Dedicated circuit for domestic refrigerator

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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.
 

charlie b

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Seattle, WA
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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).
 

raider1

Senior Member
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Location
Logan, Utah
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
 
dedicated circuit

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.
 

electricmanscott

Senior Member
Location
Boston, MA
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.
 

arits74

Senior Member
Location
dixie arkansas
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
 

electricmanscott

Senior Member
Location
Boston, MA
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.
 

Jim W in Tampa

Senior Member
Location
Tampa Florida
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.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
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.
 

charlie b

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Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
. . . 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.
I am not so sure. But my code book is not handy, and I am working from memory, and might have this wrong. I think that if the location of the fridge is such that its receptacle could never be construed as possibly serving the kitchen countertop, and it therefore just like any other wall receptacle, then it does not have to be on an SABC, and it can share with lights.


Someone please check me on this detail: do the receptacles (if any exist) that are (let us say) 18" above the floor on a kitchen wall that does not have a countertop need to be on an SABC?
 

Jim W in Tampa

Senior Member
Location
Tampa Florida
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.

Exactly and also because it required the dedicated circuit we must install it. What does customer do if they buy a new frig and do not have a dedicated circuit ? At a high price they might be able to have one installed. Far cheaper to just but it in to begin with. We can afford some circuits triping but not this one.
 

jumper

Senior Member
I am not so sure. But my code book is not handy, and I am working from memory, and might have this wrong. I think that if the location of the fridge is such that its receptacle could never be construed as possibly serving the kitchen countertop, and it therefore just like any other wall receptacle, then it does not have to be on an SABC, and it can share with lights.

Someone please check me on this detail: do the receptacles (if any exist) that are (let us say) 18" above the floor on a kitchen wall that does not have a countertop need to be on an SABC?
I think it has to be on SABC or a dedicated circuit:
210.52(B)

(1) Receptacle Outlets Served. In the kitchen, pantry,
breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch
circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and
floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop
outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for
refrigeration equipment.

Exception No. 1: In addition to the required receptacles
specified by 210.52, switched receptacles supplied from a
general-purpose branch circuit as defined in 210.70(A)(1),
Exception No. 1, shall be permitted.

Exception No. 2: The receptacle outlet for refrigeration
equipment shall be permitted to be supplied from an individual
branch circuit rated 15 amperes or greater.
 

charlie b

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Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Thanks, Derek. I withdraw my comment. Sharing a fridge receptacle an lights is indeed a violation, as electricmanscott correctly pointed out.
 

electricmanscott

Senior Member
Location
Boston, MA
Exactly and also because it required the dedicated circuit we must install it. What does customer do if they buy a new frig and do not have a dedicated circuit ? At a high price they might be able to have one installed. Far cheaper to just but it in to begin with. We can afford some circuits triping but not this one.
Jim I think you are worrying over nothing. Fridges are using less and less power these days.

I was on a kitchen job today where they had a full size fridge that draws 4.3 amps and an undercounter fridge that draws 2.3. Both "recommended" dedicated circuits. I put them both on one 20. I know it is unlikely that there will never be an issue.
 

S'mise

Senior Member
Location
Michigan
syntax

syntax

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).
I agree with everything said, But;
"Every receptacle that serves countertop...." How does a fridge outlet "serve countertop"? It's blocked behind the appliance. And how is a fridge a "small" appliance? Ever try moving one?

On a side note, If the instruction say "dedicated" circuit it could be argued that it does not have to be an "individual" circuit. ....I dedicate this side of the house for my computers. :roll:
 

George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
Re: Dedicated circuit for domestic refrigerator

How does the receptacle behind the fridge serve the countertop?
It doesn't, and the code didn't say it does. It said the wall, counter and refrigeration receptacles shall be served by the SABCs.
 

rt66electric

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
If money was not the object

If money was not the object

I guess the reason I can't compete with the romex jockey's price of $2 a sqft is because, I would put the fridge on a individual 20amp circuit. Why?? because it would make good common sense to put the fridge on its own durn circuit.

Is it common "cents" to do the bare minimum????? ,OR, common "sense" to do a good job.

Who is the cutomer??


NEC??


Builder??? >>>>>who pays the lowest, as long as it passes inspection????? >>>> Which, is easy to do if the local small town inspector is " has no clue about NEC, but , Knows the basics (like labeling the panel- staples every now-and-then )

OR

Is It the final customer>>>>>>,( who actually knows your name) and, who will realize how good/bad of job you have done, two years later?????

Or

Is it your pride- knowing that you have done a job that will have no problems, and not having any call-backs????

I do NOT work for the bottom dollar contractor( I charge to much to do good work for a fair price- (I will not settle for the NEC bare minimum) or cut corners to save 10ft of romex The local inspecctor cannot enforce-or-does not know enough-or- have the B#LLS to emilinate HACK WORK.

My NEW Customers call me after someone else has recieved a inspection and wants the job fixed. OLD customer call me first.

I apologize and thank you for reading my LATE Night rant DENNIS
 

electricmanscott

Senior Member
Location
Boston, MA
I guess the reason I can't compete with the romex jockey's price of $2 a sqft is because, I would put the fridge on a individual 20amp circuit. Why?? because it would make good common sense to put the fridge on its own durn circuit.

Is it common "cents" to do the bare minimum????? ,OR, common "sense" to do a good job.
Is putting a fridge that draws 4.3 amps on it's own 20 amp circuit really good common sense? I'd say it's wasting the customers money which is bad common "cents".
 
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