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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2944
Experience:  29 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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Bought a new Whirlpool electric cooktop. It has four wires:

Customer Question

Bought a new Whirlpool electric cooktop. It has four wires: red, white, black and copper. My wall outlet that the old cooktop was hooked to has white black and copper. How do I hook up the new one?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) The new cooktop requires a neutral connection due to the white wire. The red and black wires are used as the 2 hot wires. The bare copper ground on the cooktop is used as the equipment ground.

2) Was the existing branch circuit house wires installed prior to 1996? Is the existing branch circuit house wires part of a SE (Service Entrance Cable) or do you have NM Romex cable installed for the house wires?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The house was built in 1996/97. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "Is the existing branch circuit house wires part of a SE (Service Entrance Cable) or do you have NM Romex cable installed for the house wires?"

I do know that the cooktop is on it's own double breaker and they appear to be 30 amp each.

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the replies.

1) Since the new cooktop requires a neutral connection and you only have 3 house wires, the only acceptable wiring scheme to use the bare copper conductor as a neutral wire is SE (Service Entrance cable). SE cable will either be insulated with a light green or a gray exterior color. If any other cable was installed other than type SE, this will result in a code violation and create a potential safety issue since only SE type of cable is allowed to contain a bare wire that can be used as a neutral wire.

2) If you don't have SE cable installed, you will need to install a new 4 wire branch circuit from the main panel extending to the cooktop connection.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Are you saying the SE cable is the 3 wires coming out of my wall under the cooktop from the power source or wire running into fuse box from service meter panel?

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) SE cable prior to 1996 was used as a dual purpose cable for Service Entrance wires from the utility connection or also installed internally inside the home for range, cooktop and/or electric dryer branch circuit wiring. Thus there are 4 possibilities on the use of SE cable. Today's code only allows the use of SE cable from the utility service connection to the electrical panel and can no longer be used for ranges, cooktops or dryers if the circuit was installed after 1996.

2) After 1996, the code required a 4 wire system for such appliances which now requires a 4 wire system comprised of 2 insulated hots, 1 insulated neutral and 1 equipment ground. Take a look at the exterior insulation of your branch circuit. If it is labeled as type SE (Service Entrance cable) then you can connect the 4 wire cooktop to the 3 wire SE cable.

If the branch circuit wiring is not SE cable, then it is a code violation and it will create a potential fire hazard to use the bare copper wire as a neutral conductor. Only SE cable is allowed to use the bare wire as a neutral. No other cable types are permitted to use the bare wire as a neutral as they must now be an insulated neutral conductor.

3) Back in the day, many electric ranges and cooktops only required 240 volts and did not require a neutral conductor. Now days, most ranges, oven and cooktops require a combination of 120 and 240 volts. Thus the reason for the neutral conductor to provide the 120 volts.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks...............Kevin:)

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