The common household electric stove utilizes a 50-amp, 220-volt electrical outlet as a source of power. This heavy-duty outlet requires heavy-duty wiring. The most common wiring used is 8-gauge wire containing three lead wires and a bare ground wire. This type of wiring project is often left to professionals, although an experienced do-it-yourselfer with a high degree of confidence can accomplish the task.
Size of 8-Gauge Wire
Standard 8-gauge wire measures 0.1285 inches or 3.26 millimeters in diameter. This is the diameter of the copper wire, not including the insulation around the wire. The 50 amps needed to operate a kitchen stove is the maximum allowable current for an 8-gauge wire in a three-conductor cable.
It takes about 20 feet of 8-gauge wire to weigh 1 pound. This is the weight of a single strand of wire without insulation. The wire is commonly in a cable including the four wires, yielding an effective weight of about 5 feet per pound, not including the insulation.
The stated gauge of electrical wire refers to the American Wire Gauge or AWG standard. The smaller the number of the gauge, the larger the diameter of the wire and the higher its electrical carrying capacity. If more than 50 amps of current is necessary, a heavier wire, such as a 6-gauge, is necessary.
High-demand electrical appliances such as kitchen stoves are commonly served by a dedicated circuit. This means a single run of cable goes directly from the stove outlet to the fuse or breaker box. No other outlets are allowed on the circuit.