When you decide to remodel your kitchen, you likely focus on the most exciting replacements, such as new countertops and appliances. But remodeling is also the ideal time for functional improvements. If you're getting new appliances, an electrical overhaul is likely a requirement as well.
The next time you plan to remodel your kitchen, remember to set aside 5 percent of your budget for electrical work alone. Making major electrical improvements while your kitchen is already partially demolished for a remodel will ensure it functions well for years to come. Consider these electrical updates.
1. Swap to GFCI Outlets
Ground fault circuit interrupting outlets, or GCFI outlets, are essential for rooms like the kitchen that can have high humidity levels and splashes of water potentially reaching the outlets. When a drop of water accidentally causes a short circuit in an outlet, the outlet will shut itself off to prevent potentially life-threatening electrocution risks.
Most kitchens, unless they've been built or remodeling in the last few years, are lacking these safer outlets. Having your old outlets replaced during a remodel only adds a little extra cost to the project and greatly increases your safety as you cook and clean.
2. Add Extra Circuits
You might think of the outlets in your kitchen as all connected to the same power source, but only a limited number of outlets can run to each circuit in your home's power box. Most busy kitchens need six circuits or more because large appliances must run on a dedicated circuit and only a few smaller appliances can share each one.
In general, you'll need several circuits in the kitchen. You'll want one outlet every four to six feet to prevent trip hazards and to make sure you have enough outlets for all your kitchen appliances. To do this, add a few outlets and a new circuit or two during your remodel.
3. Wire New Appliances
Even when you don't need new or upgraded outlets, you'll likely need to bring in an electrician if you're upgrading your range, oven, dishwasher, or other major appliance. Installing a more powerful appliance may require you to upgrade from standard 110 or 120-volt outlets to outlets with dedicated and properly sized circuits.
Refrigerators can vary in the amount of power they require, but stoves and ovens, in particular, are known for requiring 240-volt outlets on their own circuits. Only a licensed electrician can handle this kind of remodeling step because it requires modification of the home's power box.
4. Increase the Lighting
Lighting is one of the most common improvements included in a kitchen remodel, but many homeowners limit their choices because they don't want to hire an electrician for hardwiring new fixtures. However, an electrician is well worth the cost because the best and most light-providing fixtures require hard wiring.
Multiple types of lighting are available to improve your kitchen experience. Start with task lighting, preferably provided by adjustable fixtures like track lights so you can brighten your work areas as needed. Consider spot lighting as well to light up your favorite display of dishes or artwork.
5. Upgrade Your Switches
Finally, don't forget about the switches you use to control lighting and other features in the kitchen. If your kitchen has multiple entryways, try three-way switches so you can turn the lights on and off conveniently regardless of which way you enter. Switches for potentially dangerous features like the garbage disposal should be located away from the reach of kids and near the fixture they control so it's easy to find them.
When you're ready to work on the electrical system in your kitchen, we're prepared to help here at Nicotri Electric, Inc. Reach out to us for assistance when planning for your next remodel.