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:

  •  Furnace
  •  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."


  •  Washer
  •  Dryer
  •  Dishwasher/Disposal
  •  Microwave
  •  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.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRICAL WIRING:

Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit?

Can a short circuit cause a high electric bill?

What is the maximum spacing requirement for securing NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable)?

Why is it unsafe to bond neutral and ground wiring at subpanels?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house?

Why is a strain relief clamp necessary for the cord connection to some electric appliances?  

Does a wire nut connection need to be wrapped with electrical tape?

What is the minimum clearance of overhead electric service drop wires above a house roof?

What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box?

What is the color code for NM cable (Romex®) sheathing?

Why is undersize electric wiring in a house dangerous? 

What causes flickering or blinking lights in a house?

Why are old electrical components not always "grandfathered" as acceptable by home inspectors?

How can I find out the size of the electric service to a house?

Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall? 

What is an open electrical splice?

What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection? 

What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house? 

What is an "open junction box"? 

How dangerous is old electrical wiring? 

What is a ground wire? 

I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?  

    Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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