Dedicated Circuits

All electricity that enters your home goes through your circuit breaker box.   The power then splits into individual branch circuits.  These circuits are made up of the wires that run through each room or to a certain area, like the garage.   A circuit breaker (or fuse) is the device that protects the circuit.

Why major appliances need a dedicated circuit

Without a dedicated circuit, multiple appliances may draw so much current that it causes the wiring to overheat.  It might melt the insulation or the outlet itself.  The overloaded wiring might cause an electrical fire to start in the wall.  Fortunately, circuit breakers sense the flow of excess current, shut off the power (by tripping), and thereby prevent the fire from starting.  If you have a circuit breaker that won’t stay on, you definitely need a professional electrical to check the problem, and you may need a dedicated circuit for that appliance.

Here are the dedicated circuit sizes needed for most major appliances.

15 to 20-amp circuit

  • Microwave
  • Electric oven
  • Garbage disposal
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Trash compactor
  • Space heater
  • Refrigerator
  • Room air conditioner
  • Gas furnace

30 or more-amp circuit

  • Electric water heaters
  • Electric ranges
  • Electric dryer
  • Central air conditioner
  • Electric furnace
  • Backup heating for heat pump


The exact circuit size you need will vary from appliance to appliance.

The rule of thumb is this: If the appliance is fixed and has its own motor or if its critical to your comfort or safety, it probably needs its own dedicated circuit. 

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