Having electricity is an easily overlooked luxury for people living in the United States, or any developed country for that matter. Electricity is all around us, coursing through the walls, down highways, illuminating the midnight skyline. It allows us to conveniently meet our basic needs, and being without it makes the simplest of tasks seemingly impossible. The only time our dependency becomes real and palpable is when there is a power outage.
Aside from an entire blackout or citywide outage, we can experience centralized power outages in our homes as a result of overloading our circuit breakers or outlets. To ensure that we don’t overburden our home’s circuit breakers, it is wise to understand your electrical needs. If you haven’t ever heard the term ‘dedicated circuit’, now is the time to pay attention.
What is a Dedicated Circuit?
As the name suggests, a dedicated circuit is an electrical circuit that is entirely dedicated to a single electrical appliance or application. If you have ever taken a close look at your breaker box, you should see labels for different parts of your home. Maybe one switch says ‘guest bathroom’ or ‘garage’, and another is labeled ‘kitchen’ or ‘master bedroom’.
It is common for each room of a household to have its own dedicated circuit. Now imagine that you installed circuits that are solely dedicated to large appliances that expend a sizeable amount of electricity all on their own. That would be considered a ‘dedicated circuit’.
Dedicated circuits ensure that your home’s major appliances have access to enough electricity and aren’t forced to compete with other devices. Having dedicated outlets installed in your home is both a safety measure and improves functionality. It will improve the overall integrity of your home’s electrical system.
Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?
In short, yes. There are several factors to consider. For instance, how many people are living in the household and how many heavy-duty appliances are turned on 24/7. Another circumstance to consider is when the home or business was built. Older constructions weren’t built with modern appliances or electronics in mind. So if you own an older home, or are thinking of buying one, you may want to consider updating your breaker box to include dedicated circuits for newer appliances. This is especially the case in kitchens.
Modern kitchens may look streamlined and sleek, but they do use a substantial amount of electricity. Even appliances that are touted as being energy-efficient still gobble up a lot of wattage. If you consider all the conveniences and elements that are now integrated into newer kitchens, it is easy to see how a single circuit could be overloaded if everything was reliant on it.
If you have two or more appliances or devices connected to a single circuit, you run the risk of overloading it and burning a fuse, which causes your breaker to trip. Again, this is a more common occurrence in older homes. Even portable appliances like vacuum cleaners can overwhelm a circuit if someone happens to be using a hairdryer at the same time. But this is unlikely to happen in newer homes.
Most newly constructed kitchens are built with dedicated circuits in mind. They are designed to accommodate multiple appliances and typically have anywhere from 4-7 dedicated 20-amp circuits. Ensuring that each appliance has a dedicated circuit can ensure your electrical system stays in good condition.
Other issues you can avoid if you install dedicated circuits in your home:
- Damage to appliances
- Potential electrical shock
- Electrical fires
- Flickering lights
- Tripped breakers
- Fried fuses
What Appliances Should Have Their Own Dedicated Circuit?
Dedicated circuits are ideal for any appliance or household device that consumes a considerable amount of electricity on a consistent basis. These can be broken up into two categories… Fixed appliances and portable appliances. Here is a list of fixed and portable appliances that should have dedicated circuits.
- HVAC Systems Like Heating & Cooling Systems
- Refrigerators and/or Freezers
- Hot Water Heaters
Portable Appliances Include:
- Window A/C Units
- Toaster Ovens
- Space Heaters
For smaller appliances that aren’t always in-use, your electrician may suggest installing ‘general use’ circuits throughout your house. Most bathrooms have a general use circuit that safely allows you to use a hairdryer without it tripping the breaker.
Dedicated Circuit Installation Los Angeles
If you are buying or remodeling an older home, or are about to start construction on a new home, you’ll need an experienced electrician to install dedicated circuits throughout your home. Express Electrical is here to help. We are a trusted electrician that services clients throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura County.