Building Code Requirements for Built-In Cooktops & Ovens

Installing a built-in cooktop and oven involves more than simply sliding the unit into a kitchen and plugging it in.

Wiring

Cooktops must be vented properly for safety reasons.Cooktops must be vented properly for safety reasons.
Cooktops burn natural gas and give off fumes that must be vented safely otherwise they become harmful to the health of anyone in the household. Similarly, ovens require exhaust vents to be kept unblocked if they are to work safely and efficiently. As a result, there are building code requirements for built-in cooktops and ovens that must be followed.

When installing or replacing a built-in cooktop or oven, it is important to ensure that the wiring that leads to the cooktop or oven is able to supply the required amount of power. Older ovens used 40-amp current wiring while modern ranges use 30, 40 or even 50 amps. In addition, the National Electric Code requires that the insulation around the wiring be intact and not brittle, in order to meet safety requirements.

Venting

Built-in cooktops require a vent that removes the byproducts of burning natural gas. In addition, cooking results in greasy residue and smoke. The vents for built-in cooktops must expel the grease and smoke into the outdoors rather than into the house. Oven exhaust hoods act as vents for an oven and the exhaust outlets must not be blocked.

Location

Building codes require that cooktops and ovens not be located under windows that can be opened, known as “operable” windows, as this would prevent the window being used as a fire escape. If there are inoperable windows above the cooktop or oven, the frames and treatments must not be made from flammable materials. In addition, a fire extinguisher should be kept nearby.

Local Variations

Building code requirements are not universal and each state or territory is able to set its own standards, which may be more restrictive than the national requirements. As a result, you should always check with your local building authority to ensure you are in keeping with local codes.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, April Kohl has been writing since 1992, specializing in science and legal topics. Her work has appeared on the Second Life News Network website and in British Mensa's "LSQ" magazine. Kohl holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Durham University and a diploma in English law from the Open University.