An efficient kitchen is determined by the fact that it is easy to access all cabinets, accessories and appliances when you work in it and the proximity to all cooking and baking items. The electrical design of the kitchen can also hinder its efficiency if it does not provide sufficient lighting in the right areas or enough containers in all the right places.
All of this needs to be carefully considered in the planning stage of the kitchen area because once you have completed your kitchen renovations there is a good chance that you will have to live with all its shortcomings and frustrations for many years to come, each when the switch goes off when you start the microwave or toaster while something else is on, or when you need to move closer to an outlet with your bowl and baking ingredients because the nearest container is out of reach.
With the design of cabinets and appliances already determined, you need to decide where and how many containers you should have according to the electrical code and from there at what height each container would be the most practical for you in your kitchen.
. The guidelines from NEC and ADA.
Because the NEC (National Electrical Code) has no provision for the installation height of containers above the kitchen floor – or any floor – many builders tend to follow the ADA (American Disability Act) and therefore guarantee that their installation will be accessible to the disabled. The ADA indicates at least 380 mm (3 inches) from the floor and depending on the circumstances, the maximum height being between 48 and 54 inches (approximately 1.2 – 1.4 m).
2. Set of kitchen containers.
The kitchen is safe where the concentration of appliances is greatest in a house and many of these appliances are equipped with heaters or powerful motors – such as toasters, kettles, slow cookers, coffee makers, stand mixers and many more – which makes it necessary to have some electrical outlets around the worktops that can deliver higher current.
The fact that often more than one of these will be used at the same time as a given, the walls above the countertops where the appliance will rest should provide enough outlets to activate each individual appliance, some of them with 20 amperes (Figure 1) instead of the more common 15 amperes (Figure 2).
There is also the fact that a 15 amp switch will not provide a toaster and a microwave and a kettle at the same time without tripping, so two or more switches should supply the kitchen containers with at least one of them with 20 amps and while connecting to sockets, you should switch their location between each line from different switches so that each subsequent outlet around the countertops comes from a different source. For all containers within 24 inches of a sink, you must use a GFCI socket (Figure 3) to prevent the risk of shock.
The five rules based on the devices.
3.1-Electrical appliances in the kitchen usually have an average length of about 2 feet, so the containers should be placed no more than 4 meters apart – the measurement ends where a stove, a refrigerator, a sink or the end of that section of the countertop creates the “break in the counter surface”. With this distance of 48 inches, wherever you find a good place on the counter to set your blender or your coffee maker, there is always a socket nearby.
3.2-All bench surfaces of 12 inches or more should have a nearby container (within 24 inches) with the subsequent container within 48 inches.
3.3-An 18 inch countertop next to a sink should have a container.
3,4The holders must be within 24 inches of a stove, refrigerator, sink or other countertops.
3,5-Islands and peninsulas that have a bench surface that is deeper than 12 inches and at least 24 inches long must have containers according to the same distance rules and installed in the cabinet side no more than 12 inches below the countertop, as by the way, should have no more than a 6-inch overhang.
4. Under countertops.
The code allows the installation of electrical outlets inside the cabinets, but they must be within 12 inches below the worktop.
5. Cabinet height
There is no specific height at which containers are usually installed behind a countertop. But one thing you can be sure of is that the finished layout does not look as good if the sockets are not at the same height. Do not forget that at the height you install them, they will be very visible, even with appliances in front.
What the code states is to install at a general height between 15 and 20 inches from the counter surface. So what you can do before you start is make sure that there are no obstacles along the walls that would cause one of the outlets to be released just a little but enough to ruin the overall look of your finished work.
Never forget that a poorly designed kitchen will leave you running to get food instead of you being able to improve your cooking skills and experiences in your own space.