Reconnection help request...please?

dcieslakSeptember 19, 2011

In the process of remodeling our kitchen, we had to disconnect the oven and move it out of the way. My friend was helping me, and asked, "are you sure you know how to hook it back up?" I glanced at the wiring and saw a black connected to black, white connected to white, red connected to red, etc., so I said, "sure, it's easy!"

Fast forward to today...oven is back in place and I go to do the "easy" reconnection...but there's a snag. The oven has the four standard wires: black, red, white, green. The junction box has black, red, white...and another black. I remember the red and white were connected to the red and white on the oven, but the two black wires threw me. One of the black wires is much heavier than the other, which makes me think it is the hot one...which means the thin black one is the ground? This oven has been connected and used for years, so it must've been connected "correctly" before I got involved...but what sort of electrician uses a black wire of all colors for the ground?

Anyone ever seen anything like that? Thanks in advance!!

~D

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Ron Natalie

No electrician who deserves to be called that uses anything other than green or bare wire for the equipment ground (on the sizes of wire we are talking about).
The smaller wire is a hint that it might be an illegal ground installation, you'll need to look back at the panel to verify that it is indeed the grounding conductor. If so, do yourself and all others who come by later a favor and wrap it with green tape on both ends.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 7:55AM
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dcieslak

Hi ronnatalie, thanks for the reply. I don't know if I was clear or not...the second black wire isn't "smaller" per se...it's the same size as the red and white ones. However, the other black wire is significantly heavier than the other three, which is why I believe it's the "actual" hot black wire.

Having said that, I'm just a DIYer so I've never done anything with a panel...I know panel work can be significantly more dangerous than in-home wiring. Is it dangerous to even just open it up to look at the wiring? Do I need to shut off the main house breaker or anything? Or just don't touch anything and I'll be fine?

Thanks,
~D

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Ron Natalie

Unless you know what you're looking for, perhaps it's time to call the electrician. You can carefully remove the panel cover being careful not to touch anything. Even turning off the main breaker won't kill all the power inside that panel.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 1:44PM
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dcieslak

Ok, here's some more information and two more questions....I talked to the guy who helped me to disconnect it, and what HE said was that he wrapped electrical tape around the wires he disconnected, and that there were black, red, and white wires connected, but the green wire was grounded to the junction box. Sure enough, there are three wires wrapped with electrical tape as he says, and the extra black wire does NOT have electrical tape on it. So assuming he's remembering correctly:

1. is it safe to ground an oven to a junction box rather than an explicit ground wire?

2. is it safe to have a black (presumably hot) wire inside a junction box that is connected to *nothing*, but capped off?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Ron Natalie

1. is it safe to ground an oven to a junction box rather than an explicit ground wire?
With small exception (metal conduiting) no, the box must be grounded and the connection to the equipment must be made seperate from the box.

2. is it safe to have a black (presumably hot) wire inside a junction box that is connected to *nothing*, but capped off?
That would be fine *EXCEPT* it's not safe to leave the stove ground unconnected.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:15PM
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hendricus

Are these individual wires in a conduit? If so, then you ground to the box and the conduit serves as the ground.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 6:03PM
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dcieslak

Thanks for the info. As far as I can tell (since I can't see inside the wall) it appears that the junction box is attached to metal conduit...which sounds like that means it's ok to ground the oven to the metal box?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 7:47PM
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dieseldame

I strongly urge you to get an electrician involved at this point. If you make the wrong assumption about the ground wire and a house fire starts there, you'll be up the creek on getting your insurance to pay for it.

My last older house had lots of metal boxes, but the metal strain reliefs were just that-- strain reliefs. You have to be fairly educated in the subject to tell the difference by just looking.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 1:15AM
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