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LI-NY Tech

Old electric range wiring

10 posts in this topic

I recently went to install a new electric range for a customer, nice glass top Samsung.  I was going to be installing an outlet and line cord as the previous range was hard wired.  Upon arrival I found the these wires (see attached photo).  There are two hots (red and black) and a twisted strand bare wire.  This is apparently how the previous range was installed with the bare wire going to the neutral terminal on the range (customer disconnected old range himself).  This is an old house (early 1950s), but 75% of the houses here (Long Island) are from that time period or older and I've never seen that.  I was unsure if this was correct, I suspect it's not and it's almost definitely not up to modern code, so I referred him to an electrician.  

 

I don't know if the bare wire is a neutral or ground, I've never seen a bare neutral. I didn't trace the wires or look into the electrical panel as this is beyond my area of expertise and not something I would get into anywhere except my own house.  He was upset that I wouldn't do the installation.  Any ideas or comments on this?  Was I wrong in declining to the do the job (I don't think I was and I certainly didn't want to be responsible for a potentially dangerous electrical problem)?

 

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Edited by LI-NY Tech

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The bare wire is the neutral but you did exactly right. With old wiring like that, I would definitely recommend an electrician. This would take you out of the line of fire, literally and figuratively, if those wires caused a problem later down the road.

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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About 40% of the wiring in our area has that set up in houses prior to 1960. From what we have been told by the power company, it was common for electric companies to "extend" wiring responsibility beyond the meter for major appliances at that time. So, at least in our area (Indiana), this is an issue we run across. From the power company perspective, the overhead main feed to the house has a bare neutral anyway in many cases. Technically, neutral is tied to ground in many installations at the panel hence no code violation per electric company. We always, always recommend new wiring. Let the electrician deal with this one.

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Yeah, I guess he'd be much more upset if his house burned down because of old wires.

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yep, then you can lie safely within the comforts of my favorite two-word phrase... "plausible deniability. " I'll leave it to you to attach whatever meaning you desire to "lie safely."

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You have bigger problems.  Looks like aluminum wiring which was in vogue during the years this house was built-- copper shortage or something.  Problems arise in the copper aluminum splice because these two metals hate each other.  You have to follow special procedures if you're going to splice copper and aluminum wiring because the aluminum will shrink causing a loose connection, leading to arcing, and usually taking out the DBL relay in the range.  Can cause other problems, too.  Some other info...  http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_inspection/electrical-systems-home-inspection-commercial-inspection/15242-splicing-copper-wire-aluminum.html

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It was definitely aluminum. Hopefully he called an electrician and didn't just hook it up himself. But, he mentioned quite a few times that three previous ranges were installed with that wire so I have a feeling he's going to do it himself.

Edited by LI-NY Tech

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http://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-Twister-Aluminum-to-Copper-Wire-Connectors-10-Pack-30-765/100157853#.UsLZv_ZQ1wA

 

http://www.kinginnovation.com/products/electrical-products/alumiconn/

 

I have used single screw type wire connectors, before with a dab of electrical anti oxidizer, used it on all OLD wax coated wiring & contacts.

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I suggest leaving it to an electrician, someone bonded and capable of giving an opinion regarding the integrity of the old wiring. In fact, in some jurisdictions, you legally cannot make the conversion from hard wired to outlet without being a licensed electrician. Add the fact that it's old wiring I personally wouldn't touch it. Maybe because I know lawyers too well.

Edited by DurhamAppliance

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On various jobs that I have been at and I run into an electrician, in this neck of the woods, they just use a 'De-oxidizer"   and standard wire nuts...................I have run into this exact wire problem.........I tell the customer that my insurance will not allow me to continue.......He  needs an electrician to do the repairs...........I tell the customer that I need a ..............................50 amp. 3 wire range receptical installed......(Just fill in the blanks of ratings and number ofwires).....................I install the cord to the range and tell him I need a receptical to match this plug.........I collect for the job and 90 % of the time I do not need to go back, the electrician needs to see if if works, so the customer and the electrician will push into place...........................

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