I'm adding new lights and a few receptacles to my basement. I just discovered that my kitchen fridge and laundry washing machine are both on the basement lights circuit (14awg, 15A breaker).

I think code says that both fridge and washing machine need to be on dedicated 20A circuits.

Will this pass inspection, or will they require me running new 20A circuits for fridge and washer?

I'm the home owner doing my own electrical in Ontario Canada. I have the whole ceiling pulled down, but don't have easy run to the panel. No breakers have tripped since moving in a year ago.

  • Not sure about Canada codes but it seems you'd want the fridge on a dedicated 20 Amp circuit.
    – JACK
    Oct 26, 2019 at 12:37
  • 1
    Code doesn't require fridge on dedicated circuit, but *it really is better for food safety if it is. We also counsel to avoid GFCI/AFCI on a fridge circuit, and if you follow our advice that means it can't power anything else. Oct 26, 2019 at 13:44
  • @Harper So is that the answer? I don't need to change anything b/c its not code?
    – jpx
    Oct 26, 2019 at 14:06
  • speaking of food safety: I had the breaker off most the day before realizing the fridge was on the circuit :/ was not impressed, lol
    – jpx
    Oct 26, 2019 at 14:07
  • right, but had you switched it off for longer, and switched it back on, all the time unaware the fridge was off, then the fridge recooled before you got anything out of it... It's harder to understand when you've never had to care for a disabled person or Alzheimers and have a steady stream of $11/hour aides coming in and out of the home, they are morons. They cone fully fed, don't test the food, and in fact aide ethics say "eating client food is stealing". I wish I could be the aide for whoever invented that. Oct 26, 2019 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


There's no general retroactivity requirement in the CEC that I can find

CEC Rule 2-022 only requires renovation of the electrical installation if some hazard is posed by the condition of the installation or as a result of alteration thereto:

The inspection department may require such changes as may be necessary to be made to existing installations where, through hard usage, wear and tear, or as a result of alterations or extensions, dangerous conditions have developed.

However, if you're required to upgrade: Dedicated, yes. 20A, no.

The CEC (as of the 2015 edition I was able to find) does require dedicated circuits for the laundry (26-722(b)) and refrigerator (26-722(a)) receptacles; however, they are permitted to be 15A receptacles on 15A circuits.

  • tried to get away without any new circuits, but didn't work out. Passed inspection after a few fixes: laundry area needed a dedicated circuit, and I needed to put all receptacles on a circuit separate from the lights because general purpose receptacles meant there was a fixture/device limit and each of the many LED lights counted as +1 (...even though their low fixed load would be less than 1 general purpose). But fridge stayed on the lights circuit (it also counts as fixed load?). Did not need 20A anywhere. All new wire leading to receptacles had to be AFCI protected, lights did not.
    – jpx
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:12

They will. And rightfully so. DIY or have it done--either way you should sleep better. Ensure 12awg is used on the new circuits.

  • 1
    Hmm, you should support these statements with Code references. We're not big fans of "abundance of caution" type handwringing here (not least because it generally has the effect of "spending the other person's money"). You won't find a bigger fan than me of "12AWG everywhere", I don't even carry 14AWG wire, but I don't imply it's a requirement unless it is. Oct 26, 2019 at 13:48
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    I agree with Harper I have not heard of being required to update an older home. residential their is no limit to the number of receptacles in the NEC but Canada may be different, I sleep just fine with 14 gauge wiring on a 15 amp breaker.
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 26, 2019 at 15:21
  • My bad - I should've quoted the code. You are right Harper. Here it is: Provide one 20A, 120V branch circuit for the receptacle outlets required by 210.52(F) for laundry room. According to this (electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/safety-around-the-home/…) the typical washing machine load is 10A. Typical fridge is 6A. 14AWG is rated 18A. That is too close for comfort IMHO. I am not sure NEC requires upgrade to 20A, but even if not, I certainly wouldn't leave it that way once I discovered it. Point taken & I agree with your 12awg-everywhere philosophy.
    – peinal
    Oct 27, 2019 at 15:41
  • 1
    @peinal -- the OP's up in Canada, so a CEC cite would be preferable Oct 27, 2019 at 21:07

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