Who doesn’t love the idea of cooking outdoors? It allows you to enjoy your beautiful outdoor kitchen while cooking in the fresh air. But if you are planning on adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard, you need to consider the electrical modifications required.
Today’s kitchens have become more than just a place to prepare food. Instead, they have evolved into multipurpose rooms used for cooking, entertaining, and storage. As a result, electrical needs have increased to power the variety of appliances used in these spaces.
When adding an outdoor kitchen, you will typically need the following:
1) A GFCI receptacle that is weatherproof and can be installed outdoors
2) An electric outlet- preferably not directly on the ground because this will expose it to moisture which can lead to corrosion
3) An electric supply for any appliances that use electricity when in operation
Typically, when installing an outdoor outlet, it is best to have the wire run through the wall of your home where it is dry and not exposed to exterior elements. The exception would be if the area in which you wish to install the outlet is exposed to a lot of moisture. In this case, you can have the wire run on the exterior of your home and through a weatherproof electrical box that will protect the wire from corrosion.
The next step would be to install an outdoor GFCI receptacle which requires either running 12/3 (or 10/3) conduit to an outdoor enclosure or running the wire back to your indoor sub-panel where it will need to be connected to a GFCI breaker.
Once you have determined that you can install an outdoor outlet, the next step is testing for proper grounding. An essential part of any outdoor kitchen installation is providing adequate protection from electrical shock due to a wet environment. One way to do that is by making sure your outlets are properly protected with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
Safety must always be a concern when setting up your outdoor kitchen. You must always consider safety when setting up an outdoor kitchen. Although cooking outdoors is often considered more relaxed than cooking indoors, this does not mean that you can lower your standards when it comes to safety.
For example, even though the appliances will be located outside under an overhang or awning, it is still necessary for all outdoor kitchens to have proper grounding. This means having at least one GFCI receptacle to protect against the danger of electrical shock.
Another reason for having a GFCI receptacle is that it will provide surge protection against lightning strikes and power surges. Surge suppressors are electronic devices that absorb the extra current in an electric circuit, preventing damage to sensitive equipment connected to that circuit.
Since you are dealing with electricity when cooking outdoors, it is necessary to:
• Keep all appliances in good repair and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Always use kitchen appliances that are UL Listed or Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified. This is the only nationally recognized organization that tests and approves appliances for safety standards in your home.
• Never use outdoor-type extension cords in the kitchen or any indoor area of the house. These are not designed for permanent installation and can expose you to serious safety hazards. If you need additional outlets, have additional circuits installed by a licensed electrician.
• Ensure that all circuits serving the outdoor kitchen are protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This will protect against electrical shock caused by a faulty appliance, a damaged cord, or a live wire touching a metal surface.
• If you use an extension cord for your refrigerator, be sure it is UL Listed as suitable for outdoor use and is at least 14-gauge wire.
• Do not exceed the electrical load capacity of your circuit breakers, power inlet boxes, or extension cords that you use for outdoor appliances. To help prevent this, plug equipment into a single outlet or GFCI receptacle rather than multiple outlets on the same circuit.
As you can see from this article, certain safety precautions must be taken into consideration when it comes to electrical wiring with outdoor appliances. Therefore, these safety precautions should always be observed when designing and building your outdoor kitchen.