Changing Gas Cooker to Electric Cooker
So you’ve decided to ditch your gas cooker in favour of an electric model. But before you rush out and buy a new electric cooker, are you sure you have the correct connection point to change your gas cooker to electric?
Most people make the mistake of thinking since your gas cooker plugs in for the ignition, upgrading to an electric cooker is a simple straightforward swap. Unfortunately it is often not this easy, electric cookers need a much higher current supply than an equivalent gas cooker would for just the ignition.
Electric Cooker Circuit
If you have decided to swap to a modern electric cooker from an old gas one, the first thing you need to do is check whether or not you have a dedicated electric cooker circuit. A dead giveaway for this would be a big switch adjacent to where your cooker is (often, but not always Red). These can be a number of different types, however a sample selection is shown below:
If you do find that you have a “cooker switch” already installed then proceed down to the next step.
If you can’t seem to find a “cooker switch”, try looking in any cupboards next to the cooker. The switch can often be installed at the back of a nearby cupboard to avoid having too many switches above worktop level.
If this proves fruitless, have a look down the back of the existing cooker to see if there is a “cooker connection point”. As an electric cooker uses a much higher current, the cooker will have to be hardwired into a dedicated connection point. An example of what this looks like is shown below:
If you find a connection point, it’s a good sign that you already have a dedicated electric cooker circuit installed. In this case, proceed to the next step….
The last method of checking we will mention is to simply have a look at your fuse board/consumer unit and see if you have a circuit labelled “Cooker”. Whilst this may seem obvious (and you may be wondering why I didn’t mention it earlier!), we see SO MANY fuse boards/consumer units with poor (or even no) labelling that this is often not a reliable indicator of what circuits are and what they supply.
Is Your Cooker Circuit Powerful Enough?
Most cooker circuits are installed as 30/32A circuits. This is pretty standard among most houses and would be suitable for the vast majority of single electric cookers/hobs (whether hotplate or ceramic).
However with the advent of modern induction hobs, which use more current than older models, it is wise to double check that your existing circuit is up to the job of supplying your new electric cooker. We also see a trend for more and more customers fitting large range type cookers, which obviously have higher current demands again.
If you do already have a cooker circuit installed, the only way to check the current rating of your existing supply is to check your fuse board/consumer unit. The fuse (or circuit breaker on more modern installs) should be labelled to indicate its use. I’ll be honest, it is common for labels to be missing or incorrect, making this awkward to an end user.
If you do have correct labels, and manage to ascertain the rating of your circuit, then you need to compare this to your planned cooker. Rather awkwardly, most cookers will not show their current requirements in AMPS (the unit shown on your installation), but rather kW (kiloWatt or 1000 Watts). A ready reckoner for this is below:
- 32A Circuit suitable for cooker upto approx 7.5kW
- 40A Circuit suitable for cooker upto approx 9.5kW
- 45A Circuit suitable for cooker upto approx 10.5kW
- 50A Circuit suitable for cooker upto approx 11.5kW (unusual to see circuits this powerful)
Sidenote On Diversity:
There is some debate among electricians over this, however it is generally accepted that we can apply an amount of a correction factor known as “diversity”. With use of this, depending on the type of cooker to be fitted, it may be possible to fit a higher powered cooker to a lower current circuit. This does not negate the need for a dedicated cooker circuit, however can enable 12+ kW range cookers to be fitted to 50A circuits (this is from a circuit we installed for a customer recently). This is not something you will be able to calculate safely yourself and you must ensure these calculations are only done by a qualified electrician.
Quite often the cooker manufacturer will make specific recommendations over the amperage of the circuit to be fitted. Whilst this information is handy and should always be followed, sadly it often only appears in the instruction manual and not on retailer websites. It may be worth checking Google for the manual of your new cooker prior to ordering to see if your electrical installation is ready.
Being Sure Before Ordering!
I appreciate the above information can be confusing. Not only that, but if you need further verification of your cooker circuit, this can mean potential dismantling of the circuit somewhat to check (removing switches or checking inside the fuse board/consumer unit). This is potentially dangerous and should only be attempted by a professional, qualified electrician.
Whilst there are the above checks that you can complete yourself, if anything is unclear or you are uncertain, it is best to ask a qualified electrician to take a look and set your mind at ease that you have the required feed in place prior to ordering your new cooker!
Many of the high street or online retailers will offer an installation service, these are strictly to connect the cooker to an existing point. If your circuit is not of a high enough rating, or you dont even have a cooker circuit, these “installation services” will leave your new cooker and then you will have to arrange to resolve it yourself. This has happened numerous times with previous customers of ours, leaving them in an awkward position.
Finally, it must also be said that if you are planning on ditching your existing gas powered cooker, this MUST be disconnected by a gas safe engineer who can also safely cap the supply pipe off. Under no circumstances must you attempt to do this yourself, and if anyone else offers to do this for you, be sure to check their credentials out first!
If you are in Wakefield and need some help with your electrical cooker, call us today for some expert advice (we can also recommend a top local gas fitter to remove your old cooker!). We can assist with every aspect of changing to an electric cooker
ElectricBlu Contractors – (01924) 654034