I have to replace a slide-in electric range in an apartment and the
existing cable is aluminum. I wouldn't dream of connecting a new range
to aluminum wire(I just don't trust it) so I'm going to have to pull a
new cable from the breaker box. It's a 50 amp breaker and if it
matters, the cable run is going to be about 60 feet.
Does the NEC specify a minimum cable size for such a circuit?
John, for a 50 amp stove I usually use #6 copper or #4 aluminum wire, but a
smaller stove could use a smaller wire.
Instead of running a new wire, I suggest that you install a range receptacle
that is rated for copper and aluminum wire (CU/AL) using the existing
aluminum wire. Use Penetrox or some other aluminum wire contact enhancing
goop on the bare ends. The range cord going into the stove will be copper.
This should provide you with a worry free installation and eliminate the
extra work of running a new line.
It is not likely that the stove in an apartment will be operating at full
load most of the time, therefore the aluminum feeder wire will not always be
operating at full capacity (Unlike a commercial kitchen). Consequently
there will be less heat and less expansion & contraction which causes the
wire contacts to loosen.
The existing range is connected directly to the cable with wire nuts
but I would rather have a plug/receptacle combination to simplify
future maintenance and I appreciate the suggestion. As I told another
poster, I plan to call an electrician to do the actual hookup and will
let him know what I want.
Whoa John. I agree with your idea of finding out some info first, and
there is really no reason why you would know what the minimum size
wire is for a 50A breaker off the top of your head (you can always
find that info at your local electric supply dealer). As long as
there was never a problem with the circuit, there is no need to rewire
or have the pannel looked at. However, if you use an electrician have
him make sure the panel connections are ok. Ontheotherhand if you
have ever done any wiring, save your money and buy the receptacle (and
plug if the range doesn't come with it already attached) and wire it
yourself. All it takes is using the corrosion control stuff, using a
cu/alr receptacle, and making good tight connections which should be
simple with the standard clamp connections that are used for large
wire. We aren't talking rocket science here, just a little caution.
It'll probably take as long to screw the receptacle to the floor as it
will to connect the receptacle.
Yes, it does -- but if you don't know what that minimum size is, let alone
whether the NEC even specifies a minimum, should you be doing this?
Particularly in an apartment. If you're the tenant, you have no business doing
anything to the wiring; it's the landlord's responsibility. And if you're the
landlord, well, if I were your tenant, I'd sure prefer that the electrical
work be done by someone who already knows the answers to fairly basic wiring
questions, e.g. a licensed electrician.
Anyway... 50A seems a bit on the heavy side to me. Your first step is to check
the manufacturer's requirements for the circuit, then install a circuit that
meets those requirements both as to breaker rating and cable size.
And yes, there is (or can be) a problem with using a breaker larger than
recommended, depending on how much larger it is. For example, a 40A breaker
would require 8ga copper wire, but a device designed for operation on a 15A
circuit won't have lugs capable of accepting anything as big as 8ga. So the
wire needs to be sized appropriately for the equipment, and the breaker sized
appropriately for the wire.
a. I'm the landlord.
b. Although I'm a certified cheapskate, I didn't live to be nearly 60
by being a dumbass. I hate to pay an electrician $65 an hour to pull a
cable through the attic; even *I* can do that. Once the cable is in
place, assuming I need to replace it, I will call a licensed
electrician to connect both ends of it. Once you take the cover off a
breaker panel, you only get to screw up *once* and I wouldn't dream of
This is Turtle.
i will love to see you do your own work but your screwing up here big time.
First look at the tag on the new electric range and get the Ampcity / amps
needed / amp draw and post it here. Then one of use can size the wire and
breaker for you. then you go buy it and pull it. Then call the Sparkey to come
tie it in. If you don't do this in order you will just screw up.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
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This thread was originally about using existing aluminium heavy gauge wire
for an new electric cooking rang/stove or to replace with new copper.
It then got onto the subject of the cost and advantage of hiring an
electrician to do the job;
I wonder if this business of high charges by crafts people is something of a
myth? Unfortunately it seems to be common for us to decry the workmanship
and complain about the high cost. We sometimes refer to electricians as
"Sparkies" for example; hopefully in friendly and admiring manner for their
skills and knowledge? (And yes I've met electricians who knew less 'theory'
than I did, but generally knew the local wiring codes, what was acceptable
and what was not and where to get things needed which also takes time btw.
For example, one neighbour of mine (in another type of trade than
electrical) receives $400 for a ten hour day. (Coincidentally that's $40 per
hour). He doesn't get work every day/week of the year!
That revenue has to includes his time, use of his investment in and wear and
tear on tools and equipment, the use of his specialized vehicle the original
cost of which, used, to him, was around $50,000! It must cover operating
cost, licensing insurance etc. road inspections and liability insurance;
miscellaneous costs including telephone and fax, wife taking messages and
doing the accounting etc. Also some use of the family home for storage and
deliveries. Also his costs for being safety certified along with keeping
current personal qualification requirements and guild memberships. I
sometimes wonder, with all those costs, how he makes a living!
Yes I do my own work whenever possible; that's my life style. It allows me
to live cheaper and often more simply than another neighbour who is more
upwardly mobile aspiring (I doubt if he owns a hammer?). Also I have the
satisfaction of 'Doing it myself'. Because I can take more time the quality
can be as good as a professional who is under the gun to stay in business
and produce a living. Or doing it myself I may not achieve quality or
quantity as good as that of a professional; and if so I must accept that or
ultimately face the fact that it will be redone or that the overall value of
the repaired item is perhaps a little less. (BTW I'm not talking
compromising safety standards here. Our 7 times repaired dryer is now 43
years old for example. My 25 year old son says he wants to take it another 7
years to 50 if he can; same age as his older sister btw).
I can take the time to pull the nails out of used lumber or use parts of two
electrical items to make one good 'safe' one; whereas it isn't worth a
professional's time or reputation to do so. And if I do build something
'used' into my own premises I know exactly where it is and how it was
Give em a break!
You forgot (in the USA, anyway) the taxes they pay. A self-employed
tradesman pays over 15% in "self employment tax".
I don't begrudge an electrician or plumber charging $50 an hour (or
whatever it is), assuming he does the job right. I have heard horror
stories about people being billed $300 for an hour job done
incompetently because the electrician charged a "book rate".
I have paid $300 to car repair shops for jobs that where they bill over
$75 an hour (do you really think the actual mechanic gets paid half of
that like he should?) and the book rate is 4 hours, and when I ask when
it'll be ready it's 2 hours -- the actual job probably took 45 minutes
or less. The same dealer wanted to charge me over $200 to replace the
allegedly worn-out sparkplugs (2 1/2 hours by the book) when he was
already changing the sparkplug wires, and most of the labor in changing
the plugs is getting the wires out of the way. He was trying to charge
the full book rate for both jobs without subtracting anything for all
the heat shields and stuff already being off. I told him I'd change to
plugs myself. When I got home I pull a couple of the plugs and they
were fine -- platinum plugs with very little electrode wear and no
leakage. They just wanted to make another quick $200 for an unnecessary
repair. The only reason the car was in this shop is the local garages
that I sort-of trust (they still charge way too much for labor) said
main problem was a dealer-only thing. Some sort of computer sensor
thing that only a dealer could diagnose.
When buy a house, I've had my arm twisted into hiring incompetant home
inspectors whose only job was to find a couple of stupid little problems
(outside faucet has a 1/2" full-flow ball valve instead of a sillcock;
that's gotta be replaced!) and collect a check. If there actually was a
big problem, I suspect he was instructed not to find it because it might
break the deal. One of them supposedly had an electrician do a load
analysis of my 60A service and said it was adequate. I did the
calculations myself and the minimum service woulda been something like
78A, but someone probably told him that the 60A needed to pass to sell
the house. When selling a house, I didn't have to pay the incompetant
inspector but I had to deal with his stupid little problems.
I've been pretty lucky and have only had good luck with plumbers and
electricians. I've *never* had a good experience with a home inspector
(so I pretty much disregard their report and I inspect everything
myself.) And I have not gotten a good deal from an auto mechanic in
over 10 years, so I do as much of my own repairs as possible.
If the existing cable is four wire there is no reason not to use it.
The problems with Aluminum wiring arose from it's use in fifteen and
twenty ampere branch circuits that contain dozens of splices and screw
binding post connections. The terminals of electric ranges and electric
range receptacles are designed to take the larger wires and as long as
they are marked CO/ALR there need be no special concern about using the
existing Aluminum cable to supply the replacement range.
So far no one has asked the OP what size the aluminum wiring is?
Assuming it is reused, lets be sure it is the correct gauge. Also,
does the plug on the new range have 3 or 4 contacts? Then, does the
existing cable have 3 or 4 wires?
John, I want to chime in with Tom's answer. There's nothing wrong with
using aluminum in larger sizes. The clamping hardware for large sizes
eliminates problems. Keep in mind that the vast majority of residential
entrance is aluminum.
The feeders to your home are AL! probably.
I do not know of a power company that uses anything other than AL any more.
The cost and weight of copper is up there now days.
The problems with AL are not the fault of the wire, it is the fault of the
craftsman that installs the wire. Usually sloppy terminations are the cause
of the problems.
There was no way to properly terminate the small aluminum wire used in
the 70's -- the problem was the devices. I think that's why UL came out
with a new "CO/ALR" rating for terminals; to differentiate them from the
bad old "CU/AL" terminals that were supposed to be OK for aluminum but
were actually not.
I have no problem at all with using aluminum wire for feeder circuits
and large dedicated circuits. I just wouldn't use it branch or lighting
circuits. I would probably use aluminum SER cable to wire an electric
range. Even if it doesn't need a neutral wire, the next one might.
If the existing AL cable is big enough (and it probably is), I'd reuse
it even if it only had 3 wires.
Use the aluminum cable that is already there*. Just make sure it is
properly terminated with a receptacal that is designed for aluminum.
*Unless your stove requires more juice than your wire can supply.
On Thu, 12 Aug 2004 14:54:55 GMT, "John]
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