Whilst only a qualified electrician is permitted to install a new circuit for an electric cooker, any competent DIY enthusiast is welcome to replace or upgrade their gas oven to an electrical alternative. This guide will talk you through the process of installing and wiring an electric cooker.
What Preparation is Needed to Install an Electric Cooker?
Firstly, you’ll need to be aware of your requirements. Electric cookers draw a great deal of power – more than a gas oven, because they generate a larger, more evenly distributed amount of intense heat.
With that in mind, you’ll have to be sure that you have a large fuse (the instruction manual of your oven will advise on this – you may get away with 13amps, but typically you’ll need something bigger), a thick, heat-resistant cable (consult a professional electrician if you are unsure of electric cooker cable size requirements) and an accessible double pole isolating switch.
Why Do I Need a Double Pole Isolating Switch, Rather Than a Single?
It’s all a matter of safety. While a single switch overrides the live wiring to your cooker should it need to do so, an oven uses so much power during an electrical circuit that the neutral wire may still be carrying some current. A double pole isolating switch will also power down the neutral wire, and thus remove the risk of residual electrical shocks should you touch the cooker after it has tripped.
What Circuit and Cables are Needed to Install an Electric Cooker?
All electric cookers require their own radial circuit – it is inadvisable for an oven to share a circuit with another major kitchen appliance.
Install a cooker control unit within two metres of the cooker, but never directly above it, and run a thick cable that is capable of supporting the amount of electricity that your oven will need to one side.
Obviously, you will want to keep this as close to the appliance as is safe to prevent any potential trip hazards in the kitchen, but not so close as to pose a fire risk. You are then ready to wire your electric oven.
Wiring an Electric Cooker
The process of actually wiring your oven is largely similar to wiring a plug. Switch off any source of power to the oven at the mains (remember just how much electricity runs through these appliances) and feed your circuit cable into the oven’s control unit. Strip the end of the circuit cable in advance of bringing your appliance into place to hooking everything up, and you are almost there.
Installing an Electric Cooker
Firstly, remember that electric ovens are not light – get somebody to help you with the lifting and shifting, or you risk doing some serious damage to your back. Once in position, locate the terminal outlet box on your appliance; this is usually found halfway up the back of the cooker and covered by an unscrewable plate.
Remove the plate and connect your live, neutral and earth wires into the appropriate positions (remember, it’s always the blue neutral to the left, brown live to the right, and the green and yellow earth through the centre). Once these wires are appropriately tight, close up the outlet box and complete all remaining connections to your control unit.
Upon doing so, get the oven into position (again, seeking help if necessary), and switch on the mains power. If all done correctly, you’ll be ready to cook up a storm.
Can I Install My Own Electric Cooker?
As long as you have the appropriate qualification and status as a competent person to work with electricity, yes.
Who Else Can Install an Electric Cooker?
Any reputable appliance shop will offer a service of installing your oven for a fee, but if you are capable of confident of doing the work yourself then you can save yourself this expense – it’s not as complicated as you may believe. All the same, you do not want to take any chances with such an important appliance, so consult a professional if you have any doubts in your mind!
I’m Installing an Electric Oven from Scratch – Where Can it Go?
You’ll need to install your cooker at least 300mm from anything else in your kitchen aside from countertops, so keep your oven as far as possible from your sink and fridge-freezer.
My Oven Won’t Heat Up – is This a Wiring Problem?
It could be the wiring, it could be something as a simple as a blown fuse, or it could be an issue with one of the elements within the cooker. Most electric ovens should have a digital clock on them – if this is working, then it suggests the issue stems from a lack of power. If not, you’ll need the assistance of an electrician.
Can I Follow These Instructions to Switch My Gas Oven for an Electric?
Yes, but of course you’ll have to switch off your gas supply in the vicinity, and possibly look into getting the gas pipe removed. Consult a professional for further advice.
Are Electric Cookers Expensive to Run?
They tend to lead to higher utility bills than a gas oven, yes. However, the trade-off is that an electric oven will heat things up faster than a gas equivalent, and distribute any heat much more evenly.