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Is there a trick or "life hack" to holding the metal-shielded cable, the "whip", in place on the top of a double electric wall oven so that the 4-wire conductor cable and junction box are pushed back into the wall opening when the oven is slid back into the cabinet?

Appliance store guys just left after installing our replacement double wall oven. They taped the whip to the top of the upper oven before sliding it back, using a piece of the tape that they removed from the oven which had held its protective plastic sheathing in place. But I read over the installation instructions after they left, and they say to remove all packaging material including tape from the interior and exterior. A section of the document says the top can reach 200F. Also read on some manufacturers' websites, in their troubleshooting FAQ sections, about "smoke smells" and "burning plastic smells", and they say to make sure that all tape is removed from the oven. I don't want that tape to start smoking the first time we use the upper oven's broiler or the self-clean feature.

P.S. I am going to have them come back, but I want to be prepared with a suggestion, if taping the whip is the only way they know how to do it.

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    200 F is less than boiling water (212 F). It will probably not melt /burn the tape. Test by dropping a piece of the tape into a pot of rolling-boiling water. If the tape remains tape albeit not sticky, then the tape on top of your oven should be fine. Commented May 23 at 17:56
  • They have taken all the debris from the installation. I've got nothing to test with.
    – mr blint
    Commented May 23 at 18:36
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    So...my question is, "why does the junction box need to be pushed back?" Shouldn't it be affixed to something—the wall behind cabinet, cabinet wall, etc.?
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 24 at 11:56
  • The oven takes up the entire cabinet depth and so the junction box needs to retreat into the wall cavity. My understanding from talking with an old electrician is that this is not unusual.
    – mr blint
    Commented May 24 at 12:04
  • The new oven required some additional height in the cutout, so I trimmed the cabinet to 1/8 inch more than the minimum requirement. With the oven taking up more of the vertical space, there was no room for the junction box to sit on top of the oven. The cabinet remodel was back in the 1970s. Control panels nowadays put info on a screen and the screen requires more height than a knob. Ovens with old-school knobs cost a fortune. They're the kitchen equivalent of audiophile stereo equipment :-) Weren't available in our size in any case.
    – mr blint
    Commented May 24 at 12:28

2 Answers 2

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A loop of string to pull it up while pushing in is typical. Then pull the string back out.

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  • The issue isn't so much keeping the junction box up as getting it to go move back through the 6" x 6" cutout hole in the drywall and into the void between the studs. The tape they used prevented the whip from bending, to keep it rigid enough to force the junction box and the 10AWG 4-conductor wire backwards.
    – mr blint
    Commented May 23 at 18:57
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Similar to the other answer, but stiff wire - think unbend a coat hanger type, but possibly longer. But now for the relevant anecdotes:

Initial installation. Replaced 1950s single oven in brick wall with Kitchenaid 30" Double Oven with self-cleaning on both ovens and convection. My electrician loaned me power tools to work on the bricks (and, as it turned out, behind the bricks were concrete blocks and globs of mortar etc.). Electrician ran the new cable and installed a new breaker. Then we worked together on getting the oven into the wall. Which was quite a struggle and I very clearly remember using a big wire to hold/maneuver the junction box and whip while getting the oven into the wall.

Many years later after a self-cleaning cycle, the thermal fuse on top of the oven blew. That did not require pulling out the oven, as that fuse was behind the control panel in a small cavity between the top of the top oven and the very top of the entire appliance. I did not need to pull out the oven to get to the thermal fuse. Replaced it and the oven worked fine.

A few years later after another self-cleaning cycle, a regular fuse on the back of the oven blew. That did require pulling out the oven. In case you didn't know, a double-oven is heavy. In preparation, I built a platform out of 2x4s and plywood so that I could slide the oven out without having to lower it down and, equally important, without having to lift it up again to get it back into the wall. Getting it out was relatively easy. Replaced the fuse. Tested the oven and it worked fine. But getting it back in, even with a helper, was not easy, to say the least. And a big part of the problem was in fact the cable/junction box/whip. I feel your pain.

Back to your issue at hand: tape on top of the oven. If your oven is designed like mine (even if it is Kitchenaid/Whirpool it might not be the same design as my oven is over 20 years old) then the real thermal concern is the "inner" top which has a thermal fuse to protect it and the odds of the outer top getting super-hot without the thermal fuse blowing first is minimal. Plus 200F is not very hot. Basically "boiling water" hot, not "frying in oil" hot. That is quite a difference. In fact, it is quite common in similar setups to have a paper schematic folded up and taped to the top for repair reference. Tape also covers a broad range. For example, something like this 3M tape from Amazon:

3M 600F Tape

is good for up to 600 F, so it would certainly be fine in this situation. Of course, the packing tape that the installers used out of convenience could be anything, and is almost certainly not rated for 600 F. But personally, I wouldn't be too concerned about it with a 200 F warning.

As far as warnings about "make sure that all tape is removed from the oven", my hunch is that is more about tape used to secure items inside the oven. For example, a temperature probe, roasting tray, etc. might be shipped inside the oven for convenience and taped in place so they don't move around during shipping. Those items will themselves be able to handle a 400 F oven (but possibly not self-cleaning mode) but the tape holding them in place will almost certainly have problems at 400 F.

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  • Mind, the other moral lurking in this story is to be cautious (or skip entirely and scrub instead) about using the self-cleaning cycle, which stresses the oven components considerably. So long as failure is after the warranty, that's good from the manufacturer's point of view...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 23 at 18:07
  • I was mainly concerned with potentially toxic off-gasing. If it was polypropylene tape, it offgases around 150F. researchgate.net/figure/… But it could have been made of something else that emits toxic stuff at 150 and above.
    – mr blint
    Commented May 23 at 19:01
  • I think the flue tape is a pretty decent alternative. Since they charge about $300 to deliver and install, you'd think they'd bring a roll of it!
    – mr blint
    Commented May 24 at 9:43
  • How did you have access to the top of the oven to get at that fuse? The control panel was easy to remove?
    – mr blint
    Commented May 24 at 12:10
  • Control panel was easy to remove. Commented May 24 at 12:17

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