A while back, I was using the electric stove and noticed a weird plastic smell. Lately my wife has used the stove a few times with no issue. When I used the stove I heard a few clicks then the range cut off. The breaker tripped and it won't reset.

I did a quick visual inspection, found nothing odd, and plugged back in. When I did this, there was a nice size spark and the plug was scorched.

I'm thinking it could be the terminal block but I haven't checked anything with a multi meter yet. But with the spark, could I have damaged the outlet as well?

  • 2
    Weird plastic smell is probably burning wire insulation. Do not use/keep breaker off till you or have someone check it over. You are dealing with more than enough power to burn down the house and/or put you 6 feet under. Do not guess or fool around with this.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 11:00
  • Open up the wiring access on the back of the stove and edit in pictures of that as well as of the plug and receptacle, and (with the breaker OFF) the receptacle box with the wires connected, but pulled out so we can see the connections and any unused wire in the box
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 13:36
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    You said the breaker would not reset, but when plugging the stove in you got a big spark. Was the breaker on or off when the spark happened? If off you have a very big problem. Much bigger than the stove not working and should get an electrician in now.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


When the typically 40-50A breaker on a stove outlet won't reset, you keep looking until you find a problem, because there is assuredly a problem.

It takes quite a big problem to trip them (personal experience - oven element failed, arced, made yellow-to-white-hot slag of itself, stove breaker didn't care because it wasn't 12KW worth of arcing to slag, evidently.)

Could well be the receptacle and/or plug is damaged. Could also be the receptacle and plug are outdated NEMA 10's you should try to replace with NEMA 14s if at all possible, anyway.

Seems certain that there's damage inside the stove if you didn't find damage outside the stove. Depending on the damage, the stove is either scrap, or in need of repairs.

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