In USA 240V comes into your home even though most of your equipment is 120V. I say most because your clothes dryer for one, if you have an electrically-heated one, most likely runs on 240V. The answer to your question is that 2 legs (power lines) come into your house. One leg is colored Black, the other is Red.
Each leg is 120V to common (ground). The voltage is AC (Alternating Current) so it is always going from +120V to -120V on each leg. But at opposite times, so that at some point in the cycle one leg is +120V while the other leg is -120V. And if you measure the voltage difference between +120V and -120V you get 240V.
The US wiring system works like this: to turn on your lights you switch into one leg, the current goes through your wiring to your lights and back to common. But your dryer switches into one leg and returns the current to the other leg. If you look in your breaker box you see breakers on both sides. Looking straight across, these breakers are on the same leg (L1). The next set down the panel are on the opposite leg (L2). Adjacent breakers all the way down the panel are on opposite legs. A two pole breaker spans these adjacent legs and that is how you arrive at 240 volts. Your dryer is connected to a two pole breaker that taps into both Black and Red legs.
To accurately specify a voltage, you have to specify two points to measure, and the voltage is the difference between the two. If only one point is given it is usually implied that the second point is a grounded or 0 volt point. In the U.S., the three wires that enter most homes can be thought of as at +120V, -120V and 0V relative to ground. The 0V line is the "grounded" conductor, sometimes also called "neutral" and must be well connected to the earth where the wires enter the building (and no where else!) The +120 and -120 are actually different phases of an AC voltage wave. So by choosing which two points to connect to, a load can receive 120V or 240 V. Since there are two ways to get 120V, the breaker panel is usually set up to distribute the load between the two 120V phases.
As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.
Before you do any work yourself,
on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,
always use a test meter to ensure 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.
If the 220V circuit is dedicated, is to derate the circuit to a dedicated 110V outlet. Replace the 220V breaker with a 110V breaker and install a 110V outlet in place of the 220V outlet. If the original circuit was 20A or greater go with a 20A breaker and a 20A outlet as Airconditioners are fairly large loads. Do not exceed the current rating of the old circuit as that is all the current the existing wiring can handle.
Answer for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hertz supply service.Yes, a 240v 50amp circuit can be changed to a 120v 30amp circuit. The wire for the 50 amp circuit should be a #6. This is more than ample for a 30 amp circuit. Remove the two pole 60 amp breaker and replace it with a single pole 30 and a single pole 15 amp breaker. One of the two #6 wires will be terminated on the neutral bus (if there is a white use it) and the other #6 will be terminated on the new 30 amp breaker. This will give you the required 120 volt 30 amp circuit. The new 15 amp breaker that was installed just to fill the hole from the two pole 60 amp breaker will give you a spare 15 amp circuit. >I have no idea what you are trying to do, but there is no way you can change 220v 50 amp to 120v 30 amp. You can take 220 volt input in the top of your circuit breaker box. Then half of one side will be 120v and half of the other side will be 120v. You can install a 30 amp fuse. You should hire an electrician.Before you do any work yourself,on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energizedIF YOU ARE NOT REALLY SURE YOU CAN DO THIS JOBSAFELY AND COMPETENTLYREFER THIS WORK TO QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS.
Answer for the US: Breakers are rated in amps, not watts. However, a 15A breaker can handle 15 amps, or about 1800 watts (using 120V), or 3600 watts (using 240V). However, this is only rated for noncontinuous loads (those not lasting for more than three hours). For continuous loads (loads lasting three hours or more), one must derate the circuit breaker by 80%. So for continuous loads, that same breaker should only have 1440 watts (using 120V), or 2880 watts (using 240V) on it.
You have three feed wires on US residential service: 2 hots and neutral. These wires are connected to a 240V center tapped transformer with the neutral connected to the center tap. So, you have 120V between either hot and neutral and 240V between the hots. There is no neutral in this circuit because the load doesn't require 120V, it draws 240V directly from both hots.
For USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hz supply service.1) An outlet for 240V is totally different from a regular 120V outlet. 2) The wiring for 240V is also much heavier than for 120V.3) The double pole circuit breaker necessary for 240V is different to the single pole breaker used for 120V.4) Anyway it is not clear why you would want to try to change a 240V outlet to a 120V type?5) If you could log in and add some more details below here so we knew your reasoning for wanting this change to take place, someone may be able to assist you much further.The reason why I need to do this is because there is only one 3-prong 240V outlet in the water heater closet feeding an inline water heater and I want to install an instant hot water recycling system which runs on 120v I so need the extra power outlet.If you want to keep the existing 240V water heater then you cannot add another outlet to the circuit, not even a 240V one, let alone a 120V one!The wiring and its circuit breaker is only rated to carry the current for one water heater and nothing else. If you add another appliance to the circuit you risk causing a house fire: the breaker may buzz but not trip so that the wiring gets hotter and hotter until something catches on fire!So, if you are planning to buy a new hot water recycling system it surely deserves to be installed safely and correctly?So why not, for your instant hot water recycling system, have a licensed electrician install a separate 120V circuit with the correct breaker, the correct-sized cable and the correct outlet near to the existing 240V outlet?As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.Before you do any work yourself,on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY SURE YOU CAN DO THIS JOBSAFELY AND COMPETENTLYREFER THIS WORK TO QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS.
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