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Old 04-06-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
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Replace Range Outlet


I am remodeling my kitchen and just purchased a new 3 prong surface mount range outlet. It is pretty much identical to the original. However, the wiring of the original is somewhat confusing.

Basically there are 4 wires coming through the floor - Red, Black, White and Copper. All 4 wires are encased in one flat casing, with the Copper wire right next to the White wire.

The original outlet was wired with the White and Copper wires both attached to the White (Neutral) input on the outlet. Should I wire the new outlet the same way? The instructions do not even mention a 4th Copper wire, which I assume is a Ground wire, although it does NOT have a green casing.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please note that I am looking to work with what I have. I do not want to replace the cord and the outlet with 4 prongs each, basically due to time constraints and costs. I'm looking to finish the outlet installation tonight if possible.

Thanks,

Joe

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
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get a 4 prong cord and outlet, remove bonding strip on the neutral on range and you are good

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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You have four wires. Code requires you to install a four prong cord. It doesn't matter that you don't want that advice. That is the proper way to do it.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:30 PM   #4
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I talked to a master electrician earlier today. I gave hime additional information that I did not include in my original post, but probably should have.

He said that it used to be somewhat common to tie the neutral and ground wires together at the range outlet, which is the way mine was wired. To his knowledge it is not AS safe as the newest codes require, but also probably did not cause many serious injuries over the years that it was practiced. He said that in certain cases, if certain wires contact each other it WOULD cause serious injury, but that such failures were very rare. I didn't follow what he said after that as it was beyond my technical abilities.

He recommended that instead I should connect the ground wire to the metal housing box of the outlet. I have since noticed that there is a hole actually labeled "Ground" on the metal box, but they did not include a ground screw that fits the hole. So I will just wire the outlet the way he told me.

I was actually just trying to confirm this advice, which I also should have stated in my original post. I really trust the electrician that I spoke to, as he is related to me and has been in the profession for over 40 years, but figured that additional information couldn't hurt.

Didn't mean to piss you off joed.

Thanks,

Joe

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:37 PM   #5
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NO, you CAN"T do this anymore(not since 1996)...do not bond the neutral and ground...
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:55 PM   #6
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Nola,

I understand what you are saying. I will not bond them together. Instead I will separate the ground wire and attach it to the metal outlet box.

Thanks,

Joe
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:59 PM   #7
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Sorry champ, doesn't matter if the electrician is related to you or not. That doesn't change how safe or correct the information he gave you is. Fact is, since you have four wires available, you should use a 4-wire cord and receptacle. You claim you have remodeled your kitchen, but then say you don't want to spend the extra money on a $12 cord and $6 receptacle. For less than $20 you can have a safe and modern installation.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:05 PM   #8
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There is a reason they change & update the code
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #9
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InPhase,

Are you saying that "in certain cases, if certain wires contact each other it WOULD cause serious injury, but that such failures were very rare" is not correct?

I'm willing to listen, but tell me what could actually happen, how likely (or incredibly unlikely) it is, and why in the hell there is a hole labeled "Ground" on the metal box?

Please keep in mind that I am up a little late tonight and that all the stores are closed already in my area. I just may convert everything to 4 prong tomorrow as has been suggested.

Even the electrician that I talked to suggested it at first. But realizing I was in a hurry he gave me the next best option.

And if it is so dangerous, what about the millions of homes that are currently wired this way? Shouldn't the government send inspectors to all older houses requiring immediate complianace with current codes? Why grandfather an old code that is seriously dangerous?

Like I said, I'm up late an have some time to kill. lol.

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Old 04-06-2009, 11:30 PM   #10
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What could happen? You or someone you love could be injured or killed. How likely is it? I don't know, but it apparently happened enough times that it prompted a change in the code.

Look, I'm not trying to use scare tactics to make you do something. But look at it like this: you have the extra protection of a separate ground and it doesn't cost that much more money to use it, so why not use it?


The idea of the 3-wire cord is that the metal frame of the stove is grounded by connecting it to the neutral. Now, the neutral is a current carrying wire, so if the neutral ever becomes loose or open, either in the circuit or in the stove, then the exposed metal of the stove can become energized, creating a potentially lethal situation. The addition of the a separate ground wire in a 4-wire circuit cuts that chance down drastically, because, while one wire may become loose or open, the chances of it happening to two is highly unlikely.


If all you had was an existing 3-wire circuit, fine. I'd give you the same warning then help you out. But you have the means at you disposal to be more safe for not very much more time or effort.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:36 PM   #11
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My house is from the 50's, I'm not required to update the wiring
But I've replaced almost all the old wire in the house & brought everything up to current codes (2005)

Now with the new tamper proof receptacles I'll be updating a lot of my outlets to the new version. The older ones will move to higher outlets where kids can't reach
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:45 PM   #12
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InPhase,

I think what you said about the loose wires is exactly what the electrician said. He started getting VERY technical on me, so I did not remember until I read your reply.

I will probably get the 4 prongs, since I have the option and I am already a day behind in my project now, so the time constraint issue is mute now. I can just run up to the store tomorrow and get the new cord and outlet.

I just have 2 quick questions. First, what is that hole labeled "Ground" on the metal outlet box? This seems to be in line with what the electrician told me to do as my "second best option." In otherwords, to connect the ground wire to the metal box instead of tying it in with Neutral white wire. It's almost like the "Ground" hole is there for that specific purpose, or likewise for someone converting a 4 prong outlet to a 3 prong. If not, then what is the purpose of that "Ground" hole? Just curious.

Finally, my clothes dryer is current plugged into a 3 prong outlet, and I'm almost positive that it has the same type of situation. Am I in danger from that in the exact same way?


Thanks,

Joe

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Old 04-06-2009, 11:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suncrest79 View Post

One last question. What is that hole labeled "Ground" on the metal outlet box? This seems to be in line with what the electrician told me to do as my "second best option." In otherwords, to connect the ground wire to the metal box instead of tying it in with Neutral white wire. It's almost like the "Ground" hole is there for that specific purpose, or likewise for someone converting a 4 prong outlet to a 3 prong. If not, then what is the purpose of that "Ground" hole? Just curious.


Thanks,

Joe
If I had to guess, I'd say that the back plate for that receptacle is probably standard for several types of devices from the same company. It's likely that the hole is used on a different device. Hell I don't know! I'm just an electrician, go ask your cousin the brick layer.

EDIT RE: CLOTHES DRYER: Yes, the same idea applies. If you open up the dryer receptacle and see you have 4-wires, might as well go the extra mile and make it right. If you only have 3-wires (black, white, and red), then leave it alone and don't lose any sleep over it.

BTW, I wasn't saying that your electrician relative was wrong. I was pointing out the fallacy in the idea that because advice came from a relative, and you know them, that you can trust it. It doesn't matter that they are related, it doesn't change how safe or correct the advice is.

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Old 04-07-2009, 12:05 AM   #14
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InPhase,

I know you were not slamming my relative, you were just giving advice. When I said he has been in the profession for the last 40 years I meant that he has been a master electician for over 40 years. He probably has every certification possible in the state where he practices. And if I told you all that I know about him he could get in a **** load of trouble for even giving me advice. lol.

While I do put a certain level of trust in my close friends and relatives automatically, I am also not an idiot. It is more because of his job experience and 40 years as a master electician that I trust him.

Now one final question (really). If you had to keep the 3 prong outlet, and you had to choose how to hook it up, which way would you do it? Would you tie the Neutral and Ground wire together (as it was originally wired), or would you tie the ground separately to the metal outlet box? For the sake of argument pretend you are in a war zone, no 4 prong cords or outlets are available, and you HAVE to hook up the stove immediately. lol.

Thanks,

Joe

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Old 04-07-2009, 12:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suncrest79 View Post
InPhase,

I know you were not slamming my relative, you were just giving advice. When I said he has been in the profession for the last 40 years I meant that he has been a master electician for over 40 years. He probably has every certification possible in the state where he practices. And if I told you all that I know about him he could get in a **** load of trouble for even giving me advice. lol.

While I do put a certain level of trust in my close friends and relatives automatically, I am also not an idiot. It is more because of his job experience and 40 years as a master electician that I trust him.

Now one final question (really). If you had to keep the 3 prong outlet, and you had to choose how to hook it up, which way would you do it? Would you tie the Neutral and Ground wire together (as it was originally wired), or would you tie the ground separately to the metal outlet box? For the sake of argument pretend you are in a war zone, no 4 prong cords or outlets are available, and you HAVE to hook up the stove immediately. lol.

Thanks,

Joe
The only proper way to wire a three wire receptacle for a range is to connect the two hots and the neutral. Putting the ground and neutral under the same lug was wrong from the get go. If I were going to ignore good advice and leave it permanently, I'd put the ground wire under a machine screw tapped into the hole in the back plate. If I weren't going to leave it permanently, and only needed to use to cook the kids something to eat and were going to get a new 4-wire receptacle as soon as possible, I'd just wire it to work, and ignore the ground.

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