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Either there is conflicting information or a lack of when it comes to this question. Is it allowed in NEC code to permit an over-the-range microwave to run off of one of the small-appliance branch circuits?

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Folks may be too wrapped up in the kitchen rules and forgetting the everywhere rule.

No receptacles if fixed loads are >50%

Add up the rated amperage (or VA/120 or watts/120) of each and every load that is either hardwired or permanently installed like the microwave, garbage disposal, fan, lights, yadayada. Got the total?

Now look at the circuit breaker, it'll be 15 or 20 amps.

If the total of all the fixed, installed loads is more than half the circuit breaker rating, that circuit cannot power receptacles (other than the receptacles for the installed loads.)

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  • Upvote for finding the flaw in looking at the obvious section. – Hari Ganti Mar 24 '17 at 23:27
  • I agree about the fixed loads. If the load is less than 50% this logic would say it is legal. The handbook (exact same code book with added explanations and commentary on why each section has its rules by the code committees) says it is not to code for the device to be fixed and connected. A portable trash compactor, dishwasher and microwave are legal to plug in to the small appliance circuits.put them in a cabinet and they are not. – Ed Beal Mar 31 '17 at 20:40
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210.52 (B)(1) says that the 20A circuits shal serve all wall and floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for refrigeration equipment.

210.52(B)(2) Says that the two or more small-appliance branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)(1) shall have no other outlets.

210.52(A) - General wall outlets 12' O.C.

210.52(C)(5) says that outlets not readily accessible by appliances fastened in place shall not be considered as required outlets.

Given this i take it as an above range microwave is a fastened in place appliance, therefore that receptacle is not covered by 210.52(C).

And since 210.52(B)(1) says that the 2 small appliance circuits shall only cover 210.52(A) and 210.52(C), thus a separate circuit is needed.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Nice answer: keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Mar 20 '19 at 16:17
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My answer would be that an additional circuit is required. I think if you read a bit further exception # 2 specific appliances shall be permitted to be supplied from a 15 a individual branch circuit. The built in appliances require a separate circuit in my state but if sitting on the counter the can be powered from one of the 2 small appliance circuits.

The commentary in the hand book for 210.52.B.1 states outlets in cabinets are not allowed only portable appliances used at a kitchen counter. I believe my state code follows this in requiring fixed in place appliances like microwaves, and dishwashers to be on a separate circuit from the small equipment branch circuits required.

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    I was reading into 210.52(C)(5) and it sounds like you are excepted from the countertop receptacle location requirement for "appliances fastened in place." I read that as, "You can have it on the same circuit, but it cannot be one of the required receptacles." – Hari Ganti Mar 24 '17 at 19:30
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    The exception you mention states that you may have additional, dedicated circuits. – Hari Ganti Mar 24 '17 at 19:31
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I can only access the 2017 NEC, but I don't know of anywhere that has adopted it yet. It's likely, however, to be stricter than whichever year of the NEC is legal in your area. In the NEC 2017, it says

210.52(B)(1) Receptacle Outlets Served.

In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for refrigeration equipment.

This would appear to indicate that a separate circuit, exclusively for the microwave, is not required.

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    I read it that way too which is where my question came from. I seriously don't understand why, if they are so weary about your saftey, dont use clear, simple language..it's as though some engineer pocket pencil geek eraser head f*ck face lost his job at i rs and started his real passion in the electrical engineering committee. – true. lion Mar 24 '17 at 23:11
  • Anyway, i would still like to see some opinions on interpreting the poetry on the permission of an over-the-range microwave on one of the small-appliance branch circuits...Anyone else? – true. lion Mar 24 '17 at 23:13
  • An over the range micro IS NOT one of the outlets covered in 210.52(A) or (C) or refrigeration. It is not complaint to have one one a SABC. It is also a fixed in place appliance. – Speedy Petey Mar 24 '17 at 23:21
  • @SpeedyPetey That's my point. It is permitted to be on the SABC, but it does not count as a required receptacle for it. There is an exception on the placement of receptacles that covers fixed-in-place appliances which are often above or below the countertop. – Hari Ganti Mar 24 '17 at 23:25

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