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Wiring a Duel Fuel Stove, Repairing a Garage GFCI Circuit and Sizing the Circuit for 2 Electric / Hydronic Baseboard Heaters

November 6, 2009

Question Paul Rosmann asks:
I am replacing an old electric stove (3-wire 220) with a new duel fuel stove with an electric oven (4-wire 220). Does this mean that I have to go all the way back to the panel with another wire, or can the ground and neutral be the same wire? In other words, can the three wire ground serve as both ground and neutral to install a 4-wire receptacle?

You are required to have a separate neutral and ground wire. This was a change in the 1999 National Electrical Code® I recommend installing a new 6/3 NM or SER cable back to your breaker box. This will cover you up to 50 amps.


Melissa asks:
My new garage was wired 14-2 for outlets with 15 amp breakers by an electrician. There are three runs all with a gfi. Two of them keep tripping and now one run won’t work at all. I know some electricity and wondering if I should take out the gfi’s? The only working run will trip if there are two power tools plugged in. Should the outlets have been 12-2 with 20 amp breakers? I am at a loss right now. I’m hoping that the gfi’s are just bad. Can I only use one power tool at a time?

It’s really difficult to say what the problem is without being there or more information. If all 3 GFCI receptacles are on the same circuit, then I recommend keeping the GFCI in the box that is fed from the breaker box. Then reconfigure the wiring so that the supply wires are connected to the line side of the GFCI receptacle and the wires which go to the other receptacles connect to the load side of the GFCI. Now you may install regular duplex receptacles in place of the other 2 GFCIs.

While you are replacing the receptacles and reconfiguring the connections, check for loose connections or nicked wires. Is your garage door opener on this circuit. If it is, then this could be your problem. A lot of times the motor leaks voltage and the GFCI sees this as a ground fault and nuisance trips. To correct this, either ensure this receptacle is wired in ahead of the GFCI or install a dedicated circuit.


Jeff asks:
Can I hook up (wire) two (a 4? and 6?) 220 volt hydronic heaters together into one 20 amp breaker as the amps will only be 11 amps total? Does each 220 heater have to be feed to it’s own breaker and not together. It doesn’t seem fair to hook up a 4 amp heater to a 20 amp breaker, isn’t that a waste of breakers?

Yes you may. You are permitted to fill a 20 amp breaker to 80% of it’s capacity; which is 16 amps. I recommend placing both of these heaters on the same circuit. I also recommend using a wall-mounted t-stat instead of unit-mounted t-stats.


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