Does a Range Hood Need a Dedicated Circuit(all wiring options listed)


Installing a range hood is not just the matter of screwing it to the wall and plugging in the cord in the nearest receptacle. In order for your home to pass inspection, certain rules must be followed.

Following the National Electrical Code(NAC)* is important not only to pass the inspection but following it also ensures that the risk for damage to both property and people is minimized.

*The National Electrical Code(NAC) is adopted in all 50 US states. Other rules may apply elsewhere.

In general, a range hood does not need to be connected to a dedicated circuit. It can be hardwired or plugged into a lighting circuit receptacle as well. It can never be connected to a kitchen receptacle in a small-appliance branch circuit(SABC)

Let’s take a look at all the possible ways it can be connected. All of the options below are compliant with the 2020 National Electrical Code. I spent more than 3 hours going through all of the points, subpoints, and exceptions to find the answers below

Below I will also provide a link to the National Elecctrical Code(NAC) I must warn you though, it is quite a dry document to read 🙂

Receptacle on a Lighting Circuit

I won’t be copying the electrical code for you to read. I assume you came here to find out where can the range hood be connected, not to be bored out of your mind.

I will list the relevant codes below, so you can double-check if you’d like.

Relevant Article: Who to Hire To Install a Range Hood

It is OK to connect a range hood to a receptacle that is on a lighting circuit. As long as all of the following conditions are met.

  • The range hood can not be rated higher than 50% of the branch circuit rating*
  • The cord must be at least 450 mm (18 in.) and not over 1.2 m (4 ft)
  • Receptacle is located so that the cord is protected from damage**
  • Receptacle is accessible
  • Plugged into a single receptacle***
  • The cord must have a grounding-type plug. Unless the unit is marked – protected by a system of double insulation.

*This means up to 7.5 amps on a 15 amp circuit, and 10 amps on a 20 amp circuit. Make sure you check this before you buy the range hood. Accidentally buying a hood that is rated too high will make for a lot of extra work when connecting it.

**This basically means that it can’t be placed in a cabinet where a bag of flour can damage the cord 🙂

***Not actually required by code, but doing this will eliminate any chance the inspector could fail inspection. By having a single receptacle, it indicates that it is dedicated for only one appliance.

Codes that say it’s OK to wire it on a receptacle on a lighting circuit.

  • NEC 210.23(A)
  • NEC 210.23(A) (2)
  • NEC 422.16(B)(4)

You can find the 2020 National Electrical Code here. (You must register before you can access it)

If you are overwhelmed by all the rules that must be followed and are wondering if a range hood is even necessary, check out why it is absolutely vital in any kitchen.

Hardwired to the Lighting Circuit

Hard-wiring the range hood to a lighting circuit is allowed when all of the below conditions are met.

  • The range hood supports a hardwired connection
  • The range hood can not be rated higher than 50% of the branch circuit rating*

*This means up to 7.5 amps on a 15 amp circuit, and 10 amps on a 20 amp circuit. Make sure you check this before you buy the range hood. Accidentally buying a hood that is rated too high will make for a lot of extra work since you will have to run new thicker wires and install a higher-rated breaker.

Related article: Does a range hood need to be grounded

Relevant codes

  • NEC 210.23(A)
  • NEC 210.23(A) (2)

Receptacle on a Dedicated Circuit

It is always allowed to connect a range hood or for that matter any appliance on a dedicated circuit. The downside to doing this is that it will take up precious space in the electrical panel. By using a receptacle and a plug the following conditions must be met.

  • The cord must be at least 450 mm (18 in.) and not over 1.2 m (4 ft)
  • Receptacle is located so that the cord is protected from damage*
  • Receptacle is accessible
  • The cord must have a grounding-type plug. Unless the unit is marked – protected by a system of double insulation.

*This means that the receptacle can’t be in a kitchen cabinet where food could possibly damage the cord.

Related article: Find out why flex duct can’t be used for a range hood.

If you only have 1 or 2 free spaces, it is better to connect the range hood to a lighting circuit. This will leave room in the breaker box for the future. Using the lighting circuit will most likely be less work as well since you don’t have to run new wires.

Relevant codes

  • NEC 210.22
  • NEC 422.16(B)(4)

Hardwired to a Dedicated Circuit

Hardwiring the range hood to a dedicated circuit is always allowed, and does not have any conditions that must be met, as was the case with plugging it in a receptacle.

Of-course general electrical connection guidelines must be followed and the range hood can’t be rated higher than the circuit.

Relevant code

NEC 210.22

Why Can’t the Range Hood Be Connected to a Kitchen Receptacle

Kitchen outlets fall under NEC 210.52. However, any outlet that could be used to plug in a range hood will most likely be placed higher than 5.5 ft (1.7m) OR placed in a cabinet. Which in turn will make the outlet fall outside NEC 210.52.

NEC 210.52(B)(2) states that no other outlets can be added to the small-appliance branch circuit.

What all of this means in plain English is that an outlet that is connected to a small-appliance branch circuit can not be higher than 5.5ft or be in a cabinet. Since range hoods are placed high up the outlet should be placed high as well. And preferably hidden in a cabinet.

Technically you could install an outlet at a height of 5.5ft and use a 1.2m cord (allowed by NEC 422.16(B)(4)) to connect it to a kitchen receptacle. However, since the outlet can’t be in a cabinet the cable will be an eyesore and probably not the best solution.

Conclusion

Range hood does not need to be on a dedicated circuit, it can be either hardwired or plugged into a receptacle in a lighting circuit. While technically it is possible to connect it to a regular kitchen receptacle, the limitations make it impractical.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please vote below and let me know if you have any suggestions to make the articles better in the future.

Thank you!

Joonas

I like it when I'm able to fix everything that needs fixing around the house. In order to do that, I have to do a lot of research. This site will cover everything I learn and maybe help others do the same.

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