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I’m planning to install a new 50A 240V circuit for an electric induction range. The receptacle will be within 6ft of the sink so it requires a GFCI according to NEC 2020. My jurisdiction is still on 2017 code so the GFCI is optional, but I would like to have it for safety if possible. My electrician was surprised by this request, saying no one has ever asked for a GFCI on a range. He advised against it because of nuisance tripping. This seems to a widespread issue with ranges that were not designed for GFCI compatibility.

https://www.nahb.org/blog/2021/06/Another-Issue-with-the-2020-Electrical-Code-Ranges-Tripping-on-GFCIs

Are there any models that are designed for GFCI compatibility, and how can I tell? I haven’t seen this written in the spec sheets.

The appliance store I went to actually refuses to install a range on a GFCI protected circuit because they don’t want callbacks.

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    Have you checked on the price and availability/supply of 50 amp GFCI breakers? It is nice to be safe but the cost/benefit ratio might not be worth it. It would take some odd things to happen at once for a GFCI there to be helpful. 6 feet is in the danger zone, but 6ft 2 inches is not, do not imagine you tend to have water fights that often.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 15:42
  • Since a range outlet is usually not accessible, I presume this would be a GFCI in the breaker box. I would hope that a new range, especially an induction range, was designed with GFCI in mind; see if you can get a statement from the manufacturer. Note that GFCI would require a modern 4-wire connection for the stove (both power phases, neutral, and ground), which is highly recommended in any case. (I still need to upgrade the one my own induction range is plugged into.) In the end, this may have to be "try the GFCI breaker, and it it complains swap back to standard."
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 15:52
  • @crip659 Good question about availability; this may not be an option. On the other hand, I've spilled pots of water on my range often enough that a bit of extra protection seems worth at least considering, for the same reasons folks here have been recommending I fix the grounding situation.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 15:55
  • @keshlam GFCI/receptacle is simply not generally available for any 240V circuit or for 120V circuit larger than 20A. Aside from development cost, limited market, etc. I suspect an additional factor is that "convenient reset" is simply not the same issue that it is for kitchen countertop and bathroom receptacles where it is trivially easy for an appliance (and the appliance cord) to get wet, cause an obvious ground fault and so convenient reset makes sense. Just not the same with large built-in appliances. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:10
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Makes sense. Just running down a mental checklist...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:37

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Any properly built appliance should be "GFCI compatible". Despite the horror stories of GFCI-incompatible refrigerators, even those I suspect are more often a problem over time as various things (like insulation on various parts) wears out, and not inherently incompatible. A GFCI is really a very simple device. AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters) are, I suspect, more problematic with respect to large appliances as they are not simply detecting a difference in current on hot & neutral wires but trying to detect a pattern that "looks like" a fault.

There are really two separate, but for now related issues:

Hard-wire vs. Receptacle

I highly, highly, recommend hard-wiring when possible and practical for almost any permanently installed appliances, such as:

  • Range/Oven/Cooktop (except, see below)
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • HVAC
  • EVSE (a.k.a., "car charger")

Nothing is truly permanent, of course. But all of the above are things where the appliance is installed in a cabinet or attached to a wall, etc. and not normally moved during the lifetime of the appliance except for repairs. The "possible" part is whether the manufacturer supports it and local code allows it. In most cases, the manufacturer supports hard-wiring these appliances. In fact, in many cases the manufacturer even requires it. But in cases where there is an option (typically with ranges/ovens/cooktops, dishwashers and disposals), always go for hard-wire unless local code for some reason prohibits it.

The one exception is a gas cooktop. For some situations (I can explain if anyone cares) there is an advantage to being able to unplug it easily. Plus most gas cooktops only use a standard 15A 120V circuit, and only use a small part of that (e.g., 1A when igniting) so sharing that circuit makes sense. All the other appliances are typically on dedicated circuits, so you can't even have extra receptacles on the same circuit anyway.

GFCI on 240V Circuits

This has been gradually increasing with each version of the NEC and local adoption. Generally speaking, hard-wired appliances are behind receptacles in this requirement, so depending on NEC version and local code, a receptacle may require GFCI where a hard-wired appliance will not. Clearly if both require it then this is a non-issue. Assuming that you are not required to have GFCI at this time, which sounds like it is the case for your particular setup, you can still put in GFCI if you want to. However, large GFCI double-breakers (not an option to get GFCI at the receptacle, which is another reason to prefer hard-wiring - this is not like a 120V 15A or 20A circuit where GFCI/receptacle is cheaper than GFCI/breaker) are rather expensive and may be hard to find for your panel. My electrician told me about a problem getting the right GFCI/breaker for a customer who insisted on a receptacle for EV charging instead of hard-wired (jurisdiction on NEC 2020 so receptacle needed GFCI but hard-wired EVSE did not), and availability (and cost) will vary by panel brand/type.

Does GFCI on 240V appliances make sense? It might, in some cases. An induction cooktop with its glass surface, properly grounded, should have minimal ground fault issues. A traditional metal-cased cooktop with a 3-wire (no ground) connection would be a different story.

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  • I am interested in why you prefer hard wiring and why gas ranges are an exception.
    – jay613
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:14
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    Gas cooktop (not range - a range is, to my mind, a cooktop/oven combination device which inherently blocks the power connection behind it - i.e., can't unplug it if it is plug/receptacle without moving the range, so it should be hard-wired as well) has a few differences: It uses very little power (as I noted in my answer) so it can be on a circuit shared with other receptacles - in fact, NEC allows for it as one of the few exceptions to "nothing else on kitchen countertop receptacle circuit") so using a receptacle makes sense to me with everything else "receptacles"); Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:20
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    The last two induction ranges I installed came with FMC whips for hard wiring. Forget about the plug and outlet.
    – JACK
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:56
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    Note that the latest version of "the Regs" (aka "code") in the UK requires all circuits to be protected by an RCD (aka GFCI), also that the cooker circuit in my German house (built 1997) is covered by an RCD - so anyone that builds a range which is not compatible with GFCI is excluding a huge chunk of export market. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 17:55
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    @MartinBonnersupportsMonica I have never seen a 32A breaker in the USA. Maybe that’s a British thing. Here we have 40A or 50A options.
    – Elliott B
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 1:25
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There are lots of 50A GFCI breakers. Hopefully one for you panel. In the vicinity of $100, I don't see cost or availability being a limiting factor.

I also can't see why ranges would nuisance trip more than anything else, unless (A) they are wired for three-wire, in which case you must fix that before proceeding, or (B) they are not "nuisance" tripping, they are encountering actual ground faults and tripping, in which case that's the whole point of it.

This should be achievable.

I doubt very much you'll find a range "designed for GFCI". Unless GFCI is mandated by the manufacturer (spa baths, electric floor heat, etc) it seems unlikely a manufacturer will call out the list of problems they don't cause. (Unless not causing it is a popular requirement, like "doesn't cause drowsiness" but I don't think this requirement has risen to that level.)

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Yours could possibly be viewed as an XY question..

Does the range require cord-and-plug connection? If you had the option to hard wire, doing so may side-step the "receptacles near sink shall be GFCI protected" requirement.

Many induction ranges use smooth surfaces and touch controls, so one could make a compelling argument that GFCI really provides little human safety advantage with that particular appliance.

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  • That’s a good point. These modern induction ranges are much more smooth with few crevasses for water ingress than the older ranges I’m familiar with.
    – Elliott B
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 1:27

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