these up. If I have already MAXED the GFCI set-up in 3/, only the receptacle in 4/ could be used. Is it acceptable to supply these kitchen convenience outlets from the counter-top supplies (assuming they are not MAXED?
In my jurisdiction I am not allowed to do my own electrical, so I have had several "qualified" electricians visit and quote me on the extent and cost of the work required to bring an old gutted kitchen up to code, or better. To prepare myself to evaluate these quotes, I read the appropriate sections of the 2009 CEC.
In your first sentence, you pretty much de-value anyone that you think is of a lesser qualification than yourself. If you were part of the trade that you are taking to task, you would probably know them Codes off by heart. Sorry, but that is my personal feeling.
I guess maybe I should have used the word "licensed" instead of "qualified" - meaning that these people are not DIY freelancers, but tradesmen. My issue is not with the people but with the CEC which is confusing even to people who use it in their day to day occupation.
Sometimes it is good that untrained persons cannot do their own electrical work. A few comments You don't understand loading as illustrated by your circuit sizing for the microwave. You call counter plugs in the kitchen convenience outlets and for the most part convenience outlets do not exist in a kitchen. In my mind convenience outlets are the plugs on general purpose circuits every 12 feet. All counter plugs are required to be appliance circuits so if you have 2 plugs there must be 2 circuits whether 3 wire #14 or 2 wire #12. GFCI protection within 1.5 meters of a sink etc. You cannot have more than 2 outlets on an appliance circuit so it you need more than 4 plugs in a kitchen you need another circuit for the fifth and another if a 7th was required. Since it seems to be your intent to hire a qualified electrical contractor and you bracket this question in that fashion that I answer so you can better evaluate the bids. For an electrical contractor this is bread and butter and he better know this verbatim. I expect you have been told this forum is for qualified persons and we are protective of that. Advice to a qualified person here is understood since we are not trying to provide installation instruction but support to people that have already had the training. The forum would likely close for liability reasons alone if we were trying to teach our craft here.
Enjoy the new kitchen. Granite is easy to live with and stainless looks good for years. I am not a decorator so it is only my opinion ;-)
It appears that when I posted on this site, I unwittingly entered the lion's den. My only purpose was to get a clear understanding of the CEC requirements, so that I can make an informed decision.
Mr Q - re your comments
1/ "You don't understand loading as illustrated by your circuit sizing for the microwave." To the contrary. I am aware that a 15A circuit has been the norm, but with the manufacture of larger over-range units, especially those with exhaust fans, the safe loading value of 80%(12A) on a 15A circuit may be exceeded. Although these units come equipped with what looks like a 15A plug, the installation manuals tell a different story. Since the current draw may be as high as 14A, in some cases, then I felt a 20A circuit SHOULD be provided. Some posts related to US sites state that 20A is now a requirement of the NEC, but I haven't been able to confirm, if that is factual. If so, it is likely the CEC will follow suite in a later issue.
2/"You call counter plugs in the kitchen convenience outlets and for the most part convenience outlets do not exist in a kitchen. In my mind convenience outlets are the plugs on general purpose circuits every 12 feet." I guess you are referring to my 7/. I was not referring to the counter plugs (aka receptacles)as convenience outlets but actually some extra receptacles in parts of the kitchen other than the counter area. My issue is that one electrician said he would multiple to them from the counter receptacles, which is a no-no if there are already two counter receptacles interconnected.
3/ "All counter plugs are required to be appliance circuits so if you have 2 plugs there must be 2 circuits whether 3 wire #14 or 2 wire #12. GFCI protection within 1.5 meters of a sink etc. You cannot have more than 2 outlets on an appliance circuit so it you need more than 4 plugs in a kitchen you need another circuit for the fifth and another if a 7th was required." Your comment confirms that you agree with my 3/ and 7/ in my original post i.e. max. of receptacle on an appliance branch circuit is two (maximum)
Mikesh, Mr.Q is correct about these OTR Microwaves. In my own house when we did the kitchen, we installed one of these units. It came equipped with a 5-15P and I installed a dedicated 15A circuit. It wasn't until I read the instructions on how to mount the thing that I realized that the manufacturer states that it draws 13A. Maybe an Inspector needs to ask why the CSA is approving the sale of appliances in Canada that are coming equipped with a 15A cord end and require more than 12 A.