How To Run Electricity To Kitchen Island: Step by Step Guide

Kitchen islands add extra space and a lot of visual appeal to a kitchen, but adding one during your kitchen renovation could come with a dilemma: how to run electricity to it? How many outlets should your island have? Does it have to have electricity at all?

While it isn’t overly difficult to run electricity to a kitchen island, you might need a permit. You’ll have to remove a strip or two of flooring to cut a trench; then, you can connect the wires to another kitchen outlet. 

Does A Kitchen Island Have To Have An Electrical Outlet?

Having an electrical outlet on your kitchen island isn’t optional. The National Electrical Code requires all kitchen islands to have at least one outlet.

Kitchen Outlet Code

Until not long ago, the National Electrical Code (NEC) required all kitchen islands bigger than 12 by 24 inches to have an electrical receptacle installed anywhere within the island. The code was revised and changed in 2020.

The 2020 NEC requires kitchen islands to have at least one receptacle within the first nine square feet of the island countertop or fraction thereof and at least one receptacle for every additional 18 square feet or fraction thereof.

The keywords here are fraction thereof, which means that EVERY kitchen island, regardless of its size, has to have at least one receptacle, depending on its size.

For instance, a kitchen island measuring 3 by 9 ½ feet – a common island size used in modern homes – must have at least three receptacles: one within the first nine square feet, an additional one for the next 18 square feet, and a third outlet for the remaining 1 ½ square feet.

Thus, no matter how big or small the island you want is, it will have to have at least one electrical outlet. Another thing to keep in mind is that all outlets must be GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets.

The only exception is mobile kitchen islands. So, if you’re using a table as a kitchen island, you don’t have to install a receptacle.

Outlet Options

Kitchen island outlets aren’t optional, but the code says nothing about the type of outlets and receptacles you can use. Here are some options.

Standard Outlets

Traditional outlets are an excellent choice if you want to keep appliances or gadgets plugged in permanently. You can mount them directly on the counter or on the island’s side.

Pop-Up Outlets

Pop-up outlets are installed on the counter, and you can close to create a flush work surface. When you need to plug in a gadget, simply press the outlet, and the receptacle will pop up.

Wall Outlets

Not all kitchen islands sit in the middle of the kitchen. If yours has a side attached to a wall, you could take advantage of the design and install a wall outlet instead of an island one. This option is ideal for those who already have a spare wall outlet and don’t want to run new electricity cables.

Power Sockets

Similar to the pop-up outlets, power sockets live inside the kitchen island from where you can draw them out when you need them. The main difference is that power sockets have three or more receptacles – they are a great choice for those who want a variety of receptacles, such as a standard one and a USB for the phone charger.

Under-the-Counter Outlet Strips

Electrical outlets aren’t exactly beautiful, but nobody says that you can’t hide them. Under-the-counter outlet strips allow you to install as many outlets as you want right under the countertop for a stylish, streamlined look.

Things You’ll Need To Wire Kitchen Island

Now that you know kitchen island outlets are a must and what options you have, it’s time to get to work. Here’s a list of the tools you’ll need to do the job.

  • Hammer
  • Drill driver
  • 1-inch drill bits
  • Electrical cable
  • Electrical conduit
  • Wire staples
  • Masonry or circular saw

How To Install An Electrical Outlet In A Kitchen Island

Have you gathered the tools? Good! Now, let’s see how to install an electrical outlet on your kitchen island.

Step 1 – Remove the flooring

The easiest way to run electricity to your kitchen island is through a trench in the floor, but you don’t have to remove the whole floor for this purpose. Take out one or two floor strips, using the appropriate tools based on your floor type.

A pry bar is an excellent choice for removing hardwood or laminate flooring. Use a saw for tile and a sharp utility knife to remove sheet vinyl floors or linoleum.

Step 2 – Cut a trench

Once you’ve removed the floor, use a saw to cut a trench perpendicular from the nearest wall to where your island will be.

Step 3 – Install the conduit

Install an outlet box on your kitchen island in the location where you want the outlet to be, then use a 1-inch drill bit to drill a hole through the bottom of the island’s cabinet above the end of the trench you just cut.

Pass a length of electrical conduit through the hole and attach it to the box with the appropriate fittings – these fittings usually come with the box.

When you’re done, arrange the conduit in the trench and terminate with an elbow that points in the direction of the power source.

Step 4 – Install the electrical cable

Attach an electrical cable to the appropriate fitting in the outlet box and feed it through the conduit until it comes out near the power source.

Turn off the power supply from the main panel and attach the cable to the power source. This could be a wall outlet or the main electrical panel in your home. Pay attention to the load if you plan to draw electricity from another outlet. Staple the cable to the underside of the floor joists.

Step 5 – Install the floor

Cover the conduit with a piece of subfloor, then install new flooring strips. Use the same steps to install other electrical outlets if needed.

Don’t try out any outlets when you’re done. At this stage, you should call in a licensed electrician to install the GFCI circuit breaker on the electrical panel and to complete the junction box and island GFCI outlet connections.

FAQs: Answers You Should Know

Do you still have questions? Here are a few answers you should know.

How many outlets are required on a kitchen island?

NEC doesn’t tell you a maximum number of outlets you can install but states that the first nine square feet must have at least one outlet, then you need at least one additional outlet for every extra 18 square feet or fraction thereof. Thus, a 10-foot kitchen island must have at least two outlets.

Can PVC conduit be encased in concrete?

Yes, PVC conduit can be encased in concrete or used in areas exposed to sunlight. The material is resistant and durable.

How much does it cost to add electricity to a kitchen island?

It can cost you anywhere between $100 and $500 to add electricity to a kitchen island, depending on the island size, number of outlets you want to install, and your skills. Licensed electricians generally charge between $50 and $100 per hour.

Electrical wire costs about $2 – $4 per linear foot. Conduit is inexpensive, and on average, a simple electrical installation can cost you between $8 and $16 per square foot (for labor and materials). This cost doesn’t include trenching.

Next Steps

With the above in mind, you should now decide what you can do yourself and what parts of the project need a professional. Electricity is dangerous, so you should call in a licensed electrician if you’re not sure about any part of this project.

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