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Title: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 13, 2017, 01:25:10 pm
My 50 year old , or more wall oven has lost it's thermostat control, so I am in the market for a replacement (probably during january white sales). In anticipation I started to suss out my wiring, in case I need to do some prep. I haven't looked behind the oven yet, but I notice below it  in some cupboards, I see an old original fabric covered 240V drop spliced to some metal jacketed BX with black electrical tape.  ::) ::)  At a minimum I expect I need a junction box behind the oven, and high temperature twist-ons.   

Not a great picture but you can see the loose wires hanging out.

I may need to invest in a real electrician, if i can find one in nowhere MS, without making him drive for 50 miles..

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 13, 2017, 01:39:49 pm
I might have shared this before but my stove wiring is no better, actually worse. A few years ago when one of the burners wasn't getting hot I found a loose connection in the wiring underneath. That could have been a fire waiting to happen, but didn't (yet).

Yesterday I noticed something new.... the stove wires were wedged behind a nail.  :o :o :o  Seriously, I didn't sleep well thinking about it last night so decided on a little self help today.  I slipped a short piece of clear tubing over the nail, but the wires were so stiff from decades of being wedged behind the nail I just left them hanging in free air as less dangerous than even the nail with plastic tubing .

If/when I hire an electrician he can clean up this drama too. There is a junction box down there, but open with wires hanging out, and more black tape... ::)  It looks like two 240V leads coming in/out but not sure where another one would go...unless this drop also feeds the wall oven on the other side of the room (very possible).

For now at least the nail potentially shorting the stove wires to each other is averted.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on December 13, 2017, 03:30:50 pm
The BX is probably just flex conduit from the ovens. That's my guess, anyway.

The best solution (but you probably know this) is to run new cable of the proper gauge all the way from the service panel. That could be difficult if you don't have a crawl space or decent attic access. But hey, anything is possible with enough time, money, and talent.

Keep in mind that the fixture wiring (the wires the manufacturer provides that you connect the premises wiring to) may be a smaller gauge than you'd expect for the required circuit. For example, you might see them use 10 AWG wire and say you need a 40A circuit. I seem to recall that a stovetop unit and a wall oven unit can share a circuit, but that was 20+ years ago and the code could have changed. For connecting anything larger than 10 AWG wire, I think you may have to use something other than a wire nut. Since these are "installed" appliances rather than "portable" appliances, they don't need a cord and plug. A typical freestanding slide-in range is considered portable, so is installed with cord and plug.

(Considering what pases for popular performing artists these days, the 'talent' part may be optional.)
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Rob Spence on December 13, 2017, 03:46:38 pm
Yikes!
A 4Ē square box just below the oven will provide a secure junction for the armored flex whip that will come from the new oven. Often the box is behind the oven but I find it a pain to have the oven propped up and reaching in to wire it.
My current one is set up with a hole in the bottom of the oven cabinet in the rear corner where I just threaded the whip down while sliding the unit in. I then hooked it up underneath. While still a stretch, at least the oven was installed while I did it.
I secured the slack with a couple of emt clips.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 13, 2017, 03:55:03 pm
The BX is probably just flex conduit from the ovens. That's my guess, anyway.
ding ding ding... yes BX is likely from a several decades old wall oven power cord. No other BX in my entire house.
Quote
The best solution (but you probably know this) is to run new cable of the proper gauge all the way from the service panel. That could be difficult if you don't have a crawl space or decent attic access. But hey, anything is possible with enough time, money, and talent.
I have attic access, but am not inclined to pay to run a new power drop.  The fabric covered 240v feeds are all over my attic (I have electric in-wall heaters, I no longer use).

The old cable appears to be in OK shape .... BUT will not likely have a ground conductor... ::)  I have run a few "after the fact" ground bonds around for dishwasher and washing machine and water heater, so maybe a separate ground for wall oven is next.
Quote


Keep in mind that the fixture wiring (the wires the manufacturer provides that you connect the premises wiring to) may be a smaller gauge than you'd expect for the required circuit. For example, you might see them use 10 AWG wire and say you need a 40A circuit. I seem to recall that a stovetop unit and a wall oven unit can share a circuit, but that was 20+ years ago and the code could have changed. For connecting anything larger than 10 AWG wire, I think you may have to use something other than a wire nut. Since these are "installed" appliances rather than "portable" appliances, they don't need a cord and plug. A typical freestanding slide-in range is considered portable, so is installed with cord and plug.

(Considering what pases for popular performing artists these days, the 'talent' part may be optional.)
I can probably do the wall oven install myself, but wouldn't mind having a real electrician do some clean up for obvious weak electrical wiring areas, using the proper junction boxes and terminations etc.   I'm sure I can find somebody to hook it up just like the old one,  ::) but I don't want that.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 13, 2017, 03:58:19 pm
Yikes!
A 4Ē square box just below the oven will provide a secure junction for the armored flex whip that will come from the new oven. Often the box is behind the oven but I find it a pain to have the oven propped up and reaching in to wire it.
My current one is set up with a hole in the bottom of the oven cabinet in the rear corner where I just threaded the whip down while sliding the unit in. I then hooked it up underneath. While still a stretch, at least the oven was installed while I did it.
I secured the slack with a couple of emt clips.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Yup, the original 240V drop extends a few feet below oven level so plenty of room for a junction box down there, assuming the lead from the oven is long enough, and it probably will be. Probably worth waiting before mounting a box.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on December 13, 2017, 04:54:26 pm
I can probably do the wall oven install myself, but wouldn't mind having a real electrician do some clean up for obvious weak electrical wiring areas, using the proper junction boxes and terminations etc.   I'm sure I can find somebody to hook it up just like the old one,  ::) but I don't want that.

JR

If you want to strengthen your electrical wiring chops, I recommend the book Wiring Simplified (https://www.amazon.com/dp/099790531X) by Richter, Schwan, Hartwell, et al. It's updated triannually along with the NEC -- 45th edition is based on 2017 code. I find it to be pretty comprehensive for residential wiring while fairly easy to understand. It goes into greater depth than most of the other "living dangerously for dummies" type books out there.

There's a companion book that also covers commercial wiring, Practical Electrical Wiring (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0971977984) by the same authors. Latest edition appears to be #22, based on 2014 code. I couldn't find a 2017 version; it may come out in the next year.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Frank DeWitt on December 13, 2017, 08:32:02 pm
when I built my house I had preach been down the how do you plug in the stove when the outlet is behind the stove path.  I made a nice neat hole in the floor and installed the stove outlet in the basement near the hole.  Now I tie a rope to the stove plug and drop the other end down the hole and slide the stove in place.

The hot and cold water shut off is down there as well nice and easy to get to.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on December 13, 2017, 09:03:49 pm
Assuming the oven was hardwired, you could just install a receptacle and the use an oven pigtail.  If you use a j-box, use either a 2 1/8" deep 4 X 4 or a 4 11/16 square instead of the normal 1.5" deep 4X4-tecnically code requires it and it will save some frustration from using too small a box.

Rewiring is expensive-but (depending on access and distance)-$200-500 to rewire the stove vs $250,000 in fire damage?  Voice of experience-I had cloth covered wiring the same size as your stove does-put a 30 amp breaker on thinking I was safe.  At least no one got hurt-but I am much more paranoid about wiring.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Steve M Smith on December 14, 2017, 03:11:59 am
I see an old original fabric covered 240V drop spliced to some metal jacketed BX with black electrical tape.

A few years ago, I moved house.  There was a shed in the garden with power.  It all worked fine for a few months, then the lights started to flicker and eventually, the power went out.

I decided to dig up the cable and replace it.  I found ordinary domestic cable with a join in the middle.  The conductors had been twisted together and covered up with insulating tape - then buried in earth!


Steve.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on December 14, 2017, 10:01:34 am
For years ovens were "grounded" with the 3rd wire since the only load on it was a clock or maybe control electronics.  This is still permitted in a grandfathered install and most new ovens have a jumper you have to install/ remove as needed to bond to the neutral.  Essentially a kinda sorta legal bootleg ground. No doubt there is an additional safety factor with a ground- but a typical oven circuit requires a min #10 ground
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tom Bourke on December 14, 2017, 10:58:26 am
Then there was the house I rented years ago.  The kitchen outlets were grounded via the gas stove power cord.  Looked like some one had upgraded the kitchen outlets and connected all the grounds together but never completed the connection back to the fuse box.  The stove was grounded via its gas pipe connection. :o
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 14, 2017, 11:14:14 am
I found what looks like a real electrician a few miles up the road... I have time to start checking him out.

A new drop would be the "right" thing to do... Wouldn't hurt to have a proper grounded outlet in the kitchen to replace my DIY safety grounds. Well it would hurt my wallet.

JR



Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 14, 2017, 11:17:16 am
Then there was the house I rented years ago.  The kitchen outlets were grounded via the gas stove power cord.  Looked like some one had upgraded the kitchen outlets and connected all the grounds together but never completed the connection back to the fuse box.  The stove was grounded via its gas pipe connection. :o
I have experience with that.... plug a bad outlet strip with leaky protection devices into that outlet and you energize every appliance chassis ground in the kitchen...

I was even feeling electricity between appliances exterior metal parts and my sink/counter top (yes, wood counter??).

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 14, 2017, 02:11:38 pm
when I built my house I had preach been down the how do you plug in the stove when the outlet is behind the stove path.  I made a nice neat hole in the floor and installed the stove outlet in the basement near the hole.  Now I tie a rope to the stove plug and drop the other end down the hole and slide the stove in place.

The hot and cold water shut off is down there as well nice and easy to get to.

Not to Code.   The outlet has to be in the same room.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Frank DeWitt on December 14, 2017, 05:30:38 pm
Not to Code.   The outlet has to be in the same room.

You will note that my signature is "Not to code". 

Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 14, 2017, 05:54:20 pm
You will note that my signature is "Not to code".

You, sir, are fast on the irony uptake. ;)
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 14, 2017, 06:04:27 pm
My house should be named "not to code".

Today I caught up with my local (real) electrician when he was across the street at the post office... He agrees we should probably put in a new 4 wire drop for the oven. He would like to put in a new panel too but agrees it is not an immediate problem.

I probably won't start shopping ovens seriously until after new years, and need to spec out the oven before specing the wire ampacity for the drop.

There are two 240V leads into the open junction box under the stove top so unclear what is coming/going exactly where.

JR

 
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on December 14, 2017, 09:12:55 pm
My house should be named "not to code".

Today I caught up with my local (real) electrician when he was across the street at the post office... He agrees we should probably put in a new 4 wire drop for the oven. He would like to put in a new panel too but agrees it is not an immediate problem.

I probably won't start shopping ovens seriously until after new years, and need to spec out the oven before specing the wire ampacity for the drop.

There are two 240V leads into the open junction box under the stove top so unclear what is coming/going exactly where.

JR

Why not just run #6 NM and put in a 14-50R?  You can save a few bucks if your range only needs 30 or 40 amps-but it will be the same labor to run #10, #8 or #6.

I know everyine has a budget to live by-I used to be OK with fuse boxes because I have never seen a fuse not blow-but I have seen plenty of breakrs that won't shut off. (sorry for all the negatives-hopefully it makes sense!)

However, in the last 2 years I have come across a couple of fuse boxes where the fiber insulating washer in the socket is disintegrating.  When that happens, you don't need a penny to bypass the fuse-you just screw a fuse (good or bad) in good and tight.  It's a pretty nasty failure mode becasue it is very difficult to detect.  Given the length of time since edison fuses have been prohibited in new installs by the NEC, any fuse box has some serious age on it.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 14, 2017, 10:01:59 pm
Why not just run #6 NM and put in a 14-50R?  You can save a few bucks if your range only needs 30 or 40 amps-but it will be the same labor to run #10, #8 or #6.
I don't recognize what you just wrote...  The electrician was suggesting bigger than #10... I will see after I figure which oven I get... The last one lasted 50 years...so enough will be enough.
Quote
I know everyine has a budget to live by-I used to be OK with fuse boxes because I have never seen a fuse not blow-but I have seen plenty of breakrs that won't shut off. (sorry for all the negatives-hopefully it makes sense!)
When I first moved in there were 30A fuses or bigger in some branches. I now have everything working on 15A fuses and can blow a 15A if i run the microwave and kettle at the same time, so I don't do that. (I think 20a is max current per branch per code, 15A per plug blade and 20a for the wire).
Quote
However, in the last 2 years I have come across a couple of fuse boxes where the fiber insulating washer in the socket is disintegrating.  When that happens, you don't need a penny to bypass the fuse-you just screw a fuse (good or bad) in good and tight.  It's a pretty nasty failure mode becasue it is very difficult to detect.  Given the length of time since edison fuses have been prohibited in new installs by the NEC, any fuse box has some serious age on it.
Good to know I will check, but not aware of any issues yet.  I have replaced several (old) outlets in the casa that were flaky.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Rob Spence on December 14, 2017, 10:58:52 pm
Run a line for 40 amps. It will work for what ever oven you choose.

The suggestion of putting 14-50 receptical is a bad idea. Ovens canít be plugged in. A range can but I believe we are talking about wall oven.

This is easy.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 15, 2017, 10:33:08 am
Run a line for 40 amps. It will work for what ever oven you choose.
I am not in any hurry and can know in advance what oven will be in that hole for the rest of my life.

BTW when I was a kid growing up in NJ our entire house had a 40A service.
Quote
The suggestion of putting 14-50 receptical is a bad idea. Ovens canít be plugged in. A range can but I believe we are talking about wall oven.
yes, I'm looking to add a junction box instead of loose wires hanging out in the back of my lower cupboard, like now
Quote
This is easy.
easy is tying into the old tails.... which I suspect any paid installer here would do without complaint (git er dun).

I am willing to up my game, but not accommodating the next owner's pizza oven.
Quote

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
One thing that I find encouraging when my new electrician was kicking tires in my place that he didn't melt down or lecture me when he saw my DIY ground bonds... Instead he shared horror stories about problem homes he has worked on in the area.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 15, 2017, 11:09:07 am
I am not in any hurry and can know in advance what oven will be in that hole for the rest of my life.

BTW when I was a kid growing up in NJ our entire house had a 40A service. yes, I'm looking to add a junction box instead of loose wires hanging out in the back of my lower cupboard, like now easy is tying into the old tails.... which I suspect any paid installer here would do without complaint (git er dun).

I am willing to up my game, but not accommodating the next owner's pizza oven. One thing that I find encouraging when my new electrician was kicking tires in my place that he didn't melt down or lecture me when he saw my DIY ground bonds... Instead he shared horror stories about problem homes he has worked on in the area.

JR

The "git 'er done" mentality is how shit like you find in your house got done.  It's how most of the homeowner/brother in law  electrical & mechanical was done in the houses I flipped 20 years ago.

I'm thinking your electrician looked at your kludge and thought "well, at least this actually *grounds* the offending parts".  And that's better than most of what he finds, methinks...
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Chris Hindle on December 15, 2017, 12:38:23 pm
My house should be named "not to code".
 
There are two 240V leads into the open junction box under the stove top so unclear what is coming/going exactly where.

JR

220, 240, whatever it takes........ 8)
Chris.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on December 15, 2017, 06:58:07 pm
You, sir, are fast on the irony uptake. ;)

But is your irony plugged into a groundedy outlety?
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: frank kayser on December 25, 2017, 08:24:32 pm
The only question I have, is with all the amazing wiring stories over the years, if you hire a real electrician, how would he know where to start?
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 26, 2017, 10:43:18 am
The only question I have, is with all the amazing wiring stories over the years, if you hire a real electrician, how would he know where to start?
I quickly disabused him of any notion that I was looking for a complete home rewire. He asked about replacing the old school fuse box (while we need to check it out while he is working in the area).  :o 

Most people in my situation around here would just wire the new wall oven into the old power drop, so this is found work for him compared to his typical customer. I'm fixing something that isn't broke, just not to code (not even close, no neutral to bootleg a ground to).

I was relieved that when I showed him my DIY safety grounding of water heater, and laundry room outlet (with GFCI) he didn't lecture me, and instead appeared OK with it ( I kind of expected a bid to rewire at least those). 

He shared some war stories about my neighbors homes (fire hazards).   

JR

PS: I just bit the bullet and ordered a replacement wall oven (10% 0ff).  15A draw with 20A breaker recommended.  On christmas morning instead of the pitter patter of reindeer on the roof, I awoke to the rap,rap,rap of my in-wall heat pump self destructing... so another new appliance on order. Bad christmas for budget and not one of them a present. If I work this out right I will have the electrician with his strong back helper around to help me lift the several heavy things that need lifting...  Oven will be 100# + the heat pump is 96#(about 4" up the living room wall, and I still have an anode I can't break loose in my hot water heater, so I can put some rented muscle to good use.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: frank kayser on December 26, 2017, 05:32:30 pm
I quickly disabused him of any notion that I was looking for a complete home rewire. He asked about replacing the old school fuse box (while we need to check it out while he is working in the area).  :o 

Most people in my situation around here would just wire the new wall oven into the old power drop, so this is found work for him compared to his typical customer. I'm fixing something that isn't broke, just not to code (not even close, no neutral to bootleg a ground to).

I was relieved that when I showed him my DIY safety grounding of water heater, and laundry room outlet (with GFCI) he didn't lecture me, and instead appeared OK with it ( I kind of expected a bid to rewire at least those). 

He shared some war stories about my neighbors homes (fire hazards).   

JR

PS: I just bit the bullet and ordered a replacement wall oven (10% 0ff).  15A draw with 20A breaker recommended.  On christmas morning instead of the pitter patter of reindeer on the roof, I awoke to the rap,rap,rap of my in-wall heat pump self destructing... so another new appliance on order. Bad christmas for budget and not one of them a present. If I work this out right I will have the electrician with his strong back helper around to help me lift the several heavy things that need lifting...  Oven will be 100# + the heat pump is 96#(about 4" up the living room wall, and I still have an anode I can't break loose in my hot water heater, so I can put some rented muscle to good use.


Your stories always make me smile - the dead-pan, matter-of-fact delivery.  Someone ought to take all the posts about your home and create a book.   Priceless.


Hope your holidays start looking up.


frank
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 26, 2017, 07:49:37 pm
The only question I have, is with all the amazing wiring stories over the years, if you hire a real electrician, how would he know where to start?

Or when to stop...
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 26, 2017, 09:48:31 pm
Or when to stop...
You stop when the customer is out of money.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on December 27, 2017, 01:45:05 pm
The only question I have, is with all the amazing wiring stories over the years, if you hire a real electrician, how would he know where to start?

I know the question is rhetorical to an extent-sight unseen, my approach has always been to address the service first.  Just like there is no sense remodeling on a bad foundation, you can't address wiring issues without a good service.

Typically, there is a major issue that has triggered the call-of course it gets fixed next-or maybe first.

Next I address the heavy current draw appliances-AC unit(s), ovens, water heaters, electric heat.

Next would be kitchen and bath circuits-again high current draw typically.

Then JR is correct -you go until the customer says enough is enough-sometimes you go a littler farther on the same money so you can sleep at night if they really can't afford it.

I already like the guy JR is talking to-sounds like he is approaching it the way I would-just do what the customer is wanting addressed and maybe mention any obvious things that might come up.  It can be a real pain to correct wiring into an old fuse box-I have only seen a few that had enough circuits for a modern home, so they are typically wired in non-code compliant ways (usually there is a violation of the manufacturers specs on the number of wires under a screw-part of the UL listing).  Even if it is wired that way when I get there, if I put it back with new wire, now I own the liability.  The only reasonable fix is a service upgrade.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: frank kayser on December 29, 2017, 03:55:07 pm
I know the question is rhetorical to an extent-sight unseen, my approach has always been to address the service first.  Just like there is no sense remodeling on a bad foundation, you can't address wiring issues without a good service.

Typically, there is a major issue that has triggered the call-of course it gets fixed next-or maybe first.

Next I address the heavy current draw appliances-AC unit(s), ovens, water heaters, electric heat.

Next would be kitchen and bath circuits-again high current draw typically.

Then JR is correct -you go until the customer says enough is enough-sometimes you go a littler farther on the same money so you can sleep at night if they really can't afford it.

I already like the guy JR is talking to-sounds like he is approaching it the way I would-just do what the customer is wanting addressed and maybe mention any obvious things that might come up.  It can be a real pain to correct wiring into an old fuse box-I have only seen a few that had enough circuits for a modern home, so they are typically wired in non-code compliant ways (usually there is a violation of the manufacturers specs on the number of wires under a screw-part of the UL listing).  Even if it is wired that way when I get there, if I put it back with new wire, now I own the liability.  The only reasonable fix is a service upgrade.


Just what I needed... a smart answer to a smart-ass comment.  Will you guys ever stop being nice and so darn helpful?  /sarc


Seriously, it is a clean, well thought out, approach.  A good thing to put away in my mental toolbox.


Happy new year to all you helpful folks!


frank
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 08, 2018, 05:16:22 pm
I am starting to second guess my interest in putting in a new 4 wire drop for my replacement wall oven. I just checked the old wiring and found that it used 3 wires with the oven ground bootlegged to the white neutral.

The new oven is on order and specs out at 240VAC/15.5A max, with a recommended 20A breaker.  I suspect the existing (3 wire power drop, and breaker) is adequate for the current carrying demands of the new replacement oven.

If this was new construction or even a remodel, code would require a new 4 wire drop but I suspect I am within normal practice to use the existing drop with the bootleg ground.

At a minimum I plan to have the electrician add a junction box to protect the new connections. Right now there are just loose wires hanging out in the back of a lower kitchen cupboard (with black tape wrapped around the connections).

My dominant "cheap" gene is yelling in my ear to not fix something that isn't broken.

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on January 08, 2018, 10:29:43 pm
Is this 3 individual wires, or 3 wires in a cable?  My rule of thumb in recommending to replace is if it is individual wires , or if it is the "cloth" type insulation.  If it is a cable with the newer "PVC" insulation and that insulation is still flexible I usually feel OK with it.  Brittle insulation is a sign of overheating.

Undisturbed "knob and tube" wiring that is in uninsulated walls is usually OK-but it is not acceptable if insulation has been added.

Three wires for ovens/cooktops had been the norm for a very long time.  My personal suspicion is that the main reason for the rule change was to make code consistent.  One section prohibited current on a ground-another section allowed it.  Then you have the quandry in some new and remodel's of the panel actually being a subpanel because you have a disconnect outside (often code mandated.)  A subpanel has it's ground's and neutral's separated-so where do you land the third wire in a 3 wire range circuit-ground or neutral?  Requiring a 4th wire makes this easy.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 08, 2018, 11:01:44 pm
Is this 3 individual wires, or 3 wires in a cable?  My rule of thumb in recommending to replace is if it is individual wires , or if it is the "cloth" type insulation.  If it is a cable with the newer "PVC" insulation and that insulation is still flexible I usually feel OK with it.  Brittle insulation is a sign of overheating.
Thanx... It is old fabric (dark red) covered cable but looks like PVC insulation on the individual wires inside, so wires look similar to what you'd find inside romex or BX but cheaper (older) red fabric covered outer jacket (no discoloration).

There are hundreds of feet of the stuff all over the house (mostly in the attic), I have electric in wall heaters in most rooms.

I expect the wire is OK for 15A max.
Quote

Undisturbed "knob and tube" wiring that is in uninsulated walls is usually OK-but it is not acceptable if insulation has been added.

Three wires for ovens/cooktops had been the norm for a very long time.  My personal suspicion is that the main reason for the rule change was to make code consistent.
+1 makes sense... a bootleg ground when the neutral is not really carrying heavy current is less problematic.
Quote
One section prohibited current on a ground-another section allowed it.  Then you have the quandry in some new and remodel's of the panel actually being a subpanel because you have a disconnect outside (often code mandated.)  A subpanel has it's ground's and neutral's separated-so where do you land the third wire in a 3 wire range circuit-ground or neutral?  Requiring a 4th wire makes this easy.
Yup, never simple,,, but I am happy seeing three wires in the oven power drop. My hot water power drop*** only had two conductors visible (neutral lead probably trimmed back). If the oven drop only had two wires, I would go for a new power drop, but three wires allows for a typical bootleg neutral-ground bond.

JR

*** I did run a separate ground wire bond for my new hot water heater from chassis ground back to the panel.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on January 09, 2018, 01:37:14 pm
I expect the wire is OK for 15A max. +1 makes sense... a bootleg ground when the neutral is not really carrying heavy current is less problematic. Yup, never simple,,, but I am happy seeing three wires in the oven power drop. My hot water power drop*** only had two conductors visible (neutral lead probably trimmed back). If the oven drop only had two wires, I would go for a new power drop, but three wires allows for a typical bootleg neutral-ground bond.

JR

*** I did run a separate ground wire bond for my new hot water heater from chassis ground back to the panel.

For what it's worth, ranges and ovens, even if they use 240V for the elements, often use 120V for the controls and lights. That requires a neutral.

Ordinary electric tank-style water heaters, on the other hand, only use 240V. (I don't know if the fancy-schmancy ones use 120V controls.) So they typically won't have a neutral. In your case, it may have been wired with early Romex that didn't have a ground (just two insulated wires); the white* wire was used as one of the hots. I've seen quite a bit of that stuff in older houses.

*The stuff is so old that the white wire is no longer white. It's typical for the conductor insulation to be rubber (now brittle) with a fabric overbraid. The overbraid was typically white cotton, with colored threads in the overbraid to identify the conductors. So the "hot" wire overbraid would be white with a couple of black threads. If you had 3-wire cable, then one of the wires would have red threads. The outer jacket was an asphalt-impregnated cotton overbraid, with a paper liner separating the wires and outer jacket. Over time, volatiles from the rubber or the asphalt would leach into the conductor overbraid, discoloring it and making it difficult to identify the colors.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 09, 2018, 02:40:37 pm
For what it's worth, ranges and ovens, even if they use 240V for the elements, often use 120V for the controls and lights. That requires a neutral.
I recall seeing 120V outlets on electric stoves, not my current one.

Coincidentally a musician was electrocuted (killed not just shocked) when he got between two properly ground bonded (3-wire) Peavey guitar amps, with one plugged into a RPBG outlet, and the other an electric stove outlet.

I ASSumed the stove outlet was properly grounded but in light of the apparent common practice this stove outlet was likely bootleg grounded to neutral. 
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Ordinary electric tank-style water heaters, on the other hand, only use 240V. (I don't know if the fancy-schmancy ones use 120V controls.) So they typically won't have a neutral. In your case, it may have been wired with early Romex that didn't have a ground (just two insulated wires); the white* wire was used as one of the hots. I've seen quite a bit of that stuff in older houses.
My recollection is that the water heater leads were red and black, so consistent with a 3 conductor cable that had the (white) neutral clipped.
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*The stuff is so old that the white wire is no longer white. It's typical for the conductor insulation to be rubber (now brittle) with a fabric overbraid. The overbraid was typically white cotton, with colored threads in the overbraid to identify the conductors. So the "hot" wire overbraid would be white with a couple of black threads. If you had 3-wire cable, then one of the wires would have red threads. The outer jacket was an asphalt-impregnated cotton overbraid, with a paper liner separating the wires and outer jacket. Over time, volatiles from the rubber or the asphalt would leach into the conductor overbraid, discoloring it and making it difficult to identify the colors.
Perhaps you are thinking even older, or different vendor than my house.

From the last time I was up in my attic there looked like a lot of the same cables used all around the house, at least all the 240V drops (in wall electric heat so plenty).

I estimate my house was built in 50s-60s from talking with neighbors who grew up here. I recall (modern?) romex from back around that time while I was growing up in NJ (watching my older brothers do wiring around the house), but I suspect my present house was built using the cheapest raw materials they could get.

I already have replaced a cheap (cardboard?) sewer pipe that collapsed, and cheap water main (galvanized steel) that rusted through and leaked. I have no reason to expect premium wire was used.

The wires inside the fabric jacket appear to use PVC(?) insulation that is in decent condition. If the wire insulation looked flaky I would replace it, but it doesn't. My concern is mainly the workmanship on the electrical wiring that leaves much to be desired. The current oven hook up is just the BX lead coming from the oven and fabric covered drop from breaker panel, hanging down under the oven in the back of a cupboard. The individual wires are hanging out in the open, twisted together and covered with black tape.....

A few years ago I had a burner on my stove top not reaching full heat because of a loose wire connection (now that is a little scary).

Again thanks for helping me refine my decision. I feel OK about the wire unless my electrician talks me out of it. I plan to have him revisit the stove wiring too.

He also does plumbing work so is probably still busy dealing the the recent hard freeze cold snap. 

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 19, 2018, 03:30:54 pm
Well my friendly electrician still hasn't returned my recent calls.  >:( I have the new wall oven sitting on my kitchen floor and can wire it in myself, if it comes to that.

A new curiosity, I went to cut the breaker for the wall oven and it turns out to be the same breaker as my fuse box and all interior outlets. I hoped I could cut power to just the oven and remove the old one at my leisure, without powering down my entire house.  :o  I may have to do this in stages.  :(

Looks like a separate breaker for hot water heater, and dryer gets its own feed, leaving 4 breakers for everything else. Five in wall resistance heaters, and a 240V outlet for my in wall air conditioner so clearly several drops are doubled up on the breakers.

I got the door off the old oven so can probably wrestle it out by myself.... that door was pretty heavy... I expect the new one will be similar weight(?). New oven was 110# shipping weight. Time to RTFM.  8)

JR

PS: I've noted this before but there is a significant difference in sensitivity for my (very cheap) NCVT between picking up 120V drops and 240V  drops. I suspect some kind of first order cancellation of 240V from the two 120V legs swinging in opposite directions.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Lyle Williams on January 19, 2018, 04:12:04 pm
Kill power to the whole house.  Don't assume that you fully understand old and uninspectable wiring.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on January 19, 2018, 04:57:48 pm
Is there a pull out fuse block in the fuse panel for the wall oven?  The typical fuse panel had 2 pull out blocks- one was the main over current protection, the other usually the oven then 4 ( or more if expansion blocks were used ) edsion type fuses for the 120 vac circuits.  Sometimes stuff got wired directly to the feed thru lugs so the only shut off is the main.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 19, 2018, 06:55:04 pm
Is there a pull out fuse block in the fuse panel for the wall oven?  The typical fuse panel had 2 pull out blocks- one was the main over current protection, the other usually the oven then 4 ( or more if expansion blocks were used ) edsion type fuses for the 120 vac circuits.  Sometimes stuff got wired directly to the feed thru lugs so the only shut off is the main.
wow thank you... yes there is (ding ding ding....  winner winner chicken dinner) ...  ;D ;D

that would make my work tomorrow a lot easier than shutting down the whole casa... or hot wiring 240V  ::) ::)

I knew I hang out for some reason....  8) 8)

I have seen them before but never connected them to the oven... thought it was for the whole fuse box...

I'll report back manana. 

JR

@ Lyle I know I don't grok the whole plan... but my NCVT can confirm the oven drop is cold. I was going to tie it off, restore power and hump the heavy scrap metal around, than tie the new oven in with the power off again. Now it looks I can have lights while I work.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on January 19, 2018, 07:34:24 pm
Please be careful, check & double check.  I'm trying to help you- not increase your local funeral home's January sales numbers.

FWIW, there would be no advantage to changing to a 4 wire branch circuit if you re-fed it from this fuse panel.  They were not intended to be used as subpanels- or maybe keeping ground and neutral separate wasn't a thing when they were being installed.  In any case, adding an isolated neutral would be a pain- if there is even room to do so.  I have never seen one where the ground and neutral were not connected.  So one more thing that is not, and realistically cannot be made to be code compliant.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 19, 2018, 10:20:09 pm
Please be careful, check & double check.  I'm trying to help you- not increase your local funeral home's January sales numbers.
Ah.. the unintended consequence of giving advice.  Careful is my other middle name (do what I say... yadda yadda)..
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FWIW, there would be no advantage to changing to a 4 wire branch circuit if you re-fed it from this fuse panel. 

I have wired my DIY grounds to this fuse box, are you suggesting it isn't bonded to neutral? I guess I can check (carefully).

Not gonna go 4 wire as long as my "real" electrician is incommunicado...  I will just replicate the previous tie in with tails hanging down behind a kitchen cupboard under the oven, but at least I will use proper wire nuts.  I tried to order a junction box with cover from Home depot but they seem tragically unable to complete my order. Home depot for some reason expects me to drive an hour each way to pick up a $1 metal box (I got some wire clamps in ups already, but without a box they are not much use.) I have a second box on order but unless it arrives tomorrow it is likely to become spare parts.  :o
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They were not intended to be used as subpanels- or maybe keeping ground and neutral separate wasn't a thing when they were being installed.  In any case, adding an isolated neutral would be a pain- if there is even room to do so.  I have never seen one where the ground and neutral were not connected.  So one more thing that is not, and realistically cannot be made to be code compliant.
Code,,, I don't need no stinkin code....   Tying safety ground to neutral on a direct shot to the panel works for me.

I have two dual plug in cartridge fuses above the old school fuse box, so i suspect one is for the oven, other probably the fuse box. I'll know which and what tomorrow.

I expect the electrician to resurface maybe next week... but since he also does plumbing he has probably been fixing a lot of broken pipes lately, we had an unusually cold spell,  :o and they needed his help more than I did.  ;D

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on January 19, 2018, 11:33:35 pm
Tell me about it- I left Iowa to spend a week in Texas (south of Houston) thinking I'd have some nice weather.  An ice storm that would have been inconvenient at home shut the place down-and 15 hrs below freezing froze enough pipes to create a water shortage in Galveston.  Guess I'll go home and thaw out.

The neutrals and grounds are all tied together in that fuse box(actually most of the time those were being installed, no one ran ground wires all you had was neutrals) that means any voltage drop on the neutral feed will show up as a potential difference between anything using that panel for ground and anything using your main panel for ground.  Probably just a nuisance unless the neutral wire developes a bad connection then it can be a real hazard-the reason we use 4 wires now.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 20, 2018, 10:09:39 am
Tell me about it- I left Iowa to spend a week in Texas (south of Houston) thinking I'd have some nice weather.  An ice storm that would have been inconvenient at home shut the place down-and 15 hrs below freezing froze enough pipes to create a water shortage in Galveston.  Guess I'll go home and thaw out.
Yes, we are just now emerging from a patch of unseasonably cold weather...  While out in my attached, but unheated laundry room roasting some coffee I noticed the thermometer was reading <20' inside... While I wasn't worried about my water heater freezing, later that day I checked my outdoor hose faucet and it was frozen solid. I ran the dryer about 20 minutes and got water flowing from my back faucet again.  :o   I have since determined the thermometer was reading low...but it's hard to debate water frozen solid.

For a little classic irony my foam faucet covers and pipe heater wrap (20W) were delivered literally the day after the cold snap broke and they were no longer urgently needed, but I'll be set for next 30 years.
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The neutrals and grounds are all tied together in that fuse box(actually most of the time those were being installed, no one ran ground wires all you had was neutrals) that means any voltage drop on the neutral feed will show up as a potential difference between anything using that panel for ground and anything using your main panel for ground.  Probably just a nuisance unless the neutral wire developes a bad connection then it can be a real hazard-the reason we use 4 wires now.
Not a problem, before I started grounding stuff, nothing in my house was grounded. Now I have GFCI outlets and jury rigged grounds for hot water heater, dishwasher/washing machine and one kitchen outlet. I notice from how my NCVT reacts to the skin of my refrigerator that maybe it could use a grounded outlet too.

======

OK back on topic... I pulled the cartridge fuse for my oven so now I can work on it safely with lights, music, and hot coffee in my kitchen (now all I need to do is lift that puppy, but with the door removed it should be possible for even an old man)...

So thanks again. It's obvious in hindsight like most hindsight is.  ::)

JR

[update] I didn't want anybody to worry about me... the new oven is in and wired up, clock is set and oven works.  8) No humans were harmed during this "tired old house" episode.  I thought lifting it would be the hard part, but the fit in the opening it too tight to get an arm in and the pigtail is too short to feed through before lifting. ::) But I am a clever monkey and got er dun. If my electrician ever shows up I may have him mount a junction box back there. The one I ordered didn't show up, and the small plastic 1u switch box I had can't accept real wire.  I was tempted to re-use the very old school brass screw clamps, but I had wire nuts that should be better. Thanx everyone for the concern and advice. [/update]
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Lyle Williams on January 20, 2018, 03:03:46 pm
You could have gone quiet for a few days as a gag....  :-)
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 20, 2018, 03:38:21 pm
You could have gone quiet for a few days as a gag....  :-)

"Tonight's special is 'JR a la arc flash', cooked between tartar and very well done."

or the headline -

"Hickory man wires old redneck, blaze ensues"

I'll be here all week, folks!  Try the JR!

/sarc, satire, etc
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 20, 2018, 03:45:14 pm
"Tonight's special is 'JR a la arc flash', cooked between tartar and very well done."

or the headline -

"Hickory man wires old redneck, blaze ensues"

I'll be here all week, folks!  Try the JR!

/sarc, satire, etc
My house has tried to kill me before, like when the water heater energized my shower water....  :o

My smoke detector works just fine, so I should be OK...

Of course you never see the bullet coming that gets you.  8)

JR
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 20, 2018, 03:59:28 pm
My house has tried to kill me before, like when the water heater energized my shower water....  :o

My smoke detector works just fine, so I should be OK...

Of course you never see the bullet coming that gets you.  8)

JR

"Her name's Christine..."
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 20, 2018, 05:03:33 pm
"Her name's Christine..."
I think I knew her, but you could see her coming.

JR 
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on January 21, 2018, 09:50:13 pm
My house has tried to kill me before, like when the water heater energized my shower water....  :o

My smoke detector works just fine, so I should be OK...

Of course you never see the bullet coming that gets you.  8)

JR

Glad you got 'r done.

One thing that may (or may not?) help prevent let the smoke out would be to install the lowest rated fuses in that fuse block that will still let you run that wall oven.  Probably has 60's in it, you can drop to 35's in that same fuse block, or 30's if you use adapters.  Though, with an installed appliance the chances of overloading the circuit are virtually zero-any failure is likely to blow a 60 just as fast as a 30.

I do find it ironic that fuses are seen as "unsafe" in homes.  I've never known an overloaded fuse not to blow-but I've ran into more than one breaker that would never trip or shut off.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 21, 2018, 10:23:15 pm
Glad you got 'r done.

One thing that may (or may not?) help prevent let the smoke out would be to install the lowest rated fuses in that fuse block that will still let you run that wall oven.  Probably has 60's in it, you can drop to 35's in that same fuse block, or 30's if you use adapters.  Though, with an installed appliance the chances of overloading the circuit are virtually zero-any failure is likely to blow a 60 just as fast as a 30.

I do find it ironic that fuses are seen as "unsafe" in homes.  I've never known an overloaded fuse not to blow-but I've ran into more than one breaker that would never trip or shut off.
The wall oven only needs 20a breaker/fuse... max draw is something like 15A . I need to check if the stove top is on that same cartridge fuse block.   

I have already downsized all my branch fuses to 15a.

JR

PS: For the first time in my adult life all my major kitchen appliances are the same color (black).
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on January 21, 2018, 11:11:46 pm
PS: For the first time in my adult life all my major kitchen appliances are the same color (black).

When I was a kid the only black appliance was the oven... on the inside.

We really should cleaned that thing more often.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: Tom Bourke on January 22, 2018, 12:26:27 am
I do find it ironic that fuses are seen as "unsafe" in homes.  I've never known an overloaded fuse not to blow-but I've ran into more than one breaker that would never trip or shut off.
Unfortunately the problem comes when people don't understand the point of fuses and just put some random piece of metal in to work around a blown fuse.  Takes a more creative idiot to do that with a breaker.  Having said that I have seen bigger breakers than the wiring would allow.
Title: Re: danger Will Robinson... old red neck wiring.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on January 22, 2018, 09:56:15 am
Unfortunately the problem comes when people don't understand the point of fuses and just put some random piece of metal in to work around a blown fuse.  Takes a more creative idiot to do that with a breaker.  Having said that I have seen bigger breakers than the wiring would allow.
Yup, I have a pile of 30A (edison base) fuses I removed from my fuse panel that were left by the previous owner. (I replaced with 15A). I can pop the 15A fuse in my kitchen if I run the microwave and my electric water kettle at the same time, so I don't do that.   8)

The spare cartridge fuse that was laying around next to the fuse panel is 40A.

JR