Appliances & Circuits: How to Install Appliances & New Circuits

Wire Box with Clips

Wiring an electrical appliance such as a dishwasher, disposer, or electric water heater often is the easiest part of a job -- moving the unit in and connecting the plumbing takes most of your time. This section shows how to install many of the most common types of major household appliances. It also walks you through how to run a new circuit if the appliance requires it.

Projects in Appliances & Circuits

Installing a new circuit
Whenever you add a new appliance or upgrade an old one, check the wattage ratings to make sure you don't overload a circuit. With an upgrade you may be surprised to find that your new appliance actually reduces the load. The reason is that many new appliances -- refrigerators, toasters, microwaves, dishwashers, and water heaters, for instance -- use less power than the older models they replace.

Some new appliances -- spas, baseboard heaters, or window air-conditioners -- may need a new circuit. As long as your service panel has room for a new circuit, the wiring is not difficult. Running the cable consumes most of your time.

Before adding a new circuit make sure your basic electrical service can handle the extra load. If not have an electrician upgrade your service.

Adding a subpanel
If the service panel does not have enough room for a new circuit but your basic service can handle the added load, install a subpanel with room for a number of new circuits.

Some of these projects involve 240-volt circuits. The wiring is no more complicated than wiring a 120-volt circuit, but the danger is much greater. A 240-volt shock can be very serious, even fatal. Check your plans with a building inspector. Double-check to see that power is shut off before beginning any work. Call in a professional electrician to advise you or have a pro do the work if you are at all unsure.

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