Answers to Electrical Questions About a 4-Wire Range Cord with a 3-Wire Receptacle and Installing 2 Wires Under A Screw Terminal
September 29, 2008
HELP! I am moving into a home and i went to plug my stove into the wall and the outlet and cord is different…. The stove has a 4 wire grounding cord on it and the wall outlet is 3 wire non grounding. Can i change the outlet to a 4 wire grounding outlet and how?? or change the cord on the range to a 3 wire? All help is appreciated.
You need to change your range cord. I wrote an article with images and step by step instructions on How To Change a 4 Prong Electric Dryer Power Cord To a 3 Prong Electric Power Cord. Even though the article is about a dryer, the process is exactly the same for a range except you will use a larger wire size.
You may change your receptacle, but you will also need to install a new 3 conductor cable with ground from your breaker box to the receptacle so you have 4 wires. This is very time consuming and a lot more expensive than the first option.
The 3-wire receptacle is legal if it was installed before the 1999 code change. All range and dryer receptacles installed after 1999 are required to be 4-wire.
Joe Byrd asks:
Recently I was troubleshooting an outlet that had been working but went dead. The surge protector was burned out (It had a small TV and VCR on it) and I thought it might have been lightning. Then I found there was no power to the outlet and no breakers were thrown. This room has the closet with the breaker box about six feet away, so I removed the panel cover. The dead outlet was connected to a wire that was hanging beside, but not connected to, a breaker. Evidently when remodelers a few years ago provided additional outlets, they connected ‘piggy-back’ onto a breaker already feeding another circuit. In other words, there had been one breaker with two wires under the set screw feeding a load circuit somewhere and a piggy back wire feeding only one outlet. This wire evidently had just backed out of that connection.
I had not seen two wires connected to one breaker and I suspect this is not allowed. Please comment on this.
You are correct Joe, only 1 wire is permitted to be connected under a screw terminal. The reason is to prevent what just happened to you. When the connection loosens, the wires will arc and this could start a fire as well.
The correct way to do this is to splice the wires together and leave a pigtail allowing only 1 wire to be connected under the screw terminal.
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