If your existing electric cooker is broken or you just fancy a more up-to-date model, it’s fairly easy to find a replacement that can be installed in its place. And if you’re strapped for cash and have confidence in your own DIY skills, you may be wondering if you can install your own electric cooker without the need for an electrician.
But although it might seem simple to replace an existing cooker with a new one, there are several things you need to be aware of before attempting to install a new appliance yourself.
Can you just plug an electric cooker in?
You may be thinking that you can just plug a new electric cooker into an existing 13 amp plug socket, making installation simple and easy. If your new cooker is rated under 3kW, it will run on a 13 amp plug and this is often the case for small ovens that are designed to be part of a fitted kitchen.
However, it’s likely that your new cooker model is more powerful than your previous appliance, and freestanding electric cookers will often require more than 3kW.
So how do you install a freestanding electric cooker or a cooker that uses more than 3kW?
Cookers requiring more than 3kW, which includes many freestanding electric cookers, will need to be hardwired into a higher-rated dedicated circuit with a separate cooker on-off switch.
If you feel competent enough in DIY, you can wire your cooker into an existing circuit yourself, but if no suitable circuit exists you will need to have a new one installed. Cooker circuit installation can only be done by a Part P certified electrician.
How do I install a new electric cooker?
If you are able to use an existing current circuit and cooker control unit, you can wire your new cooker yourself.
However, you will still need to hire a qualified electrician to inspect your work once finished and issue you a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate. Failure to do so can be dangerous and may invalidate your property insurance.
If you have any doubts at all about installing your new cooker, contact a fully qualified electrician to do the work.
Installing your new cooker
Wiring an oven is similar to wiring a plug, and the first thing you should do is switch off any source of power at the mains.
If you have purchased a new electric cooker, a suitable cable should be included in the packaging, but if you need to supply your own you will need to find a cable of sufficient thickness – 2.5mm is usually suitable. To connect a cable to the back of the cooker:
- Find the terminal outlet box located on the back of the cooker. Unscrew the plate.
- Connect the live (brown), neutral (blue), and earth (green-yellow) wires into their correct positions.
- Tighten any screws so the wires become completely secure, then fasten the back plate back on to the appliance.
Your appliance then needs to be connected via the cable to the cooker control unit. Your cooker should be positioned within two metres of the cooker control unit, but not directly underneath as this may pose a fire hazard.
Strip the end of the circuit cable before moving your appliance into place, then move the appliance ready to feed the circuit cable into the cooker control unit.
To connect your new electric cooker to the cooker control unit:
- Make sure the cable is attached securely to the appliance.
- If there is a double pole isolator switch, turn this on to de-energise your cooker.
- Test that the cooker control unit is fully dead using a voltage tester, then remove the screws inside the connections if safe to do so.
- Carefully connect your live, neutral and earth wires into the correct positions, with the blue neutral to the left, brown live to the right, and the green and yellow earth through the centre.
- When the wires are tight enough, close up the outlet box and finish all remaining connections to the cooker control unit.
How much does it cost to install an electric cooker?
If you are using an existing cooker control unit and current circuit, and have all the tools you need to safely install your appliance using the instructions above, it can be free to install your electrical oven yourself. If the new appliance doesn’t come with a suitable cable you may need to purchase one, but the cost of this will be minimal.
However, if you’ve completed any electrical work other than simply plugging in your new cooker, you will need a qualified electrician to inspect your work and issue a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate, and you may have to pay for an electrician’s time to do this.
If you have any doubts about installing an electrical oven yourself, it may be simpler and safer to ask a qualified electrician to do the job. But how much does it cost to hire an electrician to install an electric oven? Most online retailers and stores will send a fully qualified electrician to install your appliance for less than £100, if the installation is straightforward.