Which house appliances require a dedicated electrical circuit in the panel?
Monday, June 11, 2018
Dedicated Circuit = Individual Branch Circuit
Most people understand that “dedicated circuit” means an electrical circuit and breaker that serves only a single appliance or outlet receptacle, but it is not recognized in the National Electrical Code (NEC), which uses the term “individual branch circuit” for essentially the same thing. We will stick with dedicated circuit here anyway.
Any appliance that is fixed in place and/or is necessary for your comfort or safety should have a dedicated circuit, because multiple appliances with a high amperage demand on the same circuit increase the possibly of an overload repeatedly tripping the breaker.
Use Manufacturer’s Instructions
Also, the NEC specifies at 110.3(B) that “listed and labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling,” and manufacturers of major appliances not only specify a dedicated circuit, but also the rating of the breaker serving it.
You should have a dedicated circuit for all the appliances on the following list:
- Central air conditioner or heat pump, both condenser and air handler
- Larger window air conditioners - all 240-volt and any 120-volt when marked by the manufacturer on the side of the unit as “USE ON SINGLE OUTLET CIRCUIT ONLY."
- Water Heater
- Spa tub
- Sump Pump
- Refrigerator - NEC allows it to be on one of the two required small appliance (above-counter) circuits in kitchen but, if not, must be a dedicated circuit. See our blog post Is a refrigerator required to have its own dedicated circuit? for more on this.
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