Why does my range breaker deliver 120 volts instead of 240?


The older federal pioneer stab locks had a really bad reputation, I thought they went out of business years ago. Look for burning at the breaker contact points, if all looks good try flipping the breaker on and off 10 times. If you now have power and there were no bad looking spots on the buss consider replacing the breaker. For your own information you should read up on these panels there have been many complaints of fires and malfunctioning breakers. Some say they are fine. Do your homework on this since you are upgrading you may want to replace the panel. Added link on FPE breakers and panels. Since you are in Canada your panel may be different than the ones in the...

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You have one of these.


It's not a 2-pole breaker. It's a twin, duplex, tandem, cheater or double-stuff breaker giving two 120V circuits in a single space in the panel, intended to be used for 120V circuits when you have run out of space in the panel. That doesn't work as discussed here. One space can only access 120V.

You need a 2-pole breaker.

If you have run out of space in the panel, they make 240V 2-pole double-stuffs; they take 2 spaces, contain 4 breakers, with the middle two tied together providing your 240V circuit. They are available with or without the outer tie. These are not simply handle-tied; there is also an internal mechanism doing the tying. Hence you cannot simply add ties to 120V breakers, unless the manufacturer says you...

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In march 2017, my neutral wire at mast was almost broken probably by load of ice and wind or a branch falling on entry wires. The electrician did secure the neutral wire to the mast, and the neutral touches the mast part on the mast and part on the ceramic isolator. When I plugged the microwave oven, it exploded with burned scent. I did check the voltage at the receptacle, and it was 240 volts between the black and white, and 240 between ground and one of the 2 wires. Also, cannot open some lights in several rooms, and the fridge is working erratically, and stops for no reason.The range is working but no timer, neither lights. The range fan lights are lightly opened, and the motor fan does not work.The kitchen lights glow very dim or not at all.I had a fan heater in my water entry, and I did remove it to no avail. I also have a sewage pump still connected. Could it be a problem in the power transformer? or a short in the windage of the sewage pump? Also the entrance wires are...

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Larger image Thermostats and elements

How to wire thermostats and elements
How to troubleshoot electric water heater

How to wire off-peak water heater thermostats

Use 10 gauge wire for water heaters

Orange-colored 10 gauge wire for 30 Amp breakers
30 Amp breaker x 240Volts = 7200 watts => 80% rule applies: 7200 Watts x 80% = 5760 Watts safe maximum
80% rules applies to household electrical loads

Other ratings:
Yellow-colored 12 ga wire for 20 Amp breakers
White-colored 14 ga wire for 15 Amp breakers
18 ga lamp cord or 1 residential can opener, pencil sharpener, floor lamp etc
Ratings and color code for wire

What size circuit breaker? 30 Amp
For safety > a circuit breaker is allowed to handle 80% of Amps shown Water heater safety: always use 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker
30 Amp breaker x 80%...
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Maybe we should ask Ben Franklin. He's the genius that decided electrons are negative, right?

While we're chewing on this, 40 years ago the usual "delivered" voltage here, west Florida, was about 117 VAC RMS per phase, and I sent many a customer to complain to the power company when their air conditioner wouldn't start as the power voltage dropped below 97 volts during a start surge (which is about 5 to 8 times the running current). Now, the "standard" is 240V, split phase, +/-5% and my house receives 250.0 volts.

Being both smart and cheap, I still use a 1979 clothes dryer, but I can't run it with the coiled nichrome elements designed for 1979. They burn out in about 3 weeks. I had to replace them with Calrod brand heaters because they could survive the higher voltage.

I expect that newer appliances are designed for the higher voltages we have now, but I sure don't know why the voltages keep changing to higher numbers.

All of that rambling, so far, was about...

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This is for Canada and the USA

The standard rating of the breaker is current in amps and a two pole breaker is rated at 240 volts.

Your actual voltage may vary from 200 to 240 volts measured line to line depending upon the type of service and the line loading.

3 phase service voltage can vary from 200 volts to 212 volts measured line to line

This service has 3 line wires and 1 neutral wire. The voltage measured from any line to any other line should be 208 volts but can vary. The voltage measured from any line to the neutral should be 120 volts but can also vary somewhat

Single phase service voltages can vary from 215 volts to 240 volts measured line to line.3 phase service voltage can vary from 200 volts to 212 volts measured line to line

This service has 2 line wires and 1 neutral wire. The voltage measured from any line to any other line should be 230 volts but can vary. The voltage measured from any line to the neutral should be 120 volts but...

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EFFICIENCY of 120V vs 240V EQUIPMENT - CONTENTS: Can we save money by wiring devices to run at 240Volts instead of 120Volts?Should we wire our well pump to run at 240V instead of 120V?Which is better, 120Volts or 240Volts? Which voltage level is more energy efficient? POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the energy efficiency of 120 vs 240V electrical systems REFERENCES

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Efficiency or energy savings of 240 Volt vs 120 Volt appliances & devices:

This article describes the difference between wiring an electrical motor, such as a well pump, to operate at 120 volts compared with 240 Volts and answers the common question of whether or not wiring an electrical device to operate at higher 240 Voltage level will save on the electrical bill by using less energy.

The short answer is no, and details are provided below. Sketch...

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In the United States and Canada, the electrical power supplied to most homes is from a split-phase system. That power enters your home at about 240 volts, that voltage is split at the main circuit breaker panel into two 120 volt halves. Those 120 volt halves are routed through the home to outlets.This 120 volt level is commonly referred to as 110, 115, 120, or 125 volts. Similarly, 220, 230, 240, and 250 volts are used to describe the higher voltage range. This higher voltage range is used to supply power to large appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, and large air conditioners. Buy why all the different numbers? And how should they be used when discussing voltage ranges?

110 and 220 Volts

The designations "110 volt" and "220 volt" represent an older, out of date standard that's no longer found in new equipment. However, this terminology is still familiar to many people, so it remains in use.

115 and 230 Volts

The terms "115 volt" and "230 volt" come...
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SOURCE: kitchen aid stove problem


First...be sure you cut power to the stove before you do anything. This is 220 volts and it can kill you. 220 Volts is based on two different lines of power coming to the stove, each of which is 110 volts...but opposite each other in phase. This may mean that some power to the stove is on and some is not. Let's go on.

I suspect a few things: First, the coil control for the burner is probably finished. What I also suspect is that it opened one of the two breakers (they are usually tied together in the panel and are either 40/50/60 amp units) causing some lights but no action.

What to do: Reset the breakers as a pair by turning them off and on. If one snaps off, you have a problem at the stove. If not,...which I doubt...you're in business.

Let's look at replacing the control. Shut the breakers. Now, take the burned control and remove it. Note the wiring positions if they are not on a plug. If they are...

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Most homes have a 240 volt supply that is center-tapped at the distribution transformer. The center tap is neutral and is also grounded. Each leg is hot. The voltage from neutral to either leg is 120 volts. The voltage between legs is 240 volts. Each leg, measured to neutral, is 180 degrees out of phase with respect to each other. This is still considered single-phase power. Sometimes, the term split-phase is used. Do not call it two phase, or partial three phase, because the phase angle is 180 degrees instead of 120 degrees. The advantage of 120 / 240 power is that you can connect normal loads (such as lights) from neutral to hot, and run them on 120 volts, while connecting larger loads (such as clothes dryers and ranges) from hot to hot, and run them on 240 volts. In an ideal configuration, the current on one leg is balanced to the current on the other leg. This results in zero or near zero current on neutral, and allows the distribution transformer to operate more...

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Why does my electric range trip the circuit breaker when the oven and all burners are used? This behavior is new.

I have an early 80s GE electric oven/cooktop range (

approximate parts diagram

) on a pair of dedicated 50 amp circuits of the same vintage. The range is marked 10.6 KW @ 120V and 8.2 KW @ 120V. Pretty much everything in the house is the cheapest imaginable, but I haven't found any safety issues.

I used to be able to use all four burners and the oven at the same time. Recently if I turn on everything, after a minute or so the breaker trips. I have also had this happen with only a couple burners and the oven at the same time. It does *not* happen with just the oven, even if I leave the oven at 500F for an extended period. Resetting the breaker is always sufficient to turn things back on.

Thinking a short caused by thermal expansion was the most likely cause, I checked all the burners (including the oven element) where they connected to the...

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Most homes and small businesses are connected to a local utility company's power grid, which supplies two AC (alternating current) voltages, namely 120-volt and 240-volt supplies. Most electrical outlets in a home deliver 120-volts to lamps, refrigerators, TVs, radios, computers, VCRs and DVD players, clocks, hair dryers, washing machines, toasters, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, cell phone charges, blenders and most all appliances you would normally purchase at a department store. Some appliances, however, need a higher voltage, 240-volts, as they require much more energy to operate. These household appliances include electric ranges (ovens), dryers, water heaters, central air conditioning systems and electric baseboard...

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What to look for in the breaker box

Unless your home is very old and has never had its electrical service updated, it has 240-volt service from the street and into the main service panel as well.

Nearly every service panel has two 120-volt wires and one neutral wire running to it from the utility company. Each wire powers one “bus” (copper vertical leg) inside the main service panel. That’s why you usually see two columns of breakers (or fuses) when you open your service panel door. The common 120-volt circuits that power everything from your lava lamp to your vacuum cleaner are powered from one of those two buses. The standard 15- or 20-amp circuit breakers work by clipping onto one of the buses. Then the circuit’s hot (red or black) feed wire is clamped to the circuit breaker, while the neutral (white) wire and bare copper ground wire are clamped to the common neutral bar.

The way you get a 240-volt circuit is simple. A “double-pole” circuit breaker is...

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Always Disconnect the Power before beginning work!

Failure to follow this rule can result in death or injury.

Breaker and fuse panels remain hot even if the main breaker is turned off or the main fuse is removed. Main panels should only be worked on by qualified persons.

Incorrectly performed electrical work can result in fire, damage to property, and injury or death to people. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions it may be against the law for anyone other than a licensed electrician to perform electrical work, and work which is performed by unqualified people or which has not been inspected and approved may cause your homeowners insurance policy to be void.

To understand how a 240 volt (also known as 220 volt) household circuit works you should first know a little bit about how a regular 120 / 110 volt circuit works. If you are at all familiar with residential electrical wiring then you probably already know that in most cases appliances, and fixtures connect...

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Power… it is the only thing that you will find more prevalent in a datacenter than racks, yet many times when discussing upgrades and new installations it’s the part that no one ever mentions. I assume this is for one of a few reasons:

the IT team isn’t in charge of the power design (leased building, union, or separate electrical department) have always just used 120v “normal” stuff under 1800 watts aren’t an electric engineer/don’t understand what Amps, Volts, Watts are don’t understand all of the options for connectors/cords Disclaimer: I am not an electrician, however, I have thought that it would be a great certification to get So take these suggestions as just that…. suggestions. If you are in doubt or need wiring changes made call a licensed electrician. I take no responsibility if you burn down the building or something else bad. And remember kids, don’t try this at home.

So there isn’t much I can do about the first problem, however, if that is the situation you are...

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A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Dear Cecil:

How come the U.S. is practically the only country in the world where household electricity is 110 volts instead of 220 volts?

— Mark, Berkeley, California

Cecil replies:

The penalty of leadership, champ. While inventors in many countries contributed to electric power technology, the U.S. was way out front in putting that technology to practical use. In the early days, lower voltages were the most practical for electric lights — higher voltages burned out the bulbs. So the hundreds of power plants built in the U.S. prior to 1900 adopted 110 volts (or 115 or 120 volts) as their de facto standard.

Trouble was, power transmission at higher voltages was more efficient — you didn't have to use so much copper in the wires. By the time most European countries got around to making big time investments in electricity, the engineers had figured out how to make 220-volt...

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I am going to wire an outlet for a compressor in my shop. Should I connect to 120V or 240V? I’ve had a few questions regarding the topic of what is best, 120 or 240 connection when you have a choice on a motor, like on a compressor or a pressure washer. One particular question from one of my website visitors involved a situation where a new larger compressor was purchased to replace the old one that had a single voltage motor rated at 120V/7A, and the new one was more than double the size. The old unit was connected to a dedicated 15A/120V circuit, and he was quoted a healthy sum to upgrade this circuit to larger wire, and a larger breaker. The simple solution to this would be to change the existing circuit from a 120V to a 240V supply as the new motor was dual voltage.

Here is a link to an article that deals with this particular situation: How to Convert an Outlet or Receptacle from 120v to 240v.

The current draw on the new motor was 16A on 120V. This would require...

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