How To Convert 3 Wire to 4 Oven/Electric Range Electrical Outlet

How To Convert 3 Wire to 4 Oven/Electric Range Electrical Outlet


– Hi everybody, it’s Jeff again. This week we’re going to
show you how to convert your electric range outlet
from a three conductor outlet to a four conductor, a four wire outlet. Now, this is what your
standard three prong outlet looks like here. This is the older one. So anytime you buy a new appliance, it’s always a good idea to
update your connector there to the latest building code requirements. So, pretty much as of 1996, any new building has to have it. You’re grandfathered in
if you’ve already got the three prong. But I always like to
upgrade whenever possible. But it’s not always possible to upgrade. So the way we tell is
when we look here at this, this is our ground wire that’s
coming in out of the outlet. You have to have one of
these coming into the box. If you don’t have one then
you’re going to have to run one and we’ve had to do that many times. And sometimes it can be a pain, depends on where you are
in relationship to the electrical panel. But you’d have to run a
ground wire all the way down here to this thing here. And this is what the
new outlet looks like. So this is the outlets
that are required now by the modern building codes,
the electrical code. So that ground wire will
actually connect into this one here and so
that’s what we’re going to do here today. Okay, so you can see first
thing you have to do is turn off the power to the electric range and that’s usually going to
be your 50 amp switch here. So you can see that’s in the off position. And then I’m going to verify it with my voltage testing tool. Okay, so this is my
little fluke volt alert. I always use this to test
circuits before I work on them. Just because you flip
the switch over on the electrical panel, doesn’t mean you’re safe because I’ve seen stupid electricians do really stupid things over the years so, I don’t trust anybody, I always use this. So you turn it on. So see how the red light came on there? And then you wanna touch
it onto the wires here and make sure that none
of them are electrified. I check all of them, even the ground wire, ’cause you never know. So there’s nothing in here. So we know we’re safe now. And you can also wear
gloves, too, if you want, for some universal precaution. And I always like to use my
insulated screwdrivers here. And I just wanted to show
you what the four prong cable here looks like. So I see it’s got the four prongs sticking out of it there. And it’s going to plug in, of course, to the new cable, like this. And just remember, the way you wire these is very simple. The black and the red have the voltage. So each one of them has the 120 volts for a total voltage
differential of 240 volts. So, it doesn’t matter
which one goes where. The black could go here. The red could go here. Or, reverse. They call them x and y on the outlet. And the white one has to go down here and the new, which is the ground, which is typically a green wire if it has insulation on it, will go onto this port right here. So, that’s really it, and so you don’t need
to worry about polarity on the two, the red and the black. They can go either way here. But just make sure that
your white one goes here and your green one goes here. And we’re also going
to show you how to wire this end of it onto the terminal block inside the back of your stove there. And you gotta remember
that once you connect this up inside there, inside the back, there’s a little bracket
that we have to take off, it’s a grounding strap, because inside the back of the appliance, all the appliance makers
short the white wire to the green wire. That’s how they get the ground. They’re essentially using the chassis to connect to the ground for safety. But now, with the new rules and the requirements for
the national electric code, they want these two separated now so, inside the back we have
to remove that bracket that shorts these two. And if you fail to do
that, you could go through all of this work and it
would be as though you didn’t do anything at all. So this is all very similar
to the way we did the dryer connector. And one other thing I wanted
to point out to you is that once we get this installed, he’s gonna be laying sideways like this. Don’t know if it’ll be
this way or this way yet, we’ll have to see once
the cord is connected because the cord, when it
comes out of the bottom of your electric range there, it’s gonna be kinda facing sideways. It’s not gonna be going up like this or down like that. It wants to rest sideways
so that’s why we’re going to have the connector port, the outlet will be plugged sideways. Alright, so let’s get started. Okay, so the first thing we have to do is unscrew these wires here
out of the old outlet. And of course, it’s got flat head screws which I hate it. That’s like the really cheapy
ones, older ones do that. I like the newer ones that
have the Phillip heads, it’s a little easier to work with. So anyway, all we do
is we just loosen them and the first wire pops out. So it’s very simple, very
quick, very easy operation. And it pops right off, just like that. Okay, now I always start with the ground. So I’ve done the ground
first on that one here. Now the white wire’s going to go in here and you simply stick it all the way in and you can see how you can’t
see any bare copper here. You should only see just
the insulation going right up to the edge of the hole. You don’t wanna see any bare copper. That would be bad. ‘Cause somebody, if
they were stupid enough to ever operate on this
without shutting off the fuse panel, they could get shocked. So, sometimes you have to
protect idiots from themselves. And of course the clowns that
wired this up originally, didn’t really give us a whole lot of slack coming out of the wall but
we’re able to make this work. So now the red and the black
can go on these other two, it doesn’t matter which one goes where. So I’m gonna stick the red one in there and screw him down. And the black one is going to
go into the other one here. And when they don’t give you enough slack, you really gotta manipulate
this thing around. That goes in there this way. Okay, so now we’re doing the black one. The last one’s always the hardest one. Had to really play with the
tension on that last one. Okay, so now we back up. I just take a look and
make sure it’s okay. They got the ground here on this one. The white is on the opposite one. The red and black are right over here. And so now we are ready
to connect our wire up to the back of the range. Ready? Okay, so although the
wiring terminal block is back behind this plate, and I’ve already done one screw, so we’re going to unscrew
the second one here. And this just pulls out and slides down and you can see our
friendly three wires here, the red, the white, and the black. So you can see what they’ve done, if you look way down below here, they’ve shorted the
white wire to the chassis with this metal bracket here. This is a grounding strap and this is what we have to remove if we’re switching to four wire. So now when we run the cable
up through this hole here and through the strain relief that you see down here on the floor, this is our strain relief. The cable will come up through here and the ground wire will
now attach to the chassis so we will no longer
be shorting the chassis of the range to the white wire, okay. It’ll be its own independent wire now. Alright, so we’re about to start now. The one thing here that kinda
stinks about this system, instead of using screws,
they’re giving us bolts here. And so with these here, you have to have a longer socket here, an
extended length socket. Now, this one’s a 3/8 inch so we’re just gonna stick it in there and going to loosen it. (wrench winding) And we take the nut off there on this one and as we run the wires in through here, they’ll clip on to here and you’ll just rerun the nuts there. Now, this one here, they
give you these spares here and they want you to use these with the power cord as well. Let me see. Okay, so now the ground one, we’re gonna unscrew this green one to get that strap off of there. So we gotta pull the white wire off here and in this case, they got
it on there pretty good so I think we’re just gonna break it off. So there we go. The tab’s broken off there. We’ll put him back on. Now we’re ready to run the cable. Alright, so what we’re looking at now is I’ve run the cable up
through the bottom of this and the cable usually comes with these really gnarly, cheapy,
strain relief things but you do have to install them but this type is a real pain and I can guarantee you if
you’ve never done this before, you’re gonna look at
spending 15, 20 minutes getting this thing to feed
up and go through here. We’re used to it so we
do it all the time but my preferred method instead of this, I normally use my little,
same ones that they use on the electrical boxes with
the little metal nut on there and it’s got the clamps built onto it and it’s just a lot easier ’cause you feed it up through the
bottom and you screw on the metal washer and then you’re done. This things here, you really have to finagle with it and I’ll
show you what it looks like underneath, see? See how you’ve got the two screws there that hold that clamp together and you’ve gotta make
sure when you insert it, that you put the proper
piece facing the front towards you because there’s
two pieces here, right? And they’re not the same. The one on this side
here is meant to accept the screw as it goes
right in through there and the other side of it
is the one that’s threaded. So, that’s all you really
gotta worry about there. So now we’re ready to attach the wires. Okay, so now we’re screwing
in the ground one first. And he goes right to the chassis. Okay, and then now I’m
gonna put the white one onto the white wire one there, It’s just a simple matter of matching up the colors at this point. Black one is going to go
over here to this one. And the red one is going
to go over to here. And we’re going to take
the nuts that they gave us, remember, I pulled this off earlier? Okay, so now I’m going
to put the nuts here on each one of these. And a nut on the white one. And the nut goes on the red one. And then we’re just simply
going to tighten it. (wrench winding) Then we’ll tighten the white one. (wrench winding) Then the black one. (wrenching winding) Okay, so let’s take a
step back and make sure we’ve got everything right. We’ve brought the wire up from the bottom, through here. There’s a little bit of the
black insulation showing through which you wanna see. And it’s squeezing and it’s
held in nice and tight, good strain relief there. Okay, so the black is going to the black. The white is going to the white. And the red is going to the red. So we are now done with the wiring and this piece that we took off, that we broke off before, that goes in the trash. That’s no longer needed. And now we simply put
the back cover back on and screw it back in. Okay, so now we are done
and we’re just screwing the back panel back on. And as we look and see here,
we sort of have a choice. It looks like the ground prong
is going to face towards the, this is the, depending
on how you look at it, the right side of the stove here. So we just wanna make
sure when we connect up the connector to the wall
outlet on the front there, that we have it set to
the correct orientation that matches the way that this cable naturally wants to lay. Okay, one other safety
feature of your electric range that most people don’t pay attention to, or they don’t abide by it, is this safety bracket that they give you. Every oven comes with one. And you should mount that up
against your back wall here. And the instructions tell you pretty much where to put it, okay? And so what this does
is the right rear leg of the oven is supposed to
slide underneath this bracket and this is an anti-tipping feature. This keeps a little kid from swinging open the front door and jumping
on it and then the stove tips over on them and kills them. So, it’s a very, very important piece of safety equipment that you need. And you always wanna
make sure to install it. And it is required by law. I prefer bolting it to the ground here with a good flat head
tapcon, couple of tapcons. So you can drill right
through the tile here. That ways it’s not gonna go anywhere. ‘Cause here we’re up against
the cement block wall and I don’t really like the placement of these holes here. Sometimes we drill our
own hole there as well to make sure that we’re going all the way straight back into the
concrete with a tapcon. And if this was a wall,
maybe you got lucky, maybe there’s wood there. Maybe there’s a stud there. Maybe not but, those are
the design considerations you need to worry about there with that. Okay, so before we put
this and attach this back onto the box there, I wanted to point out
something to you here that was done very wrong
by the original builder. And this is a good
teachable moment for you so in a way, I’m kinda glad they did this. But this is highly incorrect. So, if you can imagine,
they had this on here. This is the old connector. And it was right there on the box just screwed to, you
can see where you have these two screw holes were lined up to these two screw holes there to attach it. And the problem with
that is is it leaves gaps above and below the thing and that to me is a big no-no. You’re just asking for trouble there when you do something like that. The proper way to terminate this and this is how these systems are designed and I don’t know why they
didn’t do it this way, you’re supposed to use
this type of a plate here with a big round hole in the middle, big enough to fit right
round this guy here, see, like that, so that everything’s sealed up. There’s no way to get in there. And these four screws here, you’ll see, the whole system’s designed
so that it lines up to the four screws there. There’s two here and
two on the other side. So when it’s done, it should
look perfect, like that. And so you attach the
outlet onto the plate with those four screws
and then once that’s done, the entire apparatus
gets pushed back onto the four inch box back there
and screwed in by these four screws on the corners. And I knew, I could tell
immediately that the builder never did the originally because I had to widen up this hole here,
this drywall opening in order to even get it wide enough to make this thing fit back in there. So, this was done
incorrectly from the get go and let me just tell you, don’t be that person. Somebody was too lazy to slit open a little bit wider opening
in the drywall there with a utility knife, spend
the extra couple of minutes so you could fit this thing in here and do it the right way. Not even sure how this
got past inspection. But, anyway, let me just remind you, don’t be that person. So let me show you how
we’re going to do this. So, what you see we had to do here is we had to dig out a
little more in the drywall and I suspect there’s gonna
have to be more taken out. But what they did on here is they got this frame
here, this bezel frame. That’s an inappropriate frame and we’re going to have to remove it because really, all you need is this front plate that we got here, will screw on to the corner of the box. Now, this doesn’t appear
to be a box that has four screws on it. So two’s gonna be fine. But we’ll have to undo this screw up here and there’s another screw
down there on the lower right and once we unscrew those, this old inappropriate bezel plate will come off and we’ll just screw the new plate on there. And then we’ll be good to go. We’ll have to caulk up probably around the edge and do a
little bit of repainting but this is what you’re gonna run into quite a bit because somebody’s negligence 25 years ago will turn into hours of extra work for you later
on when you have to try to bring things up to
code or fix past mistakes. So here it is. We took it off. This is the wrong bezel
to use and here’s why, because all they did was, let me try to fit it on here for you, this is how they had it lined up. So you see how how you
have the holes there? Anybody could stick
their fingers back there. A kid could stick a hanger back there and get shocked. So that’s why that’s
stupid, stupid, stupid, Very, very stupid idea. So we’re going to correct that now and you’ll see how it’s
gonna look in the end. We wanna vacuum very thoroughly here and stick the nozzle way back in there and get all of that dust
and dirt out of there before we do anything else. Okay, so before we continue, I wanted to address a subject here that people always ask. Well, here’s my Leviton
279 four wire outlet, here. If I connect this and screw this on to my metal outlet box, will
that ground my outlet box? Will that allow me to be
bonded now to the system ground of the house? And the question is yes, it is. Now, I always try to wrap
the ground wire around a green screw and screw that into the box whenever possible. In this case, because
the builder cemented our outlet box directly to
the cement block wall, and then put cement in there, they also kind of ruined
the screw boss that we had in there for the ground screw. So it’s unusable. So, we’re going to rely on this to do our system ground and let
me show you this, see. This right here is where your green wire is going to plug into for
the safety ground, right? Now do you see this little L-shaped piece of metal right here? This little brass strip? That taps onto the green wire that you’re going to insert here, or your regular bare copper ground wire. But this taps into it and it connect it right to the front face of this plate. So all I have to do
now is screw this plate onto the front of the outlet box by way of that bezel that we’re going to add on later on. And that will complete the
circuit for our safety ground. Now, of course, don’t
just take my word for it. We’re going to use the
old handy fluke meter here and you can see I’ve got it set to ohms. We’re gonna measure ohms here. And you can see I’ve already got one lead stuck into where the ground
pin is gonna go here. That’s where your green wire’s going to be on the other side of that. And you can see all I gotta do is touch it to the metal here and you can see I’ve got my perfect short there. So that’s how you know that
you’re shorted to ground on this metal piece here. So all you have to do is screw this thing into your metal box
and you will be bonded. And so here’s the finished product. You can see we finally got the plate with the outlet port on there screwed in. And you can see as we talked about before, the ground port is on the left there because that’s how the cable
is going to be oriented. So that looks a lot better than the way they had it before. Unfortunately, now we’re
left with this mess that we have to caulk,
all of those cracks and openings and everything. But at least when we’re done,
it will be safe and secure. And had they done it
properly the first time, we wouldn’t be in this position right now. Alright, so there it
is plugged in sideways, just like we said it would rest. And the moment of truth, we have power. Yep, there’s nothing like a gorgeous, new, electric range to go along with your gorgeous, new kitchen that you remodeled. So anyway, hope you
learned a lot from this. And if you like this video, please leave positive comments below and subscribe to our
channel because we’re always adding many, many more videos to help you get out of some of
these engineering issues you’re going to come across
as you remodel your home. So thanks for stopping
by and we’ll see you on the next one. Have a great day. Bye.

35 thoughts on “How To Convert 3 Wire to 4 Oven/Electric Range Electrical Outlet

  1. Jeff, you do a great job with the building videos. If building your subscriber base is a priority you should have a Youtube channel solely dedicated to the building stuff. Musical pieces and first responder calls aren’t a good fit. M

  2. I'm working on a remodel now that the home owner asked me to install thier new wall oven that's 4 wire. The contractor prior us moved the outlet but it's only 3 wires 2 hots and a ground. No nuetral wire.

  3. Hello sir I am running into this problem i have a 3 outlet but i can't change it to a 4 because the panel does not have a neutral bar my question is if I leave it the way it's would it still be ok ?
    The salesman asked me what cable i wanted a 4 or a 3 cable and i said a 3 but i am still a litle worry
    Would it be ok to leave it with a 3 prong outlet i will really apreciate your answer and your help thank you sir.

  4. great video, what do you do about a stove wire with a red wire black wire and a bunch of bare copper wires twisted together? how do you convert that to 4 wire?

  5. With this stated, a 3-pole, non-grounded connection is intended to have the majority of the current through the hot legs of the split-phase connection. Both have a potential of 120 volts AC to ground. Across the legs, the potential is 240 volts AC and the majority of the current is through these legs. But a small percentage is used from one leg to the neutral. This can lead to a problem IF the neutral is broken and the device is also grounded through the neutral as there WILL be 120 volts potential in the frame. Also, if the neutral conductor is the same gauge as the legs and there is a fault, that conductor could become over-loaded since both legs could short to it. As since there is no circuit breaker on a neutral, there is potential for fire. Consider 240 VAC heater elements are switched by one leg only. If there is a short from the heater element to ground, the leg that is unswitched will continue to draw, even when the machine is off! There are no safety controls for this on older appliances

  6. I'm about to add few 240v outdoor connections, but I also need possibility to extract 120v out of it in case I need it in future. Can we say that good rule of thumb is always run 3 wire romex + ground wire, even if neutral in not going to be used?

  7. Tools & Parts used in this stove outlet 3 wire to four wire video:

    Leviton 279 50 Amp, 125/250 Volt: https://amzn.to/2Rs56YH

    Coleman 4-Foot 50-Amp 4-Wire Range Power Cord: https://amzn.to/2Aq2qAV
    Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter: https://amzn.to/2LK8etM
    Voltage Detector, Fluke VoltAlert: https://amzn.to/2THggao

    Raised Square Range Outlet Cover 4-Inch: https://amzn.to/2SBiszi

  8. We do not have a ground wire. Is it dangerous to replace the outlet without a ground wire? My husband says we did not have the ground before, why do we need one now?

  9. I've only got a white wire (neutral, I think), a bare wire (ground), and 2 black wires (I assume both are hot). So, the neutral wire goes to the middle, and the 2 hot wires go to either side, and the ground goes to the top?

  10. Philips screws only marginally better than flats. What you really want are Robertson screws – far superior

  11. Great video and explanation. Bought a place built in 1980 and I’m finding some of these problems. I replaced the dryer cord and the dryer outlet with the correct amperage but there’s no ground so I am going to have to run a ground from the panel up to the attic and through the walls so I can ground the dryer. These types of things where the NEC has changed the law is impossible to see you when you’re looking to buy a place

  12. I have another question Jeff I live on 9 acre piece of property the main house has its own 200 amp service. There is a large barn, we call it #1 and is fed from a 50 amp breaker from the main house and only supplies lighting which I am converting to all LED LIGHTS. A smaller barn, we call it #2, was used for wood storage and only has lighting in it as well. Currently it has a an old disconnect switch, which I will be replacing. It will have its own breaker as well as GFCI protection. Will both barn panel be sub panels and not bonded in the boxes.

  13. A must. When using the tester to test the receptacle if there is power on not. You should test the tester make sure it works after doing so because the tester might be not working.

  14. If you start with a new box instead of reusing the existing box, what type of box is required by code for the connector?

  15. Thank you so much! I can always tell when my husband needs help figuring out something, so without him asking I found this video for him. It saved my day! 👍🙂

  16. I've got numb nuts guys telling me…it's always better to just connect the two hot 120 legs together to the hot of the new oven…then just connect white to white and ground to the box.

    Shouldn't one always have a plug and outlet. What kind of logic are they speaking of? Is it just laziness?

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