What Is a Dedicated Circuit?
When adding a new and heavy appliance to your home, more likely than not, that appliance is going to require a dedicated electrical circuit. A dedicated circuit is used by one appliance only. Meaning the appliance circuit will not be shared with any other devices or appliances. Nothing else is able to draw energy from this appliance's circuit.
Which Appliances Need a Dedicated Circuit?
Most major appliances that require a dedicated circuit for safety, protection, and proper function include:
- Hot tub
- Large kitchen appliances
How to Install a Dedicated Circuit
- To start, a licensed electrical contractor must install a new breaker inside the main electrical panel.
- Next, the contractor needs to run properly sized wiring originating at the newly installed breaker in the panel, all the way to the desired install location of the appliance.
- Finally, that wiring can then be hardwired directly into an electrical device of choice and the appliance can be plugged in.
Cost of a Standard Dedicated Circuit
The main factor that plays a role in determining a dedicated circuit install price is the main panel-to-appliance proximity (or distance). Simply put, the further the distance, the more labor and material required to install the circuit. There is no "one-size fits all". Each dedicated circuit install will differ from location to location so pricing will be custom to the specific to the property layout.
Most of the time, the power source for the appliance must originate from the main electrical panel. When running a new dedicated circuit, wiring must be "fished" or pulled behind walls all the way to the desired appliance location.
As such, the amount of time, effort, and material costs needed for this install varies depending on the following.
- What size wiring is required to be compliant with the appliance's spec requirements?
- How far does the wiring need to be pulled?
- Are you running wiring behind finished walls or are the walls open?
- Does the wiring need to be pulled through concrete or brick?
- Is piping involved?
- How many floors or rooms does the installer have to go though?
Depending on proximity, and other variable obstructions, even what appears to be a close distance may be a more complex case. Consult Spotlight Energy for an exact estimate on appliance dedicated circuits.
Other Factors That Effect Dedicated Circuit Install Pricing
Additional Price Factor: Non-Standard Circuit or Obstructions
There may be certain circumstances where the wiring proximity (or distance) from the main panel is considered non-standard. Examples of non-standard circumstances can be described as:
- When the wiring proximity is an unusually long distance (further than 100ft)
- When underground trenching / digging is required to run the circuit
- When asphalt or concrete work is involved.
- When the wiring path requires the use of a oversized ladder or bucket truck
- When the wiring path requires the access to hard-to-reach areas such as a confined attic or crawl space.
These unusual circumstances can put on additional costs to a standard dedicated circuit price.
Additional Price Factor: Electrical Panel Breaker Space
Does your main electrical panel have enough space to fit a new double-pole circuit breaker in it?
A new heavy appliance is useless without a proper power source. Ensuring that your main electrical panel has enough space to handle a newly installed circuit breaker is a necessary evaluation step.
If it is determined that there is no space left in the main panel, you could see some additional work needed alongside the dedicated circuit itself. These remedies include using specialized tandem breakers, relocation of breakers to a subpanel, or a panel replacements / upgrades may be necessary and can be additional to the total cost.
Additional Price Factor: Electrical Panel Load Capacity
Would adding a new breaker for the appliance put the electrical panel in an "overloaded" state?
Once it has been determined that there is enough space to fit another breaker in your main electrical panel, it's important to ensure that the main electrical panel is not overloaded from this added circuit. Your electrical panel is overloaded when your home’s power usage exceeds what your panel can handle. Overloading a panel continuously leads to severe safety and fire hazards.
Many appliances can become the heaviest and most commonly used appliance within your household or business. This poses a constant demand for a heavy power requirement on your electrical panel so evaluating for this capacity compliance is necessary to ensure a safe install.
If your panel is determined to be overloaded, you could also see more additional work needed alongside the dedicated circuit itself. This remedy may include Panel Upgrades.
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