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Is Your 240 Volt Outlet Safe


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Examining a 240 Volt Circuit and the Electrical Wiring Components for Safety – The wire gauge of the circuit should be verified. If it is found that the circuit wire AWG gauge is #12 then the circuit breaker amperage size could be increased to be a 20 amp 2 pole circuit breaker.


Examining 240 Volt Circuit Components

Electrical Question: I have a dual 15 amp 2 pole circuit breaker that outputs 240V to a single 240V 20 amp outlet.

  • Is this acceptable?
  • It was installed when the house was built 20 years ago.
  • I’m concerned about the safety of the electrical wiring.

This electrical wiring question came from: Jeff, a Handyman from Hudson, New Hampshire.
See more about Home Wiring for New Hampshire

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jeff.

Examining 240 Volt Circuit Components  and Electrical Wiring for Safety

  1. Because the 240 volt receptacle outlet is rated at for 20 amps then the circuit wiring should be 20 amps.
  2. The wire gauge of the circuit should be verified. If it is found that the circuit wire AWG gauge is #12 then the circuit breaker amperage size could be increased to be a 20 amp 2 pole circuit breaker.
  3. If the AWG wire gauge is found to be #14 then the 20 amp 240 volt receptacle outlet should be replaced by a 15 amp 240 volt receptacle outlet and the appropriate cover.
  4. You may see that there are a few different types of 240 volt receptacle outlets available, such as straight blade and twist lock, 3-wire and 4-wire configurations.
  5. The correct receptacle outlet should be selected to be compatible with the 240 volt circuit and the application or 240 volt equipment that will the receptacle outlet will be used for.

The Following Resources will assist you with your electrical wiring question:

House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

Circuit Wiring

Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

Electrical outlet wiring
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Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home

Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

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Home Electrical Circuit Listing

The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.

Circuit breaker
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Guide to Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.




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