Electrical – 3 prong range outlet


I wired a 3 prong range outlet using 8/2 wire. I had a black insulated, white insulated, and a bare single strand copper wire. In the outlet I wired the black wire to one hot side and the white wire to the other hot side. I wired the bare copper wire to the neutral prong. For the breaker I used a 2 phase 40amp breaker and wire the black wire to one side and the white wire to the other side. I then wired the bare copper to the ground bar ( not the neutral). Is this correct or should I redo it in a different manner?

Best Answer

For an old installation, there are some "shortcuts" grandfathered in, but even those are based on "no ground but have a neutral". You have the opposite - and much worse - problem of "no neutral but have a ground".

  • Rip out the 8/2 and put 8/3 in place. That will give you two hots (typically black & red), neutral (white) and ground (bare or green).
  • Replace the 3-prong outlet with a 4-prong outlet NEMA 14-50. This has connections for 2 hots, neutral, ground.
  • Replace the 3-prong cord with a 4-prong cord. You will likely have to make a small change inside the range to separate ground and neutral.

What you have right now is unsafe on many levels. It happens to work because on a typical range the neutral carries relatively little current most of the time. But it violates code in several ways:

  • White should not be hot.
  • Ground and neutral should be separate.
  • Neutral should be white or gray, and definitely never bare.
  • New installations should always use a 4-prong outlet.