Wondering what the NEC code requirements are for Residential Kitchen outlets. I was told that the two wall outlets on either side of the kitchen sink have to be on separate circuits. The kitchen in my home has one circuit but has a GFCI on both outlets. Is this allowed? The GFCI outlets are wired as required by the manufacturer for proper function.

I actually have many circuits in the kitchen. One for the lights which is AFCI breakered at the box. A dedicated circuit with GFCI for each of these: Garbage disposal, Fridge, Dishwasher. Then I have Two circuits for the countertops. one on the north wall and one on the south wall. All circuits are 20amp on 12 ga wire except for the lights. they are on 14 ga. wire with a 15 amp breaker.

1 Answer 1


Code requires two 20 ampere small appliance branch circuits, which it sounds like you have. There's no requirement that I'm aware of, that the receptacles near the sink have to be separate circuits. Though it could potentially be a local ammendment, so you'd have to chek with your local building department.

NEC also requires all countertop receptacles to be GFCI protected, not just those near the sink.

  • + tester. Code only requires 2 circuits for countertops it lets you choose where to put them. Although it costs a bit more many electricians will alternate them.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:57
  • I have a GFI for every outlet that has in a countertop space and wired them per the instructions. I used a Sperry® GFCI Outlet Tester (GFI6302) to verify a fault condition nice little tool. I know the receptacle has one built in but I wanted to do a double test just to be safe. I used all Cooper VGF20W-L 20 amp outlet receptacles. I was told these are very good brand. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 20:23
  • Thanks for the help Tester101. I appreciate your time in answering my question. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 20:24

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