In the classic sitcom “Green Acres,” Lisa Douglas has problems with her kitchen appliances. Rather than getting electrical repairs, her husband created a clever numbering system for how much energy each gadget uses. Everything’s fine until she hits her usage limit, which inevitably happens before the end of the episode. If you’ve ever lived in an older house in Champaign, IL that had an overloaded electrical system, you’ve experienced what happens when you don’t have dedicated circuits.

What are Dedicated Circuits?

Nearly every major appliance that plugs into an outlet or is hard-wired to your home’s electrical system has its own circuit. This design prevents over-wattage conditions that lead to tripped breakers, flickering lights, overheating, and safety issues. It also ensures that motorized appliances receive enough power to perform efficiently, especially at startup.

Regular 120-volt outlets sometimes have their own circuit, and larger 240-volt outlets for electric dryers and ranges always do. With a dedicated circuit, the outlet is connected to its own 20-, 30- or 50-amp breaker inside your electrical panel. The circuit isn’t shared with any other outlets, lights, or appliances.

Which Major Appliances Need a Dedicated Circuit?

The National Electrical Code requires dedicated circuits for most major appliances. Here are a few items that should have their own circuit.

  • Electric water heaters
  • HVAC equipment
  • Clothes dryers
  • Electric ranges
  • Microwave ovens
  • Garbage disposals
  • Refrigerators
  • Dishwashers
  • Jacuzzi tubs
  • Sump pumps
  • Central vacuums
  • Garage door openers

Additionally, you may find designated circuits in your garage, laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen to support high-draw appliances that are used in these areas. This list of items includes power tools, washing machines, hair dryers, and stand mixers.

If you’re having trouble with your outlets, call 217-355-9700 to schedule electrical repairs with Mattex Heating Cooling Plumbing and Electrical in Champaign, IL or visit our website to find the office nearest you.


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