Have you ever noticed that one of your appliances requires a certain special plug that’s unlike any you may have ever seen before? This plug is probably large, round, and has either three or even four distinct prongs on it. This isn’t something unique or special—it’s a high-voltage plug designed to handle the high amount of power draw that some larger appliances require. High-voltage lines through American homes function at 240-volts, and while that does mean the line itself can be more dangerous if mishandled, they are still fairly common in homes and totally safe if you use them properly.
Believe it or not, there’s a good chance your home has a 240-volt connection. Unless your home is particularly old (built in the 1960s or earlier), then there’s a strong chance you have one of these connections somewhere in your home. There’s a good reason for this: running a 240-volt line to an appliance or device that uses a ton of electricity is considerably safer, as they generate less heat while still getting the energy they need. Does your home have one of these connections? The easiest way to tell is to simply look at the plug used for one of these appliances that often utilize this high-voltage connection.
Heating & Cooling Equipment
Believe it or not, your air conditioner and heater may have a plug that it gets its electricity from. It may be one of your single most important appliances in your home, and you certainly aren’t going to move it somewhere else, but yet it may draw its energy from a plug located either in your attic or in the closet that your unit is stashed inside. You may have to look closely for it, as this plug could be behind the unit or wedged along the side as well. However, when you consider the sheer volume of energy that this system needs and the duration of time that it runs for, a 240-volt connection makes perfect sense from a safety perspective.
Electric dryers often utilize a 240-volt connection for two reasons: they have to generate a lot of heat very quickly, they have to power a fan that vents exhaust throughout a drying cycle, and they have to be able to turn a high-torque motor that is capable of continually agitating laundry loads that can be a lot heavier than they might seem. As such, a fully-electric dryer will usually take advantage of a 240-volt energy line. Of course, here in California a lot of dryers may also utilize a gas connection to create the heat they need, but even these dryers will often turn to the 240-volt connection in order to make sure they have enough power to continually turn the motor needed to turn the drum.
Electric Range/Oven Combos
Electric stoves and ranges are not all that common here in California, particularly because electricity is fairly expensive while gas is relatively affordable. However, many older kitchens and particularly those found in apartment complexes will still rely on electric stoves simply because they don’t have gas connections installed. They’re often thought of as safer in many cases as well because they don’t rely on an open flame to provide heat. For this reason, many electric-powered ranges and ovens will use a 240-volt line in order to mitigate the risk of drawing a lot of power from a lower-voltage line.
Electric Vehicle Chargers
Electric vehicle chargers are a fairly new addition to many homes, as the technology has really only started to come into its own in the last decade or two. However, today’s electric vehicle chargers almost exclusively utilize a 240-volt connection purely because a 120-volt line can’t provide enough power to adequately charge a car in a reasonable amount of time. If you’re planning on purchasing an electric car, either a full-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid, then you should also consider installing a 240-volt line, as it will significantly improve the performance of at-home charging, making your investment far more lucrative.
Let All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical install your electric vehicle charging system or outfit your home with a 240-volt connection! Call (909) 253-0664 today.