Amps required for new range?

warmfridgeOctober 26, 2009

Hello, I have a recently built home, electric range, whose circuit has a 40Amp breaker. I'd like a new induction range, but the one I'm interested in has a 50A rating.

Can the breaker be changed? Or would that require new wiring (and many holes in the dry wall)? Or can I just plug my new range into the existing outlet and reset the breaker if I'm ever ambitious enough to try using all the burners and broiler at the same time? Would I have trouble with enough current to run a self-cleaning oven?

Thank you.

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Ron Natalie

You most likely CAN NOT just increase the breaker without replacing the wiring (unless for some reason they installed oversized wiring). If the instructions say you must connect it to a 50A circuit, you must use a 50A circuit.

Those induction cooktops are real power hungry. You'll need to have new wiring pulled, but it can probably done with a minimal amount of damage to the drywall and besides, you wanted new paint anyhow :-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 5:34PM
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"I have a recently built home, electric range..."

It is NOT SAFE to just 'change out' a breaker. The breaker can be easily changed out - but this is not safe.

However - it is possible that the wiring which is already run in your recently built home - will safely take a 50amp breaker.

Two issues exist. You want the breaker to be sized for the wire size; and you need to have (appliances) the breaker also sized for the appliance.

If an appliance is rated for 40amps - you do not install a 50amp breaker for said appliance.

What you need to know is: the wire guage of the wire which was used for your Elecric Range Circuit.

If it is a large enough guage (size) - than you can safely increase the breaker size.

I am not aware of wire size and capacity - so possibly someone here might post that info. But to do the work, you need to do a lot of reading, or have a knowledable friend, or an electrician help you out.

And overtaxing a circuit is not good. (Just installing the new stove and resetting the breaker.) This too, can lead to fires.

Hopefully, your wire is already large enoough. BTW: In wire guage size; the smaller the number - the LARGER the wire. Your probably looking for a number 6 or 8. You almost certainly already have at least the number 8 - not sure if it can take the 50. A number 6 could take the 50amp.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 5:38PM
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Thank you both...that's exactly the information I needed. Hopefully, the existing wire is of adequate size for a 50 amp breaker...I'll get someone more knowledgeable than me to check it out.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 6:22PM
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If an appliance is rated for 40amps - you do not install a 50amp breaker for said appliance.

Why not? We routinely plug a 100watt bulb into a 20 amp line, so what is the difference?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 10:57PM
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I am not a licensed electrician. Perhaps there is no difference.

But from what I understand from conversations with some electricians... than I take my limited understanding, and continue down a logic path - which might not be correct.


1. A light bulb is not on a dedicated circuit. It is a general use circuit. (Lighting)

2. Lighting is generally preferred to be 15amp - not the 20. For just the reason you mentioned. The 12 guage is harder to run (than 14guage), more expensive, and overkill for general lighting circuits.

3. A Range is a dedicated circuit. Therefore - we do not wish to have an oversized breaker going to the Range. It is supposed to be able to correctly function within a specified load - when you increase the breaker capacity - you can have more things go wrong with the range - before the breaker kills...

4. Since the Range is a dedicated circuit - we try to balance the breaker with the anticipated load and the wire size. Breakers are not actually installed to protect the appliance or the load. They are installed to protect the wiring.

However, I believe it is 'safer' to have a 40amp breaker installed in a Range Circuit with 6 guage wire; when the Range which is installed - calls out for 40 amp service. Now, you are using the breaker to protect the wire, and help protect the appliance and end user.

And if the guage of the wire is large enough (like a 6); and you have a 50amp Range, and not a 40amp - than you would install a 50amp breaker.

Those are my thoughts on it - coming from conversations I have had, and work which I have done. I'm quite open to being further educated. :)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 11:20PM
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Plain and simple, if the wiring isn't reated to support the 50A breaker, and your house burns down, your insurance can (and should) tell you to take a hike. Codes (generally) are there to ensure your safety. Overloading a conductor can cause it to overheat and, if you're unlucky, ignite something. It is a Code violation to install a breaker/wire combination that leaves the wire underrated compared to the breaker capacity.

Installing a 100W light bulb on a 15A or 20A circuit is intended -- the load is less than the capacity of the circuit. The problem is when you install a couple 100W light bulbs on the circuit, an "it's just a little one" space heater in the bathroom, and turn on your hair dryer, then replace the 10A fuse with a 30A fuse since the 10A one that was there from your knob-and-tube "keeps blowing" every morning.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:18AM
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sfjeff: The 50 amp breaker is on a 50 amp line. My observation is that the 40 amp requirement is a minimum. My belief is that 50 amps is overkill but acceptable.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:00AM
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"If an appliance is rated for 40amps - you do not install a 50amp breaker for said appliance."

"Why not? We routinely plug a 100watt bulb into a 20 amp line, so what is the difference?"

A 100 watt bulb pulls well less than 20 amps.

You can place a smaller load on a circuit with no danger of overloading the conductors.

Placing a larger load, and just increasing the breaker capacity can result in overloaded conductors.

They get hot, sometimes hot enough to cause fires in concealed areas (like inside the wall).

There are also limits on how small a load can be placed on circuits, but they are embedded in the code.

General use circuits for lighting and receptacles are limited to 20 amps.
This ensures that fixture wiring will be large enough to carry a fault current and trip a breaker (the minimum wire size is #18 on the 120 V side).

NEMA controls wiring inside equipment (dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, etc.).
They allow more latitude for the internal wiring since higher temperature insulation is often used, but you still need to be able to carry the fault current.

If a wire breaks in side your stove and touches the frame you want the breaker to trip, not have the piece of wire act as a fuse.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:44AM
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I just replaced my electric stove with an induction stove. The specs online say the stove needs 50 amps. I have it on a double 40 amp breaker. I had a knowledgeable person look at my panel and he did say I have 6 gauge wiring.

I spoke over the phone with an electrician and he said plug the range in and go ahead and use it. He said it is unlikely it would over-load the circuit in the course of normal use.

I have been using it for one week without issue.

Do you think I should bother changing the breaker to 50 amps?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:04PM
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With #6 wire and a 40A breaker you should be fine if the breaker is in good shape. I'll be in the same boat in the spring, but have a run of #8 - so I intend to pull some #6 and install a 50A breaker.

Have you run the range "full out" yet to see if it actually causes the breaker to trip - I'll bet it won't, but I'm curious.

BTW - on a construction job some thirty years ago, we had well over 30 100W temporary bulbs strung on one #12 (20A) line. The breaker held (shouldn't have) and the wire got warm, but not hot.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 10:49AM
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