240 volt & baseboard heaters


Old 10-30-04, 03:05 PM
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240 volt & baseboard heaters

I need to hook up some 240v baseboard heaters with a wall thermostat. I am very comfortable with working with 120v but 240v is new to me. I understand the directions for the heaters and the thermostat, but am confused about the lack of a neutral (white) wire in the drawings. Is a neutral wire not used in 240V?
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Old 10-30-04, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
There's nothing magical about a 240-volt circuit. It's pretty much the same as a 120-volt circuit, except at twice the voltage. Any circuit only needs two wires, one for the electrons to go out on and one for them to come back on. That's true for 120-volt circuits and it's true for 240-volt circuits. The two wires are normally called "hot" and "neutral" for a 120-volt circuit, and "hot" and "hot" for a 240-volt circuit, but those are just names.

So the answer to your question is that yes, it is true that a neutral is not used in a 240-volt circuit.

You may have seen two hots and a neutral on some 240-volt circuits such as a clothes dryer. But that's only because the dryer actually needs two circuits, one 120-volt circuit and one 240-volt circuit. The 240-volt circuit is on hot and hot, and the 120-volt circuit is on hot and neutral. A pure 240-volt circuit, such as baseboard heaters and water heaters, has no use at all for a neutral because they have no need for 120 volts.
Old 11-03-04, 03:10 PM
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Thank you for your help. I hooked them up with no problem and everything works fine. This was my first time on this site....and already I like it. Thanks again
Old 11-04-04, 02:16 PM
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Power switch on a 240V Heater

I'm planning on installing a 240V wall heater in a basement bathroom. The heater has its own thermostat, but I'd like to put a switch with a pilot light on the wall so there is a reminder that the unit is on. I went to the electrical supply house and told them what I wanted and got a switch rated for the proper voltage, but there are 3 terminals on the switch. Do I just use 2 of them and only connect one of the hot wires through the switch or do I need a switch that has 4 terminals (2 in and 2 out)?

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