Single Oven Woes - Advice Needed on Minimum Gap Clearance and 16a Isolated Socket


Postby CeePeeBee » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:15 pm

Hi there,

We had an old Cata single oven from B&Q which gave up the ghost. I remember looking for a replacement and then grabbing the exact same one again.

Fast forward to now, and this latest Cata has died also.

The issue I have is that the carcass depth is only 555mm in depth. I purchased a Zanussi, and a Hoover oven which all seemed to be the right dimensions only to find they failed to fit.

Now, I can find some at 540mm depth, however I'm REALLY worried about the gap at the back of the oven. The Zanussi I purchased sat right up against the wall so that was a no brainer I think. The hoover seemed to fit fine, but I doubt there was a clearance of more than a couple of mm, perhaps 1-2cm.

My question is really for people who know about these sorts of things. I want to get a nice new oven, but how much attention should I actually pay to the "minimum gap" shown in the manuals? Some of them suggest 20mm and others 80mm....realistically, are there any safety concerns if the gap is smaller?

One final question - our previous ovens have been 13a plug ovens. I've found one oven (just 1!) that sits at 510mm depth but needs a 16a fuse and therefore needs an isolated socket. Now I know I can't do that, but can somebody talk me through how difficult it might be to obtain? Do we need to run it on it's own circuit?

Any help with any of the above will be met with congratulations and offers of some sort of sacrifice to appease the Oven Gods! We're really desperate here and Currys, B&Q, et al, are ZERO help!

Thanks in advance!
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Postby ericmark » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:08 pm

Oven vary a lot with many having built in cooling fans the worry is with a power cut the fan will clearly fail so in theroy the carcass and oven should match so with a mains failure the carcass can take the heat. This is why gaps are stated it's not for when in normal use it's for when there is a power cut it needs to be still able to get rid of the heat.

So if with a power cut you opened the oven door and removed food there would be likely no problem however that is clearly not what you want to do. But being aware of the problem with a power cut one would be thoughtful of anything stored above the oven.

I clearly can't say it's OK but if I was in the same situation I would look at where cooling air flows and select an oven where lack of space at rear is unlikely to impede air cooling.

As to 16A in the rest of Europe 16A is the standard so many ovens are 16A rather than 13A. Our rules say anything fixed over 2kW should have a dedicated supply so ovens, washing machines, tumble driers, dish washers, immersion heaters should all have a dedicated supply. In practice only the oven and immersion heater seem to get them. If it has a dedicated supply then swapping a socket or fused connection unit for a cooker outlet plate or isolator switch should not be a problem but where it's plugged into a 13A socket on the ring final then it is.

Why no one has brought out a 16A fuse connection unit I don't know. There has been some debate on using 16A from a 13A fuse if one looks at the curves then the time taken to blow a 13A fuse at 16A is longer than it takes the oven to reach temperature so the oven will start cycling well before the fuse blows. Once it's at temperature and cycling on and off it is very unlikely to blow any fuse. So it is likely you could run a 16A oven from a 13A fuse. Over time the fuse will degrade and maybe after a year or two it will blow. You are clearly taking a chance but likely a 16A cooker will work from a 13A fuse. Worst case scenario is the fuse blows that is what it's there for.

My stand alone cooker can draw nearly 60A with everything on but it still only has a 32A supply as recommended by manufacturer.

The main problem with an immersion heater was the plug if used was often in the airing cupboard and can't cool so would be damaged the same problem with ovens often the socket is not where free air will cool it. All fuses produce heat so any fuse needs cooling same with MCB's in a consumer unit they need air cooling.

As to plugging into the ring final if the socket is reasonable central to the ring and the ring has not been damaged then using high power for a long time is unlikely to cause a problem. But where the socket is near to the consumer unit it can produce an over load on one leg of the ring. Kettles although 3kW don't run for long enough to be a problem but immersion heaters and tumble driers can run on maximum for 90 minutes so are more of a worry.

In real terms the tumble drier is far more of a worry than an oven so again in real terms unlikely you will have a problem. However one can't clearly say for certain there will be no problem and you have to decide if to take a chance or not.
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