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Thread: Dedicated circuit for domestic refrigerator

  1. #1
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    Dedicated circuit for domestic refrigerator

    What provision of the NEC, if any, requires that ALL domestic type refrigerators be on a dedicated circuit. This is not about the large high end units such as those by SubZero, but the common GE, Whirlpool, etc type found in every home improvement and appliance store.

  2. #2
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    There is no such rule in the NEC. Instead, there is a rule that says that every receptacle that serves a kitchen countertop has to be on a 20 amp "small appliance branch circuit." That rule has an exception that allows a household fridge to be on its own dedicated 15 amp circuit. That is an "it is OK" kind of rule, not a "it must be done this way" kind of rule.

    I don't have my copy of the NEC handy. It is possible that the most recent version might have a different requirement. But I would suggest looking for the phrase "small appliance branch circuit," somewhere around article 210.11 (or it might be 210.52).
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  3. #3
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    In addition to what Charlie said, 110.3(B) requires that the listing and labeling instructions for a listed product be followed. So if the installation instructions for the fridge require a dedicated branch circuit it could be deemed a requirement.

    Chris

  4. #4
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    dedicated circuit

    Concur with the requirement if the manufacturer's instructions says "dedicated circuit". Familiar with the small appliance circuit requirements and don't find any specifics for the refrigerator in general. The requirement for a dedicated circuit being required for all refrigerators recently came up in an analysis of the design and installation of a manufactured home. (Yes I know that HUD regulates the design and construction of manufactured homes including references to the the NEC).

    Thanks for your input.

  5. #5
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    It could be a local amendment. Personally i think it should be required but it is not by NEC. Watch out for it being in specks of mfgr.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim W in Tampa View Post
    It could be a local amendment. Personally i think it should be required but it is not by NEC. Watch out for it being in specks of mfgr.
    Why should it be required? IMO it would be a huge waste.

    I see manufacturers specs that require a dedicated 15 amp circuit on fridges that draw under 5 amps. Just plain nonsense.
    There are two kinds of people - those smart enough to know they don’t know, and those dumb enough to insist they do.-----Margery Eagan

    Open shop since 1988

  7. #7
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    my refrigerator at home pulls 6.4 amps so a dedicated circuit would not be required,an old electrician i know used to put the refrigerator and kitchen lights on the same circuit,i dont see a problem with this at all,but this was before afci breakers came along.and im not talking about custom homes with 20 can lights in the kitchen,im talking about a 1500 sf house with 1 or 2 lights in the kitchen

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by arits74 View Post
    my refrigerator at home pulls 6.4 amps so a dedicated circuit would not be required,an old electrician i know used to put the refrigerator and kitchen lights on the same circuit,i dont see a problem with this at all,
    You might not see a problem with it but it certainly is not NEC compliant.
    There are two kinds of people - those smart enough to know they don’t know, and those dumb enough to insist they do.-----Margery Eagan

    Open shop since 1988

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by electricmanscott View Post
    Why should it be required? IMO it would be a huge waste.

    I see manufacturers specs that require a dedicated 15 amp circuit on fridges that draw under 5 amps. Just plain nonsense.
    Guess depends on value you place on whats in it. If it is on a SA circuit and trips without you knowing it and your gone all day you will rethink it. Happens just once and you lost more more food than the cost of dedicated. Up to you. Required no but sure is good idea.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by electricmanscott View Post

    I see manufacturers specs that require a dedicated 15 amp circuit on fridges that draw under 5 amps. Just plain nonsense.

    Not really, they are just covering themselves. By requireing a 15 amp dedicated ciruit they are saying that if you do have a dedicated circuit you should not have a problem. If they didn't specifly a dedicated circuit then the customer could assume that they could just plug the appliance into any overloaded general use circuit without having to worry.

    If you were selling millions of appliances wouldn't you want to limit your liability and chances of warranty repair ( and customer complaints ) as much as possible. It doesn't cost them anything to require a dedicated circuit and save a lot of possible head aches.
    90% of doctors don't graduate in the top 10% of the class.

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