With all the various appliances and processes, there’s an increased risk of malfunctions, shock injuries, and electrical fires. That’s why you should review and update your kitchen’s electrical system every once in a while.
Here are a few key steps to doing it right.
Assess the current safety level
Kitchens are hubs of electrical activities. We are so used to the many devices featured in the space that we can overlook some of them.
However, they all add up to a considerable strain on your home’s electrical capacity. Such a strain puts the system at risk of overload and malfunctioning.
Obviously, the most demanding appliances are the largest ones. These include the dishwasher, electric oven, stove, refrigerator, and freezer.
Then there is the kitchen water heater, built-in ventilation system, and nearby air conditioning. Even if they aren’t in the kitchen space itself, they may be connected to the same circuit breaker.
On top of those, consider the minor spenders such as blenders, electric kettles and, of course, lighting fixtures. If you have something like an ice machine, add that to the list as well. That’s already quite a few things feeding on your home’s electric energy reserves.
When all of them are constantly plugged in over a long period of time, they can weaken the system and increase the risk of hazards. Therefore, electrical system safety assessment is a major factor in a kitchen remodel.
These are some warning signs you should watch out for:
- Appliance switches getting hot
- Disfigured panels
- Nearby lights dimming when an appliance is switched on
- Bulbs or fuses blowing out
- Broken outlets
- Unusually high electricity bills for your home size
If you notice any of these, you might be dealing with faulty installations. Make sure to address the issue before you undertake any comfort-oriented updates.
Decide when to call in the experts
If your kitchen update requires some safety work, you’re better off leaving it to professionals. In fact, depending on your area of residence, you may be legally obliged to.
For example, in Australia, the Electrical Safety Act forbids people from DIY-ing even something like a replacement light switch or repairing a heater.
Best stay on the safe side of law and hire a local expert.
For example, consider a reliable Brisbane electrician if you live in South East Queensland. You want someone who has experience with the grid in your area and is closely familiar with the local legislation.
Keep in mind that not all electricians offer the same services. Do some research into their different levels and licenses.
Once you figure out the type of electrician you need, shop around for one whose location, reputation, and rates suit your needs.
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Plan for your personal comfort
After you make sure that your kitchen is no longer a lurking hazard to your physical safety, you can get to the fun part. Think about how to make it the most convenient possible space for you.
Since we’re talking about updating the electrical system itself, now is the perfect time for all those overwhelming tasks that minor home projects somehow forbid.
Are you dissatisfied with how your outlets are arranged? Did you ever have to use an extension cord in your kitchen?
Maybe you’d prefer that the oven wasn’t directly above the fridge. Assess every aspect of your kitchen’s electrical layout. It’s amazing to which extent it dictates your everyday use of the space.
A good way to start is to consider your cooking style. It determines the ingredients and appliances you use, how often, and in which way.
Is there a cuisine you prefer? Are you a Chef From Scratch or an Instant Noodle Wizard type? Your kitchen should be tailored to the time and effort you spend on food prep every day.
Once you figure out your ideal kitchen, you’ll instantly have a clearer idea of the electrical system it requires.
For example, if you frequently use high-power appliances like a dishwasher, you might need to add an extra circuit. This increases the coverage area and eases the load.
If you rely a lot on blenders, electric kettles, and the like, that means many small appliances with short cords. You’ll need many outlets set low above the counter and not too far apart from each other.
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Updating your kitchen’s electrical system boils down to a balancing act. On the one hand, cover your legal bases. Bring your installations up to code and keep them within safety standards.
On the other, tailor the layout to your habits and cooking style. Keep both in mind and get the most out of your space.
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