ungrounded range?

brad_cMarch 20, 2010

a friend of mine is having problems with multiple breakers tripping at the same time. the breakers arent even in the same vicinity inside the panel,but i noticed the neutrals are landed on the bar near the neutral for the ungrounded range(could that be a backfeed from the range trippng those other breakers?) my friend also said he got shocked from just touching the range! if i ran a 4 wire instead of 3 wire would that correct the problem?

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IMO you should call an electrical contractor immediately and not touch or cook on that stovetop until he has repaired the problem.
An electric stove is just like the heat pumps we place on the swimming pools I construct, they have a very high amperage draw. 50 amps WILL KILL YOU DEAD instantly if it shocks you on the fingers and travels through your body on the way to your toes while heading toward the ground.

It ain't worth it attempting this repair yourself.

See ya,

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:56PM
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Brad, you have something going on there but this is not a handyman kind of fix. Get an electrician in ther to find the problem. Don't just throw fixes at this until it goes away. You may wind up just hiding the real problem.

Kelly, Just a comment.
The amperage of the circuit (ie: 50A for the range) has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with getting shocked and killing you. When someone says "It is the amperage that gets you" they are NOT talking about the circuit amperage. They are referring to the current flow through your body.
.05A can kill you whether it is from a 15A circuit or a 2000A main breaker.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:56AM
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I'm a pool builder so although I do know a little bit about electricity I really don't know a whole lot about it either except this statement
"""It is the amperage that gets you"""
is what I've always heard.
Guys like me are as deadly as a handgun.

I do know this, I've seen some homeowners electrical pool repairs that have made me shake in my boots.
I'm certain you guys have seen the same.
I've given the same advice "call a pro" many many times on the pool forums.
All I could make a mental picture of in this situation was a guy turning on the stove and instantly becoming the load with a path to ground on a high amp circuit.

That, my internet friends, is a deadly duo.

I admire Brad and the other homeowners who want to perform their own repairs, but some repairs no matter how easy they may seem, are best served by stepping away and making the appropriate phone call.

See ya,

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 4:29PM
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The most likely cause of a shock from an electric stove is a 3-wire service with a bad neutral.

The problem could be anywhere in the circuit, including the power connection to the stove inside the stove itself.

Unless you have wet hands the most common injury from 120 V is falling off the ladder.

While it IS the current that kills (less than 10 milliamps, 0.010 amps) through the heart can be lethal it still requires enough voltage to drive the current.

A plain old D cell battery can deliver many amps, but at 1.5 volts it cannot drive the current through your body to harm you.

A 12 V car battery can deliver hundreds of amps into a low impedance load or a short, but it is pretty rare for anyone to get hurt from them either.It is only under very uncommon circumstances that a circuit less than around 50 volts can deliver a lethal shock.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:31PM
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i turned the breaker off and instructed the homeowner not to use the stove!! im going back in a week, im curious to see if the breakers that were tripping along with the stove stay on now since the stove breaker is off!! ive done alot of electrical work in my day, but ive never seen an issue like this, great forum topic!! im still planning on replacing the 3 wire with a 4 wire so i can ground the stove, im hoping that may eliminate a possible backfeed tripping the other breakers? does that make sense to anyone?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 2:25PM
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"im still planning on replacing the 3 wire with a 4 wire so i can ground the stove, im hoping that may eliminate a possible backfeed tripping the other breakers? does that make sense to anyone?"

I would not bother until an actual cause of the problem has been identified.

A loose neutral feeding the stove would allow the frame to float to the middle of the 120 V loads in the stove, and many stoves only use 120 V for the individual heating elements on the top.

If they are different heating capacity, a single one is in use, they are at different settings, or a temperature control is present (typically for a 'simmer' burner) the voltage mid point of the stove could wander around.

It would likely indicate there is a fault in the stove also.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 2:48PM
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