troubleshooting electrical line on gas range

hydrogeo99August 14, 2010

We have a 22 year old house, bought it about 5 years ago. I believe the original owners had an electric stove and replaced it with a gas stove at some point. I bought a new gas stove about 3 years ago to replace the gas stove that came with the house. Last week, the stove stopped working (electrically)...there is enough power to light the digital clock but that's about it...the electric ignition on the range and the oven does not work, and the oven light does not work. At first, I thought it was a bad stove, but I plugged it into another 115 outlet with an extension cord and it all works fine, so it seems there's something wrong with the dedicated outlet behind the stove. I've checked the voltage in the outlet and it reads 119.6 volts.

I went under the house to look at the wiring and found a big wire going from the circuit breaker (50 amp double pole) to the stove...it's a 3-wire 240V line with two insulated wires, and one bare wire...thus my belief that there was originally an electric stove. Whoever re-wired the 115 outlet for the gas stove used a wire nut to connect the black and white wires from the 115 outlet to one of the insulated and bare wires, respectively, of the 240 line. The other insulated wire of the 240 line is just wrapped in electrical tape. The ground wire from the 115 line was basically just sitting inside the 115 outlet box (metal) on one end and not connected to anything else on the supply end. There was a small (maybe 20 ga.) green wire that was screwed to the outlet box and then connected to a water line (copper pipe) under the house...I guess that is some type of dedicated ground line since there is no ground wire in the 240 line? I am assuming whoever wired this did it correctly as it has seemingly worked for a long time now, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work any more. Any ideas or suggestions as to how to troubleshoot this? Thanks.

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hendricus

I am assuming whoever wired this did it correctly as it has seemingly worked for a long time now

1. A 240 line does NOT have a neutral, only 2 hots and a ground

2. You are feeding a 15 or 20 amp outlet with a 50 amp breaker, kinda dangerous.

This setup works but is not correct.

What you should do is run a new line of 12/2 wire with a 20 amp breaker, disconnect the 240 line by removing the 50 amp breaker.

Leave the 240 line in place and save the 50 amp breaker in case someone in the future wants an electric stove.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:27PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

A proper 120v circuit has a hot, neutral, and a ground. What you describe is a hot and a ground. While such an arrangement will function it's certainly not to code and potentially dangerous.

As suggested your best bet is to run a new 20-amp circuit.

The other alternative and I'm not sure if current code allows this is to remove the existing 50 amp, double pole breaker and replace it with a 20 amp, single pole breaker. Use one of the two insulated wires in the existing cable as your hot and the other as the neutral. The uninsulated wire is the ground. The problem is that the heavier wire typically won't fit in a 20 amp breaker or receptacle. So you need to connect a short length of 12 ga. wire at each end of the two heavy wires, most likely with a split bolt.

I'm sure someone will comment on if such a method meets current code.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 12:18AM
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hydrogeo99

OK, thanks so much for the advice. I will definitely abandon the 240V line (removing the 50 amp breaker but leave the line in place for potential future use). Something just didn't look quite right with the way it had been "rigged" to work and I'm glad to know it wasn't done to code.
Is it possible to just tie the stove receptacle into an existing 20 amp line (e.g. the dishwasher, garbage disposal, or the other kitchen outlets) or does the stove need its own dedicated 20 amp circuit?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 12:45PM
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brickeyee

"Is it possible to just tie the stove receptacle into an existing 20 amp line (e.g. the dishwasher, garbage disposal, or the other kitchen outlets) or does the stove need its own dedicated 20 amp circuit?"

This would be fine unless the stove instructions require a seperate citcuit (they rarrly do).

Check the circuit loads (neither DW or GD is usually very large) and a gas stove only needs power for lights, clocks, and ignitors.

Putting a gas stove on the kitchen counter circuits is an allowed exception.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 4:09PM
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hydrogeo99

For now, I tied into the dishwasher line. All of the kitchen receptacles must be wired in the walls as I couldn't find any wires going up into the walls from the crawlspace...the closest accessible 120v 20A line under the house was the dishwasher line. Since the stove sits in an island the power had to come under the house in the crawlspace. Not sure why the dishwasher was wired under the house but it was. If you think this is not up to code or unsafe, please let me know and I will have an electrician add a single pole 20A breaker in my panel for a dedicated line to the stove.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 6:15PM
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joed

As long as all the connections are in junction boxes you will be fine.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 9:59PM
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hydrogeo99

Yes, the abandoned 240 line ends in a junction box with the wire ends capped off and the tie in to the dishwasher line is also done in a junction box. Thanks to all who posted...your help is much appreciated!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:16AM
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