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A friend has a stove with a gas range top and 240v electric oven. He does not have space in his circuit breaker to wire a 240v double breaker and would need a whole new panel installed so too expensive to do correctly with a new 240v dedicated circuit. He does not use the oven, only uses the gas range top. He currently uses a lighter or match to light the stove top gas burners instead of the electric pilot sparks since no electric is hooked up.

Would it be possible to wire it for pilot use only using a 120V outlet?

Instead of tracing back the internal wiring and splicing in, could he hook up the 240v stove wires to 120v using only one hot leg and capping off the other, plus the neutral and ground? I know this is a improper jerry rig, but if on a 15A breaker seems safe if someone accidentally turned on the oven drawing to many amps. He only wants to use the electronic range top burner pilots. He could do an experiment, but thought to consult here first.

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  • Why would a gas range in a 120V country use 240V at all?
    – keshlam
    Dec 15, 2022 at 11:44
  • Because, oddly, @keshlam, the OP states it's an electric oven with a gas cook top. That's a weird beast, to be sure, but that's the claim...
    – FreeMan
    Dec 15, 2022 at 12:28
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    @FreeMan -- "dual fuel" ranges are a thing in North America Dec 15, 2022 at 12:47
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    Can you provide a picture of your friend's electrical panel please? Dec 15, 2022 at 12:48
  • @ThreePhaseEel simply not in my repertoire, then, and again, I learn something new here every day!
    – FreeMan
    Dec 15, 2022 at 14:01

3 Answers 3

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If someone accidentally turned on the oven, the (hopefully properly capped off) other leg from the range side would become hot, and no current would flow - because the oven elements are 240V, and without both hot legs connected that's an open circuit. There's no connection to neutral there.

What we can't tell from here is whether the gas igniter circuit is 120V (one hot leg, but you don't know which, to neutral) or whether the igniter is 240V powered. Presumably you'd test connecting ground, neutral, and one hot leg, try the ignitor, if no joy, switch which hot leg is connected and try again. Likely if it is 120V powered it will be the same leg that powers the clock (if any) and oven light. And it probably is 120V powered, as other gas igniters for all-gas stoves in this country are going to be 120V powered.

I would strongly suggest that the 120V cord be plugged into a GFCI-protected outlet.

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Well, ranges need cords, and they're interchangeable because older houses have (dangerous) 3-prong hot-hot-neutral connections. Therefore it shouldn't be a problem to fit a 120V cord. (or just hardwire it to 120V).

Kitchen countertop circuits cannot support any fixed-in-place load except wall clock and gas range, so you CAN use countertop receptacle circuits.

As far as wiring, I would wire it "in 4-wire style" with the neutral-ground bond removed. And then connect ground to chassis, neutral to neutral, and here's the important bit - both hot wires to each other and also to the 120V hot.

Why do that? Because first it ties up the loose hot wire. But second, it removes all guesswork as to which hot is important. After all, they might have put some of them on each hot. This neatly solves that.

And as far as safety, this is the same thing that happens when a nitwit wires the oven up to a tandem breaker (both hot wires on the same pole). It doesn't do any harm; it just doesn't work lol.

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Your friend needs to free up space in their breaker box by installing half-width 120v breakers. What you are describing might work, but good grief, what a train wreck. Just do it right so the house can be sold again.

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  • The breaker panel may already be maxxed out on half-width breakers. Dec 15, 2022 at 22:47
  • And if the box is already completely saturated with half-width breakers... Putting in a satellite box is an option, or replacing the box with a larger one. (I did both, and upgraded from 100A to 200A service at the same time.)
    – keshlam
    Dec 15, 2022 at 22:49

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