Electrical Wiring in the Home/Wall oven circuit breaker

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Question
I have a GE wall oven that is 34 yrs old.  It is connected to a 50amp circuit breaker.  I would like to know if this circuit breaker is too much.  The oven is rated  4.8 kw /120/240V and 3.6kw/120/208V

Also my appliances dishwasher, microwave oven, etc are on individual 20 amp circuit breakers.  Since my home is getting up there in age do I have to worry about the wiring with these circuit breakers.
Thank you in advance.  What a great site.

Answer
Susan

I switched over from ATT to Google,  it has been a trying time,   sorry for not getting back with you sooner.

A couple things:

GOOD QUESTION     I wish everyone was as proactive, took the time, and spent some effort making sure things are safe.

About.com/allexperts.com     is in my opinion the single best help site ever.  There are NO charges,   I am not affliated with anyone, other than my former businesses and those were simply because no one else would fix something,  so they sent it to me.

I have now sold the businesses,  [my partner is nearing retirement age so we had to do something]

But if anyone reads this,  I am working for the company that bought my companies so if there is a widget that no one local will help anyone with,   let me know. If there is anyway to restore something we will take the time, and normally at or below our cost.

To your specific questions.

1 is A 50 amp breaker too much for a 4.8KW 120 VAC GE wall oven?

This is a long discussion but worth picking out the concerns, and then investigating the concerns brought up in the discussion

Breakers protect WIRE    Wire hidden behind sheetrock,    breakers are not specifically designed to protect devices    example,    a 15 amp wall circuit    plug in a 2 amp can opener and what good is the breaker for the device?

Here is what you really need,   a whole house inspection,  not a walk through but a charted, evaluated inspection.

As they mention in the discussion link:

The concern should be the wire size feeding the circuit at max load.

Looks to me like 50 amps is way too much for the wire THAT WOULD NORMALLY FEED THAT SIZE oven,

Why that is I have no idea,   but you saw it and that got your attention,   so the best part is you are paying attention,     

Devices should be protected by a specific overcurrent or thermal overload device, and the GE oven may have some on board fuses, trips, klixons, so on,    but the important sizing is the breaker to the wire size.    The wire size should carry the oven load,  the breaker should not let the wire size carry too much current   caused by WHATEVER.

Same thing with your other devices,    sizing a main panel is not adding up the individual breakers   and coming up with a main breaker size,     

For example on that,      Panel is 200 amps with a 150 amp main breaker,    that would on the surface suggest the max in the main would be some combination such as 10  TEN      15AMP breakers total,       

There is a lot of considerations, such as how many loads are inductive,  might be inductive [an outlet with a can opener] how many circuits are resistive  [lighting at least some types]

So along with the main breaker sizing and wire sizes feeding each circuit,  there are formulas and then there is experience and many other considerations that take years to understand.

If a home owner could reasonably understand the complexity of a total structure electrical system,  in a paragraph,   then good electricians would be obsolete,  but that is not the case.

A homeowner would have to spend a ton of time reading and understanding the basics, which is great, but the practical side of experience is missing.

Yes our technology is getting ahead of our existing infrastructure,    normally newer devices are more efficient so it tends to shape things to the safer side,     larger wire is never a problem  unless it is so oversized it has to be cut down or pigtailed to be attached to either end.

Call your utility, see if they have any programs that are either free or discounted for an inspection,       REMEMBER if you get the wrong govt department,   you could be faced with red tags and all kinds of non sense,     

Call your local fire department  and see what they have.

Call your insurance company and see what they have.

Then maybe even before all that,  find a reputable contractor,  [that will be the most difficult task]   one hint,   if you find references,  and the contractor has reasonable rates for an inspection,   don't just let them show up,    you GO TO THEIR OFFICE or shop or whatever, and look around,   these websites often look way more neat and clean than they really are.

Back to the oven for a second,    lets say the wire and size are proper for the breaker,   the wire should not get hot enough ever or the breaker will trip,     again breakers protect wire,  fuses and on board thermal devices protect devices,    now we have USB all over,  charging ports and all that,      we have more and more surges and brown outs, black outs, being initiated from external causes and INTERNAL causes,  

A good contractor will be able to look at the whole system and advise you.

Condition, age, deterioration,  changed out devices,  patched in circuits all those things need to be looked for.  Are there enough GFCI breakers on the CORRECT circuits?

Should there be sub panels,  should there be a host of safety related corrections,    and normally it is not a giant invoice,   but again there is the challenge,     

Start with your utility and get their advise,  use your common sense and see if it makes sense,  after all they do sell electricity   

Fire Departments are not electricians but they know what they have seen,   and can be a great help in finding a low cost but accurate evaluation,  then the NECESSARY corrections.

I would guess the oven wire is big,  and probably matches the 50 amp breaker,   but it seems like it is way to big for the KW of the oven        

Worry is the wrong word,     if you had a three foot deep crevice in your driveway,  would you drive into it?  No it would damage something,  could hurt someone,   and is obviously a problem,   same thing with the electrical SYSTEM.

Electrical especially now days is less and less a DIY project,    not that some projects cannot be done safely and correctly , but it takes special tools and meters,   you have super modern electronics mixed with older technology high amp circuits and devices,   

50 years is not that OLD<     the sooner you get a pro to advise you on what is right, what is a possible immediate problem if anything,  and prioritize everything,   the chances are you can correct whatever in steps.

If the whole system is a potential hazard,    no matter what   the truth is the truth     it wont change on its own,  

GOOD QUESTION     and I hope a million people read this     you did them a huge favor,,,,,,,,

As you get into this, if you have concerns, let me know,  I will call whomever for you if needed,     or dig in to advice that seems out of place,          but start with utilities, stay away from City inspectors,  they inspect professional work   and those professionals can defend their actions,     last thing you need is your box red tagged,     if it is a serious problem,  work your way into it,      few are in such disrepair that it is a time bomb.

Much better to do what you are asking about now,  while it is only 50 years old,   then you can get it up to modern standards,  protect these new electronic and expensive devices,   and going forward nothing to be concerned with,       

http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3315&  
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Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,

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