How can I determine circuit breaker requirements for an electric range?

I recently had a new range installed and when an electrician was visiting, he pointed out that the circuit was over capacity because the range was rated at 12.2KW at 240V. He said 12,200 W / 240 V = 51A minimum.

However, I told him that the specs and installation guide state that the range only needs a 40A circuit and the manufacturer confirmed that this isn't a mistake.

So what gives? Is the equation the electrician is using incorrect?

• I pulled up an owners manual for an electric range, and it has a footnote that says "The NEC calculated load is less than the total connected load listed on the model/serial rating plate.". Interestingly, their chart says that up to a 16.5KW range can be served by a 40A 240V circuit (up to 12.5KW on a 40A 208V circuit). Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 3:02
• Your formula for Amps is correct. I'd guess the oven has a safeguard to prevent all heating elements from using full power at the same time. Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 4:28
• @Edwin it definitely does have such a feature, however I don't understand then why it doesn't instead just list the actual maximum power load? Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 4:30
• @glenviewjeff: 12.2 kW is the theoretical maximum power load. What does the "ratings plate" list for amps? Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 6:42
• A calculated rating of 51 amperes would mean the circuit would have to be rated for 60 amperes, since I don't think anybody makes a 55 ampere breaker. Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 17:26

One of my favorite code sections, which basically says RTFM...

National Electrical Code 2014

Article 110 Requirements for Electrical Installations

I. General

110.3 Examination, Identification, Installation and Use of Equipment.

(B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.

If the installation manual says that 40 ampere overcurrent protection is required, then 40 ampere overcurrent protection is all that's required.

If you read further through the code, you'll get to article 422. There you'll find 422.10, which says.

Article 422 Appliances

II. Installation

422.10 Branch Circuit Rating.

(A) Individual Circuits. ...
... Branch circuits and branch circuit conductors for household ranges and cooking appliances shall be permitted to be in accordance with Table 220.55 and shall be sized in accordance with 210.19(A)(3).

This says that instead of simply using the rated values directly, you can use values found in these other code sections instead. If you look at Table 220.55, you'll find that if you only have 1 range, you can use 8 kW instead of the rated 12 kW.

Article 220 Branch Circuit, Feeder, and Service Calculations

III. Feeder and Service Load Calculations

220.55 Electric Ranges and Other Cooking Appliances — Dwelling Unit(s). The load for household electric ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, and other household cooking appliances individually rated in excess of 1 3/4 kW shall be permitted to be calculated in accordance with Table 220.55. Kilovolt-amperes(kVA) shall be considered equivalent to kilowatts (kW) for loads calculated under this section.

This means that you'd only have a demand of 33.33 amperes.

`8000 W / 240 V = 33.33 A`

However, we also have to take 210.19(A)(3) into account, which says...

Article 210 Branch Circuits

II. Branch-Circuit Ratings

210.19 Conductors -- Minimum Ampacity and Size.

(A) Branch Circuits Not More Than 600 Volts.

(3) Household Ranges and Cooking Appliances. Branch circuit conductors supplying household ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, and other household cooking appliances shall have an ampacity not less than the rating of the branch circuit and not less than the maximum load to be served. For ranges of 8 3/4 kW or more rating, the minimum branch-circuit rating shall be 40 amperes.

This means that since you have a range with a rating more than 8 3/4 kW, the minimum circuit rating is 40 amperes. So despite the fact that you used Table 220.55 to calculate a rating of 33.33 amperes, the circuit cannot be less than 40 amperes. Therefore, you'll install conductors rated for 40 amperes, and a 40 ampere overcurrent device.