Upgrading an appliance to a new, more energy-efficient model should be an exciting time for a homeowner. However, if you’re not sure what you’re getting into – you can end up with no working appliance at all. Or worse, with a dangerous situation or costly repair on your hands.
Generally, electric ovens do not plug into a traditional electric socket in your home. Electric ovens require significantly more power than a standard small appliance. Reviewing your current socket setup will ensure your home can safely and effectively operate your new range.
Getting familiar with the current electrical setup of your kitchen will move you one step towards more delicious meals. This post will also provide you with step-by-step instructions should you need to adapt your environment to your new appliance.
Get Familiar With Your Socket Circuit
Most houses are built with a particular floor plan in mind. That means your home likely has a socket available near the oven’s placement. Most have multiple sockets in close range due to the number of kitchen appliances powered in the same proximity. This can include your:
- Coffee maker
- Air fryer
- Any other small device
When it comes to the oven, the amount of power necessary and the capacity of your socket need to be in alignment. Ranges are powerful and dangerous equipment. So, reading the manual and taking the steps below are imperative to reduce your risk.
Make sure your new electric oven plug is compatible with the existing socket. This should be done before attempting to plug it in.
Ovens Require Dedicated Circuits
Due to the power requirements of an appliance that runs so hot, your oven will require a dedicated circuit. A dedicated circuit is a circuit that does not share power with any other machine. An electric oven requires a circuit with 240V. A standard outlet carries a voltage of 120V.
How To Know if an Outlet Can Safely Power an Oven
240V sockets can be identified by the number of prongs they contain. If you have an older home, your socket will likely be a three-prong outlet. If your home is more modern or has been updated, the socket will be fitted with four prongs (the three prongs plus a ground wire.)
A 240V plug will not fit into a 120V socket. Any attempt to do so may result in a broken or unsafe plug. Stop if you have attempted to plug your electric oven into a 120V socket. Before moving on, replace the power cord. Or you can have it examined by a qualified electrician to ensure it is still safe to use.
To be overly cautious, you may want to test your outlet with a multimeter. I recommend the AstroAI 6000 Counts Digital Multimeter from Amazon. This multimeter will allow you to measure the voltage as well as test live wires, and it comes with helpful instructions for first-time users.
A quick check at the fuse box will ensure that your socket is labeled correctly. The quick review will help avoid costly problems in the future and quickly identify if the fuse is blown.
It is important to remember that the oven needs to be the only appliance powered by that socket. After choosing an outlet, make sure no other appliances (or lights) are powered through that source.
What To Do if You Only Have 120V Sockets
Suppose you’ve tested your sockets and can’t find one to meet the power requirements of your electric range. Or, the only compatible socket is too far away from your oven or currently in use. Then you will need to make adjustments to your current setup before safely operating your range.
If you only have 120V sockets, you’ll have to convert them to 240V. Doing so is easy with the right equipment and precautions. However, working with electrical sockets is a hazardous process. If you’re uncertain of your abilities, please contact a licensed electrician in your area to assist you.
How To Convert a 120V Socket to a 240V Socket
120V sockets can be easily converted to 240V sockets in 16 steps, using only four supplies.
Watch this video for a visual demonstration on how to convert your socket:
The supplies necessary for the conversion are:
- Black/red electrical tape
- Double pole circuit breaker (we recommend the Siemens Q230 30-Amp Double Pole Type QP Circuit Breaker from Amazon because it will fit almost all electrical panels and provide quality power.)
- Pliers to adjust any wire loops to fit
The first steps are the most important for your safety:
- Check the circuits to ensure there is only one thing connected to the branch circuit. Plug something into each receptacle (you can use a lamp or a multimeter), then turn off the circuits in the circuit breaker one at a time. This should remove power to the plugged-in item. Once you have confirmed there is no more power coming into the socket; label the circuit breaker.
- Once you’re confident the breaker is turned off, go around and make sure nothing is connected to that circuit. Flip light switches and check other powered items.
- Unscrew the front of the outlet and review the wires inside:
- The black/red/blue/yellow (in order of likeliness of color) wire is the hot wire (has the volts in it).
- The white/gray wire is the neutral wire.
- The green wire is the ground connection.
- Remove the 120V outlet and check the gauges of the circuit to ensure you’re using the suitable wire and receptacle:
- The 15 amp circuit should use a 14 gauge wire.
- The 20 amp circuit should use a 12 gauge wire.
- Leave approximately 6 inches (15 centimeters) of wire sticking out.
- Mark your existing neutral wire with black/red electrical tape because this will become a hot wire in your new set up.
- Make sure all wires have good loops to connect to the screws.
- Connect your ground wire to the ground screw.
- Connect the two hot wires to the brass screws on the receptacle.
- At the fuse box, turn the main breaker off before removing the panel.
- You will need two breakers right next to each other to create the 240V socket. Try to use the 120V breaker next to your existing 120V converting breaker. Otherwise, you’ll need to move the whole connection to a new spot.
- Trace the neutral wire that we’re converting to a live wire into the fuse box and unscrew from the box’s neutral bar.
- Use the black/red electric tape to label the wire as hot.
- Remove the existing breaker and the adjacent empty breaker. (In order for the new socket to have 240V, your new breaker needs to have connections to both bus bars -on either side- in the fuse box)
- Attach the new Double Pole Breaker and reconnect both live wires to the screws in the breaker.
- Turn on the main breaker and check the power to the new 240V socket.
One final thought: If your stove is within six feet (1.8 meters) of a water source (like your kitchen sink), code requires GFCI protection.
GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit-interrupter. A GFCI outlet will shut off electrical power instantly (or very close to) at the instance of a ground fault. It is currently easier to find a GFCI breaker like the Square D Two-Pole GFCI Circuit Breaker found on Amazon, which has the added benefit of cutting the power in the case of an emergency.