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Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEApril 6, 2022by AndrewElectric Safety with an Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen seems like a great, fun addition to your home. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time outdoors cooking and enjoying time with family and friends? While daydreaming about a new outdoor kitchen, then maybe even starting to plan it, you’ll need electricity for the kitchen. You’ll need to know the electrical work ahead, either for yourself or more likely for a technician. Part of the planning will be to have everything you need for the right electric safety while using an outdoor kitchen.

Of course there’s going to be all you need for appliances and kitchen needs. You might go as far as having more electric needs out there in your new space. Where you take the exciting new addition is up to you, but then so is having the proper safety devices and measures for everyone and everything.

Plan Ahead for Electric Needs

As part of planning everything about a new outdoor kitchen, include the electricity you’ll need. This starts with the number and types of appliances. You’ll likely need more electric outlets. These should be installed by an electrician. You want to plan out your needs as much as possible before a technician adds wiring and outlets. You don’t want to have anything insecure, rigged up with extension cords or interrupt the project partway through because you’re going to need more electric work. An electrician should be able to give you sound advice, help the project and make everything more efficient during the project and once the kitchen’s up and running.

Safely Adding to Your Electric System

Building an outdoor kitchen, most of the time, will mean running electricity from your main home system out to the kitchen. An electrician can work with you to do this safely and efficiently. A pro electrician can make a rout from your panel box to the new kitchen.

Use GFCIs Right

Your indoor kitchen should have GFCI outlets in the right spots. The same goes outdoors. You’ll have water out there a lot, so GFCI outlets are an important safety measure. A GFCI protects against electrocution and is especially important in spots where water is more likely to get on an outlet or cord. A GFCI tracks the amount of electricity from a circuit and shuts off instantly when there’s a short or surge. It stops electric fires, device damage and electric injuries.

When constructing an outdoor kitchen, some of the main electrical considerations are:
  • A GFCI outlet which is weatherproof and approved for outdoor use.
  • Electric outlets not installed directly onto the ground. This makes them wet often which is not safe and leads to faster corrosion.
  • A safe electric supply

Setting Up with Safety

Electric Safety with an Outdoor Kitchen

Commonly, when setting up an outdoor electrical outlet, it is best to run wires through the wall of your home where it is dry and not open to outdoor elements. An exception would be if the location where you want to set up the outlet is open to a lot of water or moisture. In this case, you can run the wire on the exterior of the house and through a weatherproof box designed to protect wires and components from moisture and corrosion.

The following step is installing an outdoor GFCI receptacle which calls for running 12/3 or 10/3 conduit to an exterior enclosure or running the wire back to an interior sub-panel and connecting it to a GFCI breaker.

Once you know you can set up an exterior outlet, the next step is having and testing the correct grounding. An important part of any type of outdoor kitchen installation is having sufficient protection from electrical shock because of moisture, be if from the natural environment or the kitchen fixtures. One way to have proper safety is to have outlets secured with GFCI outlets.

You should constantly think about safety when designing, constructing, then finally using, an outdoor kitchen space. You might feel more relaxed and have more fun with an outdoor kitchen, while your hanging out, talking, being with your family and so on, but this isn’t an excuse to be careless when working with electricity, heat, appliances, utensils and water.

For instance, even though the appliances will probably be located under an overhang or awning, it is still necessary for all exterior kitchen appliances and devices to have safe grounding. This means having at least one GFCI receptacle to secure against the threat of electric shock.

One more reason for using GFCI outlets is the chance of a lightning strike. Surge suppressors can absorb the extra current in a circuit to save appliances, the electric system and yourself.

Once the Kitchen’s Open

When you’re cooking outdoors, you’re actually dealing with a lot of the same needs and requirements as indoors. Here are some important things to keep in mind.
  • All appliances should be kept in safe, proper repair and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use appliances that are UL certified. This is a nationally-used approval and label that lets you know the appliance has passed safety standards.
  • Don’t use extension cords. Extension cords are not for permanent use indoors or outdoors. Using one permanently or for multiple devices is a safety hazard. If you need more outlets, they should be installed professionally and safely.
  • If you use an extension cord temporarily, make sure it is a UL approved cord. It also needs to be approved for outdoor use.
  • Do not overload a circuit or outlet. Do not exceed the capacity of an outlet, strip or cord. Any major power-usage appliances – like an indoor appliance – should have a dedicated circuit to it, for example, a range or refrigerator.


When is it a Good Time to Call an Electrician? Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide everything you need when thinking about a whole home generator for your home and family. Our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.