Kitchen electrical work
It is essential that you get your kitchen electrics right when designing your kitchen – find out how here.
If you are building a new house or just re-doing your kitchen it would be sensible to make sure spend time and money on the electrical work, because this is not a job you will want to revisit afterwards. When planning kitchen electrics there are three main things you will want to consider: the 13 amp socket circuit (for kitchen appliances), the 30 amp supply for high load appliances (such as electric cookers) and the lighting circuits. You must ensure that all three are carefully considered and meticulously planned so the end result is an easy to use kitchen. So what do you need to think about?
- Kitchen design
The design of your kitchen is integral to how you will be able to use it later on, so it’s worth spending a bit of time carefully planning it. Placing the kitchen appliances will be one of the first things in the design process, although a lot of the placement of the 13 amp supply will effectively be decided for you. Whilst appliances such as the washing machine, fridge and dishwasher will be plugged into an ordinary socket, if you have young children you might like to have these sockets concealed below worktop surfaces or behind cabinets and have separate switches to isolate them at a higher level. Aside from the safety of aspect of your kids having a tinker with your electrics, the little adventurers might also accidentally turn off the electricity to your freezer and defrost the entire contents! As for smaller kitchen appliances such as kettles and toasters, you should make a list of all the things you have requiring sockets and then allow a few more into your kitchen your design. Back in the days of the swinging sixties it was common to just have a couple of sockets, these days it’s more like a dozen. You also don’t know how many you’ll require in the future, so bump up the number.
- Kitchen electrics for appliances
There will need to be a separate circuit for high load devices such as the cooker, which should have a separate 30amp circuit breaker on the electrical supply main board; you should design this to be situated close to the meter. You should also note that cookers shouldn’t be plugged in with an ordinary plug and socket; they should be hard-wired into a wall place with an entirely separate switch to isolate the supply when necessary.
- Kitchen lighting and electricity supplies
A few years ago you might have got away with a single bulb in the middle of the kitchen, but things have moved on big time in the world of kitchen lighting. There are generally three types of lighting to pick from;
- Ceiling or wall mounted lights – these are supplied from a 5 amp lighting circuit, usually this is run through the ceiling, and has switches by the entry points. Basically this is the same as a light you would find in any other room, except that you might opt for an adjustable spot light which can direct light where it is most needed (e.g. cooking and cleaning areas).
- Low level lighting – these are used to light up the kitchen work top from underneath the wall cupboards. This extends the options where kitchen design is concerned, as you can now have work tops in dark areas, as this will light them up. This can be done using a lighting circuit or a 13 amp socket supply.
- Low wattage lighting – often uses halogen lighting. This type of lighting has increased in popularity in the UK over the last few years. However halogen lighting has been criticised recently for being environmentally unfriendly, newer versions with LED lights are now available.
- Kitchen electrics and health and safety
In England and Wales the average DIY-er is not allowed to carry out most electrical work due to the high danger levels. If you are confident in your abilities you can do the work yourself but you will have to get it inspected by a building regulations inspector. However, the best option is to hire a professional and properly qualified electrician to do your kitchen electrical work.