As a part of my renovation of a 1900's cottage I'm completely rebuilding the kitchen.
I'm planning on running 2 20A circuits shared between the countertop outlets, fridge & dishwasher.
Is there any objective reason (or code requirement - GA, USA) to choose to do either:
1. A GFCI outlet as the first outlet in the chain (or at the 1st location in the chain where a GFCI is required like near the sink)
2. A GFCI breaker in the panel for each circuit

What leads me to ask this question is that in the country where I am originally from, it is standard practice for all outlets in a house to be protected by a single large 'Earth-Leakage Circuit Breaker' in the electrical panel, so having individual sockets protected seems unusual to me.

  • 1
    GFCI breakers and outlets have trouble with motor loads, I have replaced dozens if not hundreds on Garbage disposals, Freezers, dishwashers & Refrigerators. I believe this is the reason Oregon exempts these devices from GFCI Protection. You still can daisy chain feeding the Fridge first then install a GFCI outlet for 1 of the required circuits. I recommend a dedicated Fridge circuit and a dedicated dishwasher / garbage disposal circuit.
    – Ed Beal
    May 19, 2016 at 15:53
  • Since you are completely rebuilding, that counts as a remodel and you must come into full compliance with current code. There isn't any wobble on this, no grandfathering. May 19, 2016 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


You can run the fridge but not the dishwasher as shown in exhibit 210.28. It also depends on where you live local code may have exemptions or tougher requirements. I usually run a dedicated circuit for the fridge. There is an exception that allows a gas stove igniter and a clock outlet on the 2 small appliance circuit. The wording is counter top a dishwasher, Garbage disposal, trash compactor and in some cases a built in microwave require additional circuits. It really depends on local requirements. But Exhibit 210.28 clearly shows the fridge not gfci protected and on 1 of the 2 small appliance circuits. (The Exhibit is 2 drawings of methods that can be used for the required 2ea 20 Amp small appliance circuits in the 2014 NEC hand book).

  • "Exhibit"? What's that?
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2016 at 17:08
  • A picture in the 2014 NEC handbook pg 82. showing different wiring options.
    – Ed Beal
    May 19, 2016 at 17:25
  • Thanks. Might be worth clarifying that in your answer. DIY site, after all. :)
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2016 at 17:40
  • 1
    I prefer a dedicated breaker for the fridge. Reason is, if someone trips the breaker with a coffee maker, they may not (know how to) reset it right away and may not see it as urgent, being unaware the fridge is also on it. NEC authors are out to stop house fire and electrocutions, spoiled food is not on their radar. Worst case, someone resets the breaker after a time, fridge re-chills, and someone eats spoiled food unaware. May 19, 2016 at 20:05

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