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Electrical Wire and Cable

Wiring a 4-Wire Range Cord to a 3-Wire Outlet

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Is it legal to install a 3 wire cord on the new stove and strap the neutral and ground on the stove terminals? This would make the ground at the receptacle…

Electrical Wiring for a 220 Volt Range

Electrical Question: Can I install a 3 wire cord on a new stove and strap the neutral and ground on the stove terminals?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Jeffrey.

Wiring a 220Volt or 240Volt Range Cord

Application: Wiring a 220 Volt or 240 Range Cord.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the available access to the range cord electrical connection box.
Precaution: Identify the range circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the range cord wiring.

Ground and Neutral Wiring for a 220 Volt Range

Fully explained wiring instructions complete with a picture series of an installation and wiring diagrams can be found here in the Kitchen Range area here in this website. Just click the Wiring a Kitchen Range Cord link found below:

More about Wiring a Range Cord

Wiring A Kitchen Range Cord

For more information about 220 Volt Wiring Diagram
220 Volt Wiring Diagram

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19 Responses to “Wiring a 4-Wire Range Cord to a 3-Wire Outlet”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jeff,
    The following is a process to adapt an unused 220volt circuit for an air compressor:
    The air compressor required circuit size will first need to be defined, to do this look on the air compressor motor label to see what the FLA or full load amps are required to run the motor, or consult the owners manual for the circuit requirements.
    If the unused 220 volt circuit breaker is more than the required circuit then the circuit breaker will need to be changed for the FLA.
    If the unused 220 volt circuit breaker is less than the required circuit then the unused circuit may not be used.

    A 220 volt air compressor typically requires 2 Line Wires for the 220 volts, and a ground wire.
    A 220 volt air compressor does not use a white neutral wire, so the white wire of the 4 wire circuit may be capped off with an insulated wire connector.
    Check to make sure that the white wire of the air compressor is in fact used for one of the Line Wires. If verified then color the white wire with black tape or a permanent black marker.
    Label the unused circuit as the air compressor circuit.
    With the circuit off make the connections inside an approved electrical junction box, or make up the properly rated receptacle outlet and cord plug for the air compressor.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi M B,
    The 3-wire method as described in the operation manual is the right way to follow for the connection of the ground wire. The point here is to make sure the circuit ground is bonded to the outlet, through the cord, and to the range.
    I hope this helps you with your range cord,

  3. M Boone says:

    Dave I figured it out. I deceived myself and realized that there is only 3 wires coming in from the wall to the junction box. It has two black (live) and one bundled aluminum ground/neutral wire. So I know it’s a three wire connection. I’ll pick up a 240v 50 amp wall outlet and a three wire electric range cord tomorrow. The only question I have now is where do I wire up the solid copper wire going to the stove in the range electric cord? Does it attach to the grounding strap as shown in the operations manual for a 3 wire connection? Not the green screw for a 4 wire connection, right? Thanks for your help and I’m sorry I was too lengthy giving the incorrect info the first time around.

  4. Jeff says:

    I have a 220 volt air compressor that I want to connect to an unused kitchen range outlet. The outlet is 4 wire black, white, red, ground. The compressor is 3 wire, white, black, ground. How can I connect the two?

  5. erstach says:

    I have a three wire outlet. My new range gives the option of 3 or 4 wire hookup. Is there any benefit to adding a ground wire and wiring a 4 wire connection? And can I just add a ground wire back to the breaker box out side of the existing conduit?

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Please follow the link in the article which says: Wiring A Kitchen Range Cord
    There you will find the instructions about how to wire a 4 wire range cord.

  7. Lisa says:

    My stove has 3 wires coming out of it but I have a 4 wire cord to replace it due to the wall socket having 4 holes. How to I connect the new 4 wire cord to the 3 wire stove?

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Barry,
    An open neutral means that the neutral wire of the circuit is not connected, so the circuit wiring will need to be examined to find out where the neutral is disconnected. The electrical panel of the home should have a 2 pole 60 amp circuit breaker, or two 60 amp fuses, which provide power to the range.
    The circuit power to the range outlet should be accurately tested and evaluated.
    The circuit power to the range should positively identified and turned off before replacing the receptacle or any associated work is performed.
    I hope this helps,

  9. BARRY says:

    We are replacing an electric range because I got in a hurry while replacing the heating element in the last one and didn’t unplug it while unplugging and replugging the heating element. If the element plug had been fixed instead of loose on both sides there wouldn’t have been any problem, but I ended up shorting it because it was loose. My wife bought a new range thinking it would be easier and faster. The delivery guys brought the new range out and set it up but only the clock and element lights would work, so they tested the plug and said it had an open neutral. I told them to leave it and I would replace the outlet, but I was unable to find any fuse’s to it or any way to turn the power off. Can you help?

  10. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Pat,
    FYI, you are commenting about a hot tub under a range article, so you may want to search for the many articles about hot tubs. However, if your hot tub requires a 4-wire circuit with a dedicated neutral wire then there is no way around that, and trying to wire it any other way will not be safe and the GFCI will not work right. Therefore a new cable may be required. Consult the installation manual to be sure.
    I hope this helps,

  11. Pat says:

    I have a 3 wire 240v outlet and I am trying to set up a 4 wire hot tube system. Is there anyway of doing this without running a new 4 wire line?

  12. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Frank,
    If the new cooktop requires a separate neutral wire then a new circuit will be needed as specified, however check the installation manual to see if there is a provision that will allow you to connect the neutral wire and the ground wire together. Some units will allow this, but some will not, it depends on the specific cooktop that you have.

    As for the existing cooktop circuit wiring:
    Typically older homes with an dedicated 240 volt cooktop circuit used the white wire for the red wire, however the installing electrician did not color or identify the white wire as such. The cooktop circuit wiring should be verified using a voltage tester and proper marking of the wires should be applied.

    I hope this helps,

  13. Frank Traynor says:

    Hello Dave, I did not see the answer to my question on your website. So here goes:
    I just replaced my kitchen cooktop with a new one that has 3 wires plus the ground (black, white, red, ground). But my outlet has black, white, and ground. How do I connect my new cooktop when my 220VAC cable for the cooktop does not have a red wire?

  14. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi John,
    The electrical design and new features of many new 240 volt electric ranges require a separate insulated neutral wire and a ground wire to be included with the circuit. The installation manual of the range will specify if a 3-wire circuit is compatible with the specific unit and the manufacturers preferred procedure of wiring configurations.
    I hope this helps,

  15. John Griffin says:

    I have heard this before, and also the same about the grounding wire, why is it that a separate run is not allowed?
    Thank You

  16. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bruce,
    Some new rages will allow rewiring to a 3-wire cord which will be explained in the installation manual of your specific electric range. If the range requires only a 4-wire cord then a new 4-wire circuit will need to be installed if the existing circuit is a Type-NM cable because a separate white neutral wire is not allowed by itself. If the existing circuit has been installed in conduit and there is enough room for an additional white neutral wire then that method is allowed as installed according to code.

  17. bruce king says:

    I have an older home with a range circuit that has a red, black, and copper ground. My new range as a four wire cord, white,red, black, ground. Can I hook up the range with the three wires or do I have to run a white wire from the breaker panel?

  18. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jake,
    I would advise against your suggestion for two reasons:
    1. The ground wire should always be a part of the circuit and never left out or not connected because the ground wire is the most important wire of any AC circuit, and it must be bonded and connected through to the device or equipment.
    2. If a 4-wire receptacle is going to be installed, then it should have 4-wires connected, otherwise it is very misleading and could cause problems.
    I hope this helps.

  19. Jake says:

    Instead of changing the 14-50 4 prong plug can the 14-50R receptacle be installed with 3 wires and leave the ground open? And of course putting the ground strap to the common.