What Is The Difference Between 220 And 240 Volt Outlets ?

Whenever you want to move your electric appliances, you must have a clear understanding of the difference between 220 and 240-volt outlets. Each appliance needs to be plugged into an outlet that matches its voltage; otherwise, the appliance would not work correctly. As a result, if you intend to relocate your washing machine, microwave, refrigerator and alike, you must ensure that proper outlets are around. Using the right outlet for the right appliance is the key to preserve the appliance quality and avoid potential hazards. In the case you want to know more, down below is additional information about the outlets characteristic and associated issues.

The plug

There are about 15 types of plug currently in use nowadays, each of them come with a letter for convenient identification. The name of the plug has no special meaning so you don’t really have to worry too much about it. Certain plugs could be compatible with both 220 and 240-volt arrangements so do remember to exam the outlet and appliance voltage beforehand. Act carelessly here and you could run into trouble: At best, the appliance would not work as designed which is ill efficient. At worst, the conductor would overheat and that would lead to significant fire hazard.

Important note

As mentioned above, depending on the manufacturer wish, one plug type could have different voltage in different appliances. Therefore, the list of 220V and 240V plugs down below is compiled using both the plug capability and country voltage as references.

There are approximately 13 types of plugs that could be seen on 220V electric appliances base on the plug capability. They are C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N and O. Some of these plugs are used across the globe but there are country exclusive plugs as well.  Base on country voltage, there are 12 plugs: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I, K, L, M and N

What does a 240v plug look like?

There are also 13 types of plug currently in circulation that could be seen on 240V electric appliances base on the plug capability. The 240v plug list is pretty much the same as the 220v one. Similar to their 220V counterparts, some of these plugs could only be found on remote corners of the world. However, base on country voltage, there are only 3 240v plugs which are G, I and D.

The outlet

What does a 220v outlet look like?

220v outlets mostly correspond to their plugs but there are some outlets that are able to accept more than one type of plug. The examples include:

  •  Type B is compatible with Type A and B plugs
  • Type D is partially compatible with Type C, E and F plugs, unsafe
  • Type E is compatible with Type C, E and F plugs
  • Type F is compatible with Type C, E and F plugs
  • Type K is partially compatible with Type E and F plugs, unsafe
  • Type L(16A)  is compatible with Type C plug
  • Type N is compatible with Type C plug

 What does a 240v outlet look like?

The 240v outlet’s compatibility with the appliances is also similar to their 220v cousin. It’s advised that you should connect the appliance plug with an outlet that matches its type just to be on the safe side

The design of the outlet

The average 220/ 240v appliances utilize 3 wires

  • A hot wire: Carries the current to the fixture
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    Another hot wire: Also carries the current to the fixture
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    A copper wire: Ensure user safety

There is no neutral wire here but when one of the hot wire is positive, the other is negative. That arrangement complete the circuit.  However, there is another wire scheme that is employed by appliances like clothes dryers and so on. It consists of 4 wires

  • A hot wire: Carries the current to the fixture
  • Another hot wire: Also carries the current to the fixture
  • A neutral wire: Completes the electrical circuit
  • A copper wire: Ensure user safety

As a result, certain appliances could have up to 4 prongs instead of the usual 3 in their plug.

Conclusion

That is most of what you should know about the differences between 220 and 240-volt outlets, not too hard to take in, right? It could be a bit confusing at first but as long as you get the hang of it then you should have no trouble identifying the outlet. This knowledge would help you a lot when it comes to remodeling the house and rearranging your electric appliance.

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