Pro Guide: What Size Breaker Do I Need for an Electric Stove?

As a homeowner, you will need to make arrangements with a licensed electrician in order to have electrical lines run from the main power supplying your home into your breaker box. In other words, the electrician will need to add a new breaker or replace an existing one in your 20-amp, 30-amp, 50-amp, or other amp circuit breaker panel.

The size of the wire that runs from the street to your house and/or breaker box is measured in “gauge.” The smaller the number next to gauge (i.e., 10), the thicker and more durable the wire is — and vice versa.

The size of your electric stove will determine how large of a circuit breaker you’ll need for the electrical line that runs from the main power to your breaker box and up to it — and vice versa, so keep this fact in mind when you decide what size breaker box you need.

For instance, if your house or apartment is wired with #14/2-gauge wire and has a 20-amp circuit breaker panel, then any branch circuit wires running from your 20-amp breaker box can safely handle 20 amps.

However, if the main power supplying the house needs to be upgraded to accommodate more appliances, such as three electric stoves (including one that is larger than average), then an electrician will need to upgrade the circuit breaker box, as well.

If these branch circuit wires have been upgraded from #14/2-gauge wire to #12/2-gauge wire, then you’ll obviously need a larger breaker capable of handling 40 amps instead of 20 amps.

How do I determine how large of a circuit breaker that my electric stove needs?

what size breaker for electric stove

In order for an electrician to properly install the electrical line(s) that run between your breaker panel and your home’s main power supply, he or she will also need to know the size (i.e., amperage load capacity ) of each appliance, including stoves.

It is not advised that you attempt to determine the proper amperage load capacity that each appliance needs; if you do, then you could (at the very least) overload your circuit breaker box and (at the very worst) cause a fire.

The best way for homeowners to determine what size electric stove they own is by consulting the owner’s manual. The manual will typically include tables or charts that list each model number and its amperage load requirements.

You can also use an amp clamp meter or amp probe to measure how much electricity certain appliances are drawing. If the stove has two burners, then simply measure each one separately because it will have separate power lines leading to it from your panel box. For example, if one burner draws 12 amps while the other draws 8 amps, then it would be safe to assume that the total amperage load for this stove is 20 amps.

If no information is readily available as far as how much electricity your stove needs, then what you can do is measure its current (i.e., amperage ) draw using an amp clamp meter or amp probe. The proper procedure for doing so will vary depending on the type of meter that you’re using, so consult an electrician or refer to your owner’s manual and/or product manual before proceeding with this method:

Amp clamp meters: Simply touch one end of the red test to lead to a bare metal spot on the back of your breaker panel box and any bare metal spot on the incoming service line. Then touch one end of the black test leads to the other end of both metal spots. If your amp clamp meter has a rotary scale, keep track of the number where it stops. The higher this number is, the more electricity that certain appliance (i.e., stove) is drawing; if this number is below 10 amps, then the appliance (or appliances) that you’re measuring can be safely operated on one 20-amp breaker line.

If your amp probe doesn’t have a rotary scale, then take note of how many red lights are flashing between 0 and 9 after you make the connections described above. Again, if less than 10 lights flash (again, indicating an amperage load under 10 amps), then you can probably operate your stove(s) on one 20-amp breaker line.

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