Build my own cabin - DIY projects

How to a Wire Stove

The first step in how to wire a stove is to make sure you have the proper electrical service. Typically stoves require a dedicated 50-amp, 240-volt breaker.  The wire supplying power from the breaker panel to your range outlet will usually be a 6/3 Romex cable (Blk wire- hot, Red wire - hot, White wire - neutral, Bare copper wire - ground).

New stoves do not come with a power cord.  That's because until recently, homes were wired with two different receptacle styles: 3-prong and 4-prong.   Knowing that homes had a variety of outlet types, it didn't make sense for appliance manufactures to pre-wire the stove with one or the other.  The 4-prong plug adds a safety ground wire in addition to the two hots and neutral found on the 3-prong plug. Below are pictures of both a 3-prong and 4-prong style plug with respective labeling.  With a voltmeter you can check for proper voltage on the wall outlet before deciding how to wire your stove.  If the existing receptacle is 3-prong, you can purchase a 3-prong cord for your new stove.  Converting to a newer 4-prong receptacle isn't a bad idea, especially if a ground wire is already running to the receptacle box.  These does take a little more work and if you aren't familiar with electrical wiring you may not want to attempt it.   You should measure 220-240VAC between hots, and half of that voltage if you measure between either of the hots to neutral.

3-prong range plug4-prong range plug       

Instructions for How to wire a New Stove:

Back side of range.


Remove 1/4" screw to open cover panel.


Stove or range electrical connections. Behind the cover panel there was a row of three electrical connector screws, plus a green ground screw.

The middle connection is neutral, the left and right connections are hot. This arrangement is common on 240-volt appliances.

Like many appliances, this stove has a metal enclosure for the electrical connections. This is like a built-in "junction box".


By now you should have determined how to wire your stove (3 prong or 4 prong) and you have purchased the plug/cord.  You can reuse the cord from your previous stove if you like.
A 4-wire range cord can be purchased at Home Depot for $15-$20.
          range cord home depot


   This is called a "strain relief". The purpose of this device is to grab onto the outer jacket of the cord to prevent the individual wires from being pulled loose if somebody should pull on the power cord.  


With one screw left out, place the strain relief into the hole in for the power cord.


Installing power cord on new stove. Thread the 4-wire power cord up into the connection "box".

Note that the red and black wires are "hot" wires. There is 240 volts of electrical potential between the two hot wires, and 120 volts between either hot wire and the white neutral wire. Green is ground.


Only For 4-Wire Cords:

Following the instructions on the back of the stove, I removed this copper bonding strip that connects the neutral line to the ground screw.

This is similar to how you wire a stove with 3-wire cords except for you would leave the bonding strip in place.  The bonding strip ties the chassis of the stove to neutral which you need for safety if you don't have the separate safety ground that comes with the 4-wire cord.


History of 3-wire vs. 4-wire range wiring:

In all houses the neutral wire and the ground wires are connected together... but ONLY at the main panel.

Not long ago houses were being built with a 3-prong range receptacle, while mobile homes were required to have a 4-prong receptacle. The 4-prong receptacle has a separate prong for the ground wire, the 3-prong receptacle either didn't use the ground, or the ground was tied together with the neutral.

With the 1996 National Electrical Code revision they stopped allowing this loophole in an otherwise sensible wiring system. Now all ranges (and electric dryers) must be wired with a 4-prong outlet.


It may be difficult to remove this bonding strip but stay with it.


Connect one of the hot wires (to hold it in place), then connect the ground wire to the grounding screw.


Stove or range electrical connections to power cord. Connect the neutral (white) wire and the other hot wire (black).

These connector screws need to be tightened firmly.  A loose screw will create a high resistance point in the circuit and can cause arcing and other issues with your appliance.


Install the other screw in the strain relief, and tighten it until the cable is held securely but not crushed.


Install the cover panel.


The completed cord installation.

Note the recessed area at the bottom of the back of the stove. This recess provides a place for the range cord to lay when the stove is pushed tight against the wall.


Plug in the range. It should take quite a push to get the plug into the receptacle.


When you plug in the range, the cord should go sideways and fit into the recess at the back of the stove.


Once the stove is pushed back against the wall, turn on the breaker and test the stove.  That concludes the task of how to wire a stove.


Built-In Ovens, Cooktops, and Ranges:

These units cannot use a plug and receptacle. They must be hard-wired using flexible conduit between the J-box and appliance. The J-box needs to be accessible, such as in an adjacent cabinet or behind a drawer. 




Back to Wiring Diagrams Home