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I'm replacing my drop-in electric stove with a free-standing electric stove (both are rangetop + oven). The drop-in stove was hardwired and the wiring comes up out of a hole in the floor about 3" from the wall. The old stove was connected to a junction box with 12 gauge wire in flexible conduit, but the junction box was just floating around on the floor behind the cabinets--it wasn't fastened in place on the floor or to the wall.

Because the new stove requires 10 gauge or larger wiring and the store wasn't open when I needed to install the new stove, I "temporarily" connected the new stove directly to the really thick wire coming out of the floor (removing the junction box and 12 gauge wiring). Is it acceptable to leave the new stove like this, or must I install a junction box between the stove and the wire that runs to the breaker panel?

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You will need to refer to the documentation that came with your new appliance. Is it rated to be connected with a cord an plug or directly wired?

To start with you will need to run a new cable of 10 gauge wire and replace the circuit breaker in your panel. Operating the appliance with 12 gauge wire when it is rated more than 20 amps and requires 10 gauge wire violates the manufacturers instructions as well as overloading the circuit.

  • The stove included instructions for hard wiring in addition to installing a cord with a 3- or 4-prong plug. I guess I wasn't very clear in my question but the cable from the breaker panel is huge--definitely at least 10 ga. But thanks for the safety recommendations. – rob Jan 27 '15 at 19:03
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I decided that it could be hazardous for the heavy-duty wire from the breaker panel to be allowed to move when the stove is pulled out, because over time the insulation could be worn off at the hole in the floor.

I was going to reinstall the junction box and hardwire the stove to it, but my local store doesn't sell 10 ga metal-sheathed electrical cord by the foot, and I would have had to buy a 25-foot coil.

As it turned out, a stove receptacle only cost about $6, so I bought and installed a 3-prong stove cord and matching receptacle for less than $30 instead of leaving the stove hardwired with or without a junction box.

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If the new stove specifies hard wiring do not use a plug. The connection can wear out over time. If the existing wire from the panel is aluminum (it will be really thick) make sure you use approved wire nuts for connecting to copper. Dissimilar metals will corrode.

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