Electric range wire and breaker.

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Old 03-18-11, 11:14 AM
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Electric range wire and breaker.

Albany,NY-I replaced a broken 3 prong range receptacle(good thing that i decided to look behind the range and noticed that it was missing a big chunk on it's side).It wasn't an easy task to get this range out of it's tight space to get to the box, as you tip the range forward and pull it up and out of the corner with the sink cabinet and wall-I figured this was why it was missing a large chunk out of it's side and that the sharp bottom corner of the range wasn't good either as it yanks the cord and could come in contact with the prongs to an unsuspecting tenant.I replaced the receptacle with a new 50 amp surface mount up and over more to allow more movement of the stove without breaking the box and possibly coming in contact with the prongs for the future.Upon replacing the recept. I noticed why it broke prematurely,it was because one terminal wire was not in it's terminal screw and that it was arcing and producing heat and problems for the range that was told to me by the tenant about a year ago- I wasn't there to fix any electrical issues at the time I was doing plumbing work and told the tenant that maybe the elements were bad and need to be replaced and to tell the landlord that you need them replaced.My question is: I used the same wiring and breaker that was in place already-the wire from what was stamped on it's side was 4-4-6 alum.alloy(thick gray cable)-2 wire and 1ground,is this too heavy? I don't think it is but to not have a common wire I think that that is a problem.The breaker is a double 50 amp(100 amp total) double pole 240v,is this a hazard?..The stove is new and I turned it ALL on at once and did an amp check with a clamp meter on each power wire seperately..each drew about 30 amps or so..the wire wasn't warm or hot and the breaker didn't pop..will this cause a potential hazard in the future? i do this work for a living(plumbing,drain cleaning and electrical) and am familiar with alot of it but am no pro-I never went to school for this stuff,only read books or articles on a need to know basis, on the fly,or in the field at the time of service.I am very meticulous with all work that I do,I don't chop job,cobb job,shortcuts or take any chances when it comes to safety for others as well as for my home.any input will help,thanks.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 12:01 PM
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4-4-6 is good for 55 amps so you are OK there. You do not add the two poles together for 100 amps. The double pole is 50 amps rated, period. Now many people frown on aluminum wiring and code now mandates 4 wire cable and receptacle for new installation. But unless someone here differs I see no problems. Mine has the same size aluminum on it and has for 15 years. I plan to replace it and run 4 wire copper (6 guage) when we remodel the kitchen in a few years.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 12:08 PM
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BTW, you need an anti oxide inhibitor on aluminum....Oxiban or another mfr.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 12:32 PM
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If you just replaced the receptacle it would be a legal repair as the rest of the circuit would be grandfathered. If you installed a new circuit it would not be legal as that would require a four-wire circuit to comply with modern code.

The 50A breaker is okay, although most ranges are also okay with a 40A. The wire is not too small.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 10:07 AM
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no one(except the landlord and myself) will ever know whether I installed a new circuit,right?..even though honestly i didn't install a new one.I don't know why (he/she) installed the 100 amp breaker and that size wire.I think it is too big for a range.In the event of a short won't it take more current to pop that breaker? or heat that wire to the point of melting it and shorting it out? or what if the range draws more current than what it was designed to and takes longer to pop the breaker?it is a total of 100 amps.50 amps for each side of 120v= 240v/100amp.there is a plastic connector between the two switches.thank you.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 10:29 AM
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As Jim stated...you don't add the breakers ratings...a double pole 240V 50A breaker is 50A...not 100A. And the Al wire is rated 55A. Since you probably can't get a 55A breaker (and any larger costs more and isn't needed), they installed a 50A. It's overkill for common ranges, as was stated, but not any sort of hazard. No more than plugging a vacuum cleaner that draws 8A into a circuit rated at 15A.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 10:32 AM
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yes, i have the inhibitor at home, i didn't have it on hand at the job(what good is it at home,lol!)..I never bring it because it was originally bought for my breaker box,I never even got a chance to use it.Now I got to go back to the job and put some on the terminals,which is local and I don't mind doing so..this woman paid me all this money for all those hours.The receptacle box instructions said that it was compatable with aluminum wire,solid copper and (i believe the latter)copper clad.The screw terminals are aluminum(?),they weren't copper or brass I know that for sure.I thought the inhibitor was only used for disimiliar metals put together ie,copper and aluminum..just like in many plumbing leak problems that I fix for customers.I go in and fix the other guys mistakes that they did 20 or so years ago..were they actual plumbers?were they just handymen?did they not know what they were doing? or was it the only materials on the market that were available at that time back when and that there was no evidence,no testing to see dissimiliar metals don't go together and that they will leak and cause rust or corrosion inside the pipe as well?...I always have to investigate and question "why?"...that's just me,lol! thanks for 'listening' and for your answer.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 11:28 AM
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The screw terminals are aluminum(?),they weren't copper or brass I know that for sure.I thought the inhibitor was only used for disimiliar metals put together ie,copper and aluminum
They are probably either brass or copper with tin plating. You NEVER put copper/brass and aluminum together, regardless of the anti ox compound, unless one or both metals are tin plated. As a handyman, you need to learn and remember these basics.
 
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Old 03-20-11, 08:26 AM
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well the instuctions on the box said i can use alum. wires in it..they are tin plated.I know this also goes for plumbing in autos and homes,i also know this for electrical... again.
 
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