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I am in the USA.

I want to change my propane stove to an electric stove.

I have read that I should put in a 50 amp outlet with 6 gauge wire. The employee at the big-box store said I could make it easy on myself by using a surface mount box and run the wire up through the floor. Most likely, through the hole that will be left behind when I remove the gas line.

I asked if the wire needs to be protected in some fashion like with conduit.

He stated and it was not because it was not that far off the ground.

What is allowed via NEC codes? Thanks

PS is 50 amp code on new construction for range rough in ?

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  • Important things: I take it you're not in Chicago or NYC, right? What make and model is your breaker box, and what's the amperage rating of your electric service? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 29 '20 at 0:33
  • As a cook I loath electric stoves. Why? "He stated and it was not because it was not that far off the ground" something does not smell right. – Alaska Man Jun 29 '20 at 0:42
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    Check the install instructions for the range before roughing in the electric. They will show acceptable receptacle locations. (like on page 4 manuals.frigidaire.com/prodinfo_pdf/Lassomption/318201625.pdf ) and circuit requirements (see page 6). – NoSparksPlease Jun 29 '20 at 1:28
  • @AlaskaMan -- you should give induction a shot sometime :) – ThreePhaseEel Jun 29 '20 at 3:02
  • @ThreePhaseEel Couldn't agree more!!!! Induction ranges are awesome. I cook for a large group (400-500 ppl) once a month at my church and we have 4 induction burners. They are 240 volt and I think 3200 watts each. Amazing how fast they can heat up huge pots of water compared to conventional gas or electric burners. Very energy efficient and they don't heat up the kitchen either (other than the boiling pots). I still don't know why induction isn't more popular. yeah, you need induction ready cookware such as cast iron, steel, or stainless steel, but most cookware is already compatible. – George Anderson Jun 29 '20 at 5:21
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NM, UF and SE all have specs in different chapters, but generally are all similar to the NM requirement in 2017 NEC 334.15(B) that "Cable shall be protected from physical damage where necessary by ..."

Unfortunately "where necessary" isn't well defined in the Code and is mostly up to the interpretation of the inspector. Generally a surface receptacle installed two inches off the floor, behind the range (like the instructions posted in the comments above) would not normally raise to that level if the existing hole lined up with the zone required by the stove. If it doesn't line up you could create a situation where damage is possible and protection would be needed if you don't drill a new hole. Some jurisdictions (like Chicago) have adopted additional requirements that require conduit, you can normally find local ordinances online.

Actually the code doesn't specify the exact size of circuit for a range, but the circuit has to have adequate capacity for the range used. For greater than 99% of electric residential ranges #6 copper 4-wire cable and a 50 amp breaker would normally satisfy the requirements for the range. Sometimes a 40A breaker is called out as required or allowed, but a 50A (NEMA14-50) receptacle is still used with a 40A breaker since NEMA hasn't designated a 40A configuration.

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  • Actually not defined at all I agree as even 8’ is arbitrary, crawl spaces are usually not 8’. – Ed Beal Jun 29 '20 at 15:39
  • I just figured if new homes are doing 50A that maybe I should just do that so it does not have to be changed again. I am assuming I could get away with 40A and #8 wire based on the stove I am buying but as time goes on do not want to limit. I just assumed there was a code for 50 amp since it seems many on youtube are saying it is. My goal is to try to get stud mounted box without fully opening the wall. It was only that I was reading many had issues getting the outlet in the box due to the wire thickness – Mstar Jun 30 '20 at 1:38
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Ignoring codes, experience, and off-the-cuff responses from big box store employees your question boils down to:

Should I make this electrical connection safer?

so you asked for some reassurance and received:

No, you don't need to make your electrical safer.

Yes, make the exposed electrical safer. You'll sleep better at night and you won't be second-guessing your work after it's done.

Some things you might not be thinking of right now but are possible:

  • What if a mouse decides to chew through the romex sleeve?
  • What if you're renovating and tearing up linoleum with an oscillating tool and get too close to the wire?
  • What if you go to shift the stove and it catches a foreign sharp object which cuts into your wire?
  • What if you spill hot liquid behind the stove and it melts the sleeves?

I'm sure there's other "what-if's" but imagine not having to worry about them by just doing it right.

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    "Ignoring [...] off-the-cuff responses from big box store employees" is probably the single best bit of advice ever offered on this site! – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 15:11
  • @FreeMan Glad you like that! It's always interesting to lead them on with "Wow, you're really smart in xyz field, can't believe you're not in xyz trade!" And let them obliterate your trust by letting you know why they failed in field xyz. They're not all like that though, I've dealt with several that provided genuine and thoughtful advice which helped me avoid botching my projects. – MonkeyZeus Jun 29 '20 at 15:21
  • True - I've met people at my local big-box who've spent a career in the trade they're now selling supplies for and rival some of our folks here for knowledge & helpfulness. Most, unfortunately, are simply there to make their hourly rate and avoid being asked any questions at all. – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 15:32
  • I have had some retired guys that worked in those stores in the electric or plumbing so have found some helpful. I asked since my thought would be it should not be exposed for the reasons described. – Mstar Jun 30 '20 at 1:25
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    I have heard absolutely wrong information given on many occasions mostly electrical in big box stores , I have seen a few pull out an uglies for ampacity though. – Ed Beal Jun 30 '20 at 13:06
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I would cap the propane line. you may want to go back to it at a later date.

Most inspectors use below 8’ as the location that the cable needs protection. But as far as specifically calling out 8’ it doesn’t.

334.15.B & C the NEC specifically allows exposed work & requires protection of the cable coming through the floor for 6”.

But as I mentioned most inspectors view protection against physical damage is below 8’, protected by elevation the only place I could find a direct 8’ is guarding of live parts 50-300v is 8’ but cable is not a risk for contact as defined by 110.27. I do believe there was another quasi 8’ rule that I was told in the past but it’s just better to use conduit, Sheetrock or plywood as code specified for protection, schedule 80 pvc, 1/2” plywood or Sheetrock.

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  • 8" or 8 feet? This is an apartment in a two family I own. I am trying to get off of Propane as tenants do not like the added utility to get.Many renters are used to lower coast nat gas or electric. The water heaters are also propane and getting on in years so I am thinking of the future. Propane, is always a concern for me with tenants, Oven in that unit is old and was going to be changed but the last tenant had a table top Induction burner and liked that so we turned off the valve to the stove. He is leaving now so I need to buy a new oven and figured now would be the time – Mstar Jun 30 '20 at 1:33
  • Most inspectors consider 8 feet and below requiring protection, you can surface mount conduit up to a box. – Ed Beal Jun 30 '20 at 12:21
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I'm not yet able to comment, or I would have on other posts. I want, though, to reinforce MonkeyZeus' remarks...

Code requirements are MINIMUM. If you design for code, you're designing for "just barely good enough", and leaving no room for variations. Do you want a "just barely good enough" kitchen?

The cost of additional mechanical protection is far, far less than the cost of a house fire... what's your insurance deductible?

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