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Should You Tap 220 Electrical Wiring for a 120 Volt Circuit?


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Splice into a 220-240 Volt Mulit-Wire Branch Circuit for 110-120 Volts: Considerations when trying to provide a source for 110 volt or 120 volt power, Understanding 220, 230 and 240 volt Electrical Circuits.


Guide to Making 120 Volt from a 220 Volt Circuit

Electrical Question: Would it be possible for me to safely install electrical wiring and tap into a 220 volt circuit junction box with an insulated neutral wire to provide power for a 110 volt circuit power supply?

This electrical question came from: Steve, a Homeowner from Leavenworth, Washington.

Additional Comments: A very useful site . Thanks so much.

Dave the Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Steve.

NOTE: The particulars of the application or the existing circuit have not been provided, so I would suggest that another 120 volt circuit should be considered to see if it will provide the capacity for your specific application. Continue reading for more information.

How to Splice into a 220-240 Volt Mulit-Wire Branch Circuit for 110-120 Volts

Preparation

  • Application: Splicing 120 and 220 Volt Electrical Circuit Wiring.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
  • Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
  • Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience and ability to work with tools and access to the electrical wiring and the junction box.
  • Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring.
  • Notice: Modifying or Installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and inspected.
  • 120 Volt and 220 Volt Electrical Circuit Wiring

    • Here are some considerations when trying to provide a source for 110 volt or 120 volt power:
      • The only 220 voltĀ  or 240 volt circuit that can be safely tapped into would be a 4-wire multi-wire circuit that has a dedicated ground and insulated neutral wire which has been installed to be used as a branch circuit and has the available amperage to support the proposed additional load.
  • Understanding 220, 230 and 240 volt Electrical Circuit and Why they Should Not be Tapped for 120 Volts
    • Most 220-240 volt circuits have been installed for a specific device or equipment as a dedicated circuit and should not be tapped.
    • Most 220 volt circuits may not have or use a neutral wire, with the exception of major appliances.
    • Tapping into a 220 volt major appliance circuit is not permitted because there will most likely be a amperage difference, so the tapped circuit would not have correct circuit protection which would produce a hazardous condition.

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Should You Tap 220 Electrical Wiring for a 120 Volt Circuit?


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