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Can you safely use a converter to switch a 120V outlet to 240V outlet?

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August 16, 2009 6:24PM

For some very low power 240 volt appliances - such as electric razors, radios, etc. - it may be possible to use a transformer to change the voltage from 120V to 240V. However many such items are designed to run on a wide range of voltages, such as 110V to 240V. Always read the label on the appliance to be sure, and also to find out if a voltage selector switch must be set to match the voltage being supplied.

For heavy household appliances such as clothes dryers, water heaters, ranges, etc., it is not possible to use a transformer because the resulting current draw on a 120V outlet would be much higher than it can safely supply and would cause its circuit breaker or fuse to shut off the power.

Using a transformer for even a small appliance might end-up being more expensive - and far more prone to breakdowns and safety problems - than paying for a correctly-sized new 240V branch circuit to be installed to power the appliance.

Most homes and businesses are already wired for 240V at the main breaker panel.

You just need to have a licensed electrician install an new 240V circuit, including the proper sized wiring and breakers. This would handle higher current loads and be much safer for you and anyone else in your household to use - and for anyone else after you have moved out. If you do this work yourself, always turn off the power

at the breaker box/fuse panel BEFORE you attempt to do any work AND

always use an electrician's test meter having metal-tipped probes

(not a simple proximity voltage indicator)

to insure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.

IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY SURE YOU CAN DO THIS JOB

SAFELY AND COMPETENTLY

REFER THIS WORK TO QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS.