If you want the appliances in your house to run safely, it is a good idea to understand the importance of dedicated circuits. A dedicated circuit is a circuit that is set aside for a specific purpose, which is, to work with a single appliance only. It will have its own circuit breaker in your electrical box and no other device or appliance will be plugged in to utilize the energy coming from IT. This will ensure that these appliances will be able to draw the current they need without overloading your system, blowing a fuse or tripping an electric circuit.
What Appliances Require Dedicated Circuits?
Dedicated circuits are not only recommended, they are required by the National Electric Code for major appliances. If you notice that certain appliances in your home are constantly tripping an electrical circuit, it may be a good indication that the appliance requires a dedicated circuit. Examples include those that are immobile or with motors. There are also certain appliances that legally require a dedicated circuit. These include:
- Electric ranges
- Wall ovens
- Garbage Disposals
- Space heaters
- Heating and air conditioning units
- Water heaters
- Garage Door openers
- Sump pumps
- Water pumps
- Central vacuums
- Whirlpools/Jacuzzis/hot tubs/saunas
- Specific areas of your home like bathrooms, kitchen counter areas and garages
Importance of Dedicated Circuits
Dedicated circuits are very important in ensuring that your appliances are running safely. Appliances that do not have a dedicated circuit run the risk of drawing more current than the circuit can handle. This can result in tripping breakers, blowing fuses and the overheating of wire insulation which can lead to electrical fires.
You should also make sure that your appliances are wired to a dedicated circuit with the correct wire size and amperage for their needs. If size and amperage are not matched properly, this could also result in overheating that can cause electrical fires to occur.
How Dedicated Circuits Work
Dedicated circuits do more than just supply the right amount of amps to a certain appliance. They also upgrade the wiring, connections and circuit breakers to accommodate the higher loads and increased heating caused by high power appliances. While you could install similar wiring across your entire home, these low gauge wires would be expensive and unnecessary for most applications. Dedicated circuits are efficient and cost effective.
The importance of dedicated circuits is also clear when you consider that it increases the life expectancy of your breaker. If there is a high power load with another appliance, it is likely to overload the circuit, causing it to trip and wear out. If you often find yourself having to reset a tripped breaker, it may be a good idea to simply install a new electrical circuit and split up the number of devices on to dedicated circuits.
Kinds of Dedicated Circuits
It is also important to note that appliances should be wired to dedicated circuits that are the proper size and amperage. If this is not done correctly, it can also lead to overheating. That is why it is best to consult a professional as he will be familiar with what is appropriately needed for each appliance.
There are different amps available when considering dedicated circuits. A 15 to 20 amp circuit works well for mid range items, like hair dryers and toasters. Other items that may work well on these lower amp circuits include:
- Electric ovens
- Garbage disposals
- Washing machines
- Trash compactors
- Space heaters
- Room air conditioners
- Gas furnaces
A circuit that is 30 amps or more will be suitable for heavy duty appliances like dryers. These breakers often offer ‘double-pole’ protection to prevent the circuit from drawing too much power and possibly causing a fire. Other appliances that require a circuit of 30 amps or more include:
- Electric water heaters
- Electric ranges
- Central air conditioners
- Electric furnaces
- Backup heating for heat pump
The exact size circuit you need vary depending on the appliance.
Checking for Dedicated Circuits
To keep your home safe, it’s a good idea to keep your electrical service panel labeled. If all circuits, including dedicated circuits, are labeled, you will be able to tell if any dedicated circuits have been ‘doubled up on’ so that other appliances aren’t running on the same circuit when they shouldn’t be. If this is the case, the labeling system will alert you so that you can move the secondary appliance to another circuit.
Finding a Professional for the Installation of Your Dedicated Circuits
It’s always best to get a professional for the installation of your dedicated circuits. This will guarantee you that all your appliances that require dedicated circuits are equipped, that your electrical panel is properly labeled and, best of all, the process will be done appropriately using the materials, eliminating changes of accidents during and afterwards.
When looking for an electrical service, make sure you are dealing with a licensed and insured professional. It is a good sign if the electrician you use has a few years of service under his belt, as well as some trustworthy recommendations. It is also good if he has experience in the field of work, in this case, the installation of dedicated circuits. Also, he must be prompt, reliable and willing to work within your budget.
Hopefully, this article has made the importance of dedicated circuits clear to homeowners. Getting these for your appliances is safe, cost effective and most likely a legal requirement. You may want to take a look at your electrical panel to see if your appliances are running on dedicated circuits and consult a professional if this is not the case. Get your electrical system running safely and efficiently by making sure there are dedicated circuits in your home.