When Do You Need A Dedicated Circuit? (2023)

Posted on: August 26, 2021

Gadgets and devices power our lives, and it seems that more and more are entering our homes every day. While most of these items of luxury do not pull much power from your electrical system, there is a time and place for dedicated breakers for larger draw items.

Homeowners in an older home know the frustration of running one too many appliances at once and tripping the breaker. For some, it is a daily occurrence that they live with despite upgrades to your home’s electrical breaker box being a straightforward and budget-friendly option. Not only will this prevent frustration, but it will also make your home safer and reduce the risk of an electrical fire.

Whether you are tired of playing chicken with your breaker box or need a 24/7 electrician to resolve an issue, Randy’s Electric is ready to help. Having served the Minneapolis-St Paul area since 2002, we know what it takes to get your home back up and running safely and efficiently.

6 Appliances That Need a Dedicated Breaker

Let’s face facts, today’s homeowners are putting more stress on their electrical systems than ever before. Whether it is new smart devices that need to be charged or large creature comforts that simply make our lives a little bit easier, homes are working overtime. That said, most of our devices that need electricity pull a relatively low amount of power meaning one 15 or 20 amp breaker can punch well above its weight class.

Typically it is the larger appliances in our homes that need a dedicated breaker to avoid problems. Anytime one of the following six appliances is brought into your home, or if you live in an older home and your breaker has never been upgraded, consulting with a residential electrician St Paul MN residents trust should be your first thought.


When looking at the most power-hungry appliances in your home, you should start with your stove. You will be hard-pressed to find any electric stoves that require anything other than a 240-volt circuit.

Drawing over 5,000 watts when being pushed to its limits, your stove simply must be on its own circuit breaker. Safety and efficiency are the primary concerns, with safety taking the lion’s share of concern.


Laundry machines are another home appliance that are home staples that consume a considerable amount of energy. While dryers can either be gas or electric and depending on what works for your home, there are ways to configure your gas dryer to run on the same circuit as your washing machine. Typically this is done with a specific GFCI outlet.

Homes that are equipped with electric dryers will need to set up a separate 240-volt circuit to handle the workload safely. If you are unsure which option is best for your home, skip the Google search and go straight to a licensed electrician to determine what is right for your home.


Dishwashers might not be one of the first home appliances that you think of needing a dedicated circuit breaker, and when standing alone, this can be true. Most dishwashers can simply run off of a 15 amp breaker and with a slight upgrade to a 20 amp breaker can even be paired with a garbage disposal.

Before installation, make sure that you check with your local building code, depending on your city’s regulations, you may be required to install additional hardware to help reduce the risk of an electrical fire. Any licensed electrician should be able to tell you if your system is up to code, and if not, what improvements need to be made to get it back in compliance.


Another potential surprise addition to this list is your refrigerator. After all, the appliances can plug into any standard grounded outlet without issue. While refrigerators are relatively energy efficient, the compressor has the ability to max out the payload on a 15 amp breaker. Upgrading your system to include a 120-volt circuit that can handle up to 20 amps for maximum performance.

Location can also play a factor in performance, especially if your fridge is in a basement or garage. Because these areas are not temperature controlled like the rest of your home, the compressor is more likely to engage more frequently.

Water Heaters

When it comes to water heaters, there is no option other than to have a dedicated double-pole breaker rated for 30 amps. This is the case for just about any water heater, whether it be traditional or tankless. With tankless options, there might be other regulatory requirements depending on the unit and your city’s specific building codes.

Even homes equipped with gas hot water heaters will need to have a dedicated circuit breaker due to the fact that these appliances can still up to 10-12 amps of power when operating at peak performance.


Microwaves are one of the most common appliances that do not have a dedicated breaker, even though they should. With the ability to pull over 1,500 watts of power, a 20 amp breaker is recommended paired with a 120-volt circuit. The challenge for most homeowners is that these appliances can be moved around to different areas of the kitchen. Some, like those mounted inside a cabinet, typically do not need additional hardware. But those that are on the kitchen counter, should be plugged into a GFCI outlet for optimal safety

Find a Residential Electrician St Paul, MN

Homeowners that are in the building process should consult with their contractor to make sure that any appliances that will be installed post-build are on dedicated breakers. Most of the time building code will require certain appliances, but it is always worth double-checking. Owners of older homes should schedule an appointment with a residential electrician St Paul MN homeowners trust to determine if any upgrades are needed.

When you need superior circuit installation, Randy’s Electric is the company to trust. Contact our residential electrician in St Paul, MN today!


When Do You Need A Dedicated Circuit? ›

If you use small appliances in the same outlets all the time, it could be worthwhile to have a dedicated circuit installed if the breaker trips regularly. Small appliances that draw a lot of power and may warrant their own circuit include: Microwaves. Toasters.

What needs a dedicated circuit? ›

Ranges, wall ovens, some garbage disposals, dishwashers and freezers require dedicated circuits. Most refrigerators will require a dedicated circuit. Microwave ovens often demand dedicated circuits, but it will depend on the wattage of the unit and whether the microwave is built-in or a stand-alone countertop design.

What rooms need a dedicated circuit? ›

Appliances That Require Dedicated Circuits
  • Refrigerator.
  • Freezer.
  • Electric range (also cooktop, oven)
  • Electric water heater.
  • Furnace (also heat pump)
  • Washer (technically a designated circuit)
  • Dryer.
  • Microwave.
May 25, 2022

Do I have a dedicated circuit? ›

The easiest way to tell if you have any dedicated circuits is by looking at your circuit box. If you have a modern circuit box, look at the control panel, and it will tell you if there is a dedicated circuit.

Do refrigerators require a dedicated circuit? ›

Refrigerator or Freezer – Running a refrigerator via a dedicated circuit is the recommended best practice for homeowners. Most refrigerators use between 3 and 6 amps, but peak draw can spike up to 15 amps. For this reason, refrigerators and freezers should be connected to a 15-20 amp dedicated 120-volt circuit.

Does a bathroom need a dedicated circuit? ›

While the NEC suggests that bathrooms circuits must be dedicated to the bathroom and not serve other rooms, your local jurisdiction may allow it, so check with your local building inspections on this.

What is an example of a dedicated circuit? ›

Common examples include refrigerators, air conditioners, electric stoves and ovens, and sump pumps. Without dedicated circuits, we wouldn't be able to regulate the amount of electricity that's allotted to individual appliances.

Does a water heater need a dedicated circuit? ›

Electric water heaters require a 240-volt dedicated circuit, which serves only the water heater and no other appliances or devices. The circuit wiring typically includes a 30-amp double-pole breaker and 10-2 non-metallic (NM) or MC cable.

Do fixed appliances need dedicated circuit? ›

Which Appliances Are Most Likely to Need a Dedicated Circuit? The National Electrical Code requires dedicated circuits for all major, fixed electrical appliances.

Does a freezer need a dedicated circuit? ›

Upright and chest freezers require a 120 volt, individual, properly grounded branch circuit with a 3 prong grounding type receptacle, protected by a 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker or time-delay fuse. The freezer should be on a dedicated circuit.

Does each room need a dedicated circuit? ›

No…but you do need to do load calculations for each room…. Certain things will typically need (or require by code) their own circuit….

What appliances use a dedicated circuit? ›

Dedicated circuits are highly recommended for all these devices:
  • Electric oven, stove, or range.
  • Refrigerator.
  • Stand-alone freezer or chest freezer.
  • Dishwasher.
  • Microwave.
  • Garbage disposal.
  • Toaster oven.
  • Countertop convection oven.

Do dishwashers need a dedicated circuit? ›

Dishwasher Circuit

When installing a dishwasher, the circuit should be a dedicated 120/125-volt, 15-amp circuit. This 15-amp circuit is fed with a 14/2 NM wire with a ground.

Should lights and outlets be on separate circuits? ›

You can combine electrical receptacles and overhead lights on one circuit due to the fact that lights generally draw significantly less power than large appliances. This will allow you to distribute the power consumption throughout the breakers in your panel effectively.

Does a washer and dryer need a dedicated circuit? ›

According to most building codes, the answer is yes. A washing machine circuit is typically a 20-amp circuit served by a 10-gauge wire. It's important to have a dedicated circuit for your washing machine because the start-up current of these appliances can be three times its running current.

Does a 220 need its own circuit? ›

Appliances that require dedicated circuits have higher voltage requirements than can be safely supplied by a standard 120-volt household receptacle, so a dedicated 220-volt receptacle needs to be installed. Generally speaking, any equipment that runs on 220-volt power will need its own circuit.

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