The conventional electrical outlet has a neutral wire and two 120-volt wires delivering power to appliances in your home using a phase of the electrical service. 240-volt outlets function differently, as they utilize both 120-volt wires, the neutral one, and a ground wire, which is found in new homes, to power a particular receptacle. Certain appliances and older homes may have three-prong 240-volt outlets, but these are also found in big motor-driven appliances, which run more efficiently on this voltage. Take note that these outlets are meant for those types of equipment, so those appliances normally have a plug that is compatible with 240 volts.
There are many modern appliances that use 240 volts, and these include air-conditioners, ovens, cooktops, ranges, water heaters, garage power tools, and furnaces. More recently, electric cars are also known to use this voltage. You may need to have a qualified electrician install 240-volt outlets in your home if you intend to use any of these appliances that use this voltage, but in some cases, you may prefer using a power converter or a transformer to safely plug these devices into your existing electrical outlets. Just be sure to purchase an appropriate, high-quality converter or transformer from a reputable retailer.
Most electric power companies in North America supply power to residents in 120 or 240 volts. Unlike standard outlets, 240-volt receptacles are bigger with three to four holes and rounded tops. The number of holes depends on the outlet’s age, where older outlets have three. Eventually, a fourth hole was added as a safety measure that prevents electrical shocks. Rewiring appliances with four-wire cords and a four-prong plug should resolve compatibility issues. Three-prong ones have a backward L hole on the top and on the sides, you will find two diagonal holes. Four-prong receptacles have an L on top, a half-circle hole at the bottom, and two vertical holes on the sides.