How to change outlet (recepticle) from 120 to 240


Old 04-30-07, 12:48 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 31
How to change outlet (recepticle) from 120 to 240

I read that you can find (some how) the neutral (white) wire in the breaker box, change a single pole 20 amp breaker to a 20 (or 30) amp dual pole breaker in the same box place the hot (black) wire in one pole and the neutral (white) wire in the other, change the outlet from a 110 (120) to a 220 (240) and you will have a safe (legal) 220 (240) volt outlet. Does anyone know if this is all 1. True, 2. That easy, 3. Safe, and lastly how do you actually find the correct (matching) neutral wire? (or can you use any neutral wire in the box)?
Thanks so much for the help.
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Old 04-30-07, 01:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
Need more info on exactly what type of 220 volt receptacle you want to use. If it is a NEMA 6 ( 2 poles + ground, 240 volt) you could do this . If it is a NEMA 14 ( 2 poles + ground + neutral, 120/240) you do not have enough wires. What type of equipment are you looking to power?

Generally if you use the white as a hot, you are supposed to mark it with black tape at each end to so indicate.

You also need to know about your panel box. Double pole breakers ( as opposed to twin single pole) may only fit into the box at certain designated positions. This is to ensure the double pole breaker picks up opposite legs.
Old 04-30-07, 05:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If your wiring is new and you have all properly grounded circuits then you can change a 120 volt circuit to be 240 volts. You cannot, of course, make it a 120/240 volt circuit.

You must, of course, use the proper neutral. You cannot increase the circuit breaker size to larger than the wire can provide.

What you are describing is usually not done and I do not recommend it. It only makes sense if you have a dedicated 120 volt circuit that you no longer need and you need a 240 volt circuit in it's place. Most 120 volt circuits are general purpose.
Old 04-30-07, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
You would have to be absolutley certain that this is a dedicated 120 volt receptalce first. It can not be tapped for other outlets, lighting, or GFCI protected . If it is dedicated, you can do this but make sure to match your breaker with the wirring.
Old 04-30-07, 10:58 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 31
Thanks for the help, I think this is probably not the way to go

I will post a new question about a sub panel instalation, maybe this idea would be more realistic

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