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Thread: home wiring in 240 volt only countries

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    Bill D is offline Titanium
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    Default home wiring in 240 volt only countries

    I was wondering in countries that use only 240 volts, without 120 volt service. Common household general service outlets use what size breakers? In the USA most outlets are 120 volt and either 15 or 20 amps. Any 240 outlets are often 30 or 50 amps but are used for bigger loads like stoves and water heaters. I realize the higher voltages allow more power in the same size wire or you could use smaller wire for the same loads. I doubt if European home vacumn cleaners are twice as powerful as USA models.
    Bill D.
    Modesto, ca USA

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    dian is online now Hot Rolled
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    my new house has 1.5 mm2 wire everywhere. the breakers are 16 amps, mains being 40 amps. there are two separate circuits from two phases in the house, disregarding 3-phase in the shop. if i have two toasters and the water kettle on in the morning, they sometimes will tripp the breakers, being over 4000 watts. i tried to make the electrician install a more "heavy duty" system, but he just would not do it. regulations, i reckon.

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    JRIowa's Avatar
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    Where I go in Brazil, it's all 220 VAC. The panels that I've looked at have 10 amp breakers for wall outlets, which is the equivalent to a 20 amp @ 110 vac. A the mother-in-law's, there's one 15 amp breaker for the AC. She cooks with gas. What is really hard to get used to is the "water heater" in the shower. Kind of like an instant heater, but is in the shower head. The 220 vac wiring is in the shower stall with you.

    BTW, current capacity is what is determined by wire size. A #12 wire is good for 20 amps at any voltage up to the rating of the insulator.
    JR

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    Red James is online now Hot Rolled
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    JRIowa is correct . . . but as the appliance is operating at twice the voltage, the amperage it draws is cut in half. This means the #12 gage wire, while still only being good for 20 amps, will run twice as many appliances of the same wattage. The energy loss due to resistance ((I^2 R) modified for ac voltage) is less, thus making the 240 volt system a little more efficient. And this is the main reason power companies use high voltage transmission lines!

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    MrSleepy is offline Aluminum
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    In the UK most houses are 240vAC single phase and have a main incoming fuse of 100amps going to a (in modern homes - RCD protected) MCB/fused consumer unit.
    Some large palatial houses have 415v 3 phase incoming going to a breaker box... with each phase then going to a seperate 240vAC consumer unit in the property.(and the ability to run 415vAC 3ph equipment


    The primary BS1363 socket circuits are usually a 2.5mm ring main with 30amp breakers / bs1361 fuses....and the BS1363 plugs have a 13amp max fuse fitted.

    Lights are usually a 1.5mm spur or ring....usually fused at 5A-10A.
    Cookers and showers can have their own 6mm spur from the consumer usually not exceeding 60amps.

    Most modern consumer units are split..allowing fridge and freezer supplies to bypass the RCD section.

    Most kettles/washers are around 2.2kw and my Dyson hoover is 1400w ,all run of one of the 30A ring mains.

    I have a 6mm 45Amp supply to my garage to run my equipment.

    Rob
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    Rob,

    I don't mean to highjack the thread, but what do your average utility bills average per month.

    I have 2, 200 amp -220 VAC services on my property. One for the shop and one for the house. I heat with propane and contract for an amount for the year with deliveries as a needed. The house is 150 m2 and the shop is about 90 m2.
    The average monthly electric charges for the house and shop are $138 and $43. The propane cost for this winter will be about $1K. That makes my average monthly utility (heating and light) cost @ $265 USD. How does that compare to the UK?

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    My annual bill for gas and electricity is around 2450.

    That's for a small three bed house with gas heating and a small workshop.

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    maxh is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRIowa View Post
    Where I go in Brazil, it's all 220 VAC. The panels that I've looked at have 10 amp breakers for wall outlets, which is the equivalent to a 20 amp @ 110 vac. A the mother-in-law's, there's one 15 amp breaker for the AC. She cooks with gas. What is really hard to get used to is the "water heater" in the shower. Kind of like an instant heater, but is in the shower head. The 220 vac wiring is in the shower stall with you.

    BTW, current capacity is what is determined by wire size. A #12 wire is good for 20 amps at any voltage up to the rating of the insulator.
    JR
    Those things are scary! When I was in Kenya, a couple of the "nicer" hotels at which I stayed had that type of shower head, 220VAC running straight to the head. I've attached a pic of one of them; the bare copper wire was visible at the entrance to that connector! The ground wire was worse than the others, but the hot wires were still exposed. And the shower head had a switch for controlling temperature on it, about 3" from the connector. Imagine standing there naked, barefoot, soaking wet, reaching up and fumbling around for a switch with live wires just inches away!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails showerhead-kenya.jpg  
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    S_W_Bausch is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRIowa View Post
    Where I go in Brazil, it's all 220 VAC. The panels that I've looked at have 10 amp breakers for wall outlets, which is the equivalent to a 20 amp @ 110 vac. A the mother-in-law's, there's one 15 amp breaker for the AC. She cooks with gas. What is really hard to get used to is the "water heater" in the shower. Kind of like an instant heater, but is in the shower head. The 220 vac wiring is in the shower stall with you.

    BTW, current capacity is what is determined by wire size. A #12 wire is good for 20 amps at any voltage up to the rating of the insulator.
    JR
    Artificially limited to 20 amps by the NEC, I recall.

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    MrSleepy is offline Aluminum
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    Hi JR

    It can vary quite a bit depending on which of the 6 companies you sign with and which plan they have you on.

    Its also changing considerably for everyone as the usual round of prices rises is happening now (8% for me) ,but also because the watchdog OFGEM has told the big six to simplify their plans...so now everyone is being switched onto standard tariffs with a standing charge.

    So for me ,using Atlantic based on two 6mth periods

    Gas

    Standing charge 26.1p per day = 95
    15106 kWh @ 4.05p /kWh = 612 total= 707


    Electric

    Standing charge 26.1p per day = 95
    6521 kwh @ 12.12p/kWh = 790 total= 885

    So 1592 for the year... 132 per month or $211.

    Rob

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    Thanks Dave, that number works out to about $330 USD/month.
    Thanks Rob also for the numbers.

    Everything but my paycheck has more than doubled in price in the last 12-15 years. I'm just lucky that the government says we have no inflation otherwise prices would have really gone up.
    JR
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxh View Post
    Those things are scary! When I was in Kenya, a couple of the "nicer" hotels at which I stayed had that type of shower head, 220VAC running straight to the head. I've attached a pic of one of them; the bare copper wire was visible at the entrance to that connector! The ground wire was worse than the others, but the hot wires were still exposed. And the shower head had a switch for controlling temperature on it, about 3" from the connector. Imagine standing there naked, barefoot, soaking wet, reaching up and fumbling around for a switch with live wires just inches away!
    Wow ,that setup could give you a warm and fuzzy feeling quite literally.

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    MrSleepy is offline Aluminum
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    JR

    About 3yrs ago I did a full audit of how we use energy in our house.

    One biggie was the freezer .. we looked through it and found only one item that needed freezing (ice cream carton ).Every thing else could be bought from the shop, fresh, tomorrow...(a five minute walk).

    So we got a small A+ fridge with a freezer compartment....and dumped the other two.

    We were boiling the kettle full every time we wanted a cup.

    So we bought a Morphy Richards Meno one cup kettle....It holds 10 cupfulls in a rear compartment..and just boils the cup full only.

    All bulbs to CFs .. took a degree of all thermostats..set washer to 15C and use a different powder ...and now predominately take showers instead of baths. And this summer ,installed a small electric water boiler under the sink ,so we dont have to heat a full tank of water using gas for washing up etc. and turned the heating off completely until last week.

    And we dont really notice any difference apart from lower bills.

    But I have had to promised to fit VFDs on my big equipment and get rid of my power hungry 10HP RPC.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxh View Post
    Those things are scary! And the shower head had a switch for controlling temperature on it, about 3" from the connector. Imagine standing there naked, barefoot, soaking wet, reaching up and fumbling around for a switch with live wires just inches away!
    Don't have to imagine. Looks just like the mother-in-law's. Her's has a plastic wand coming out of it to control the temp. They do seem to work quite well and I've asked and nobody has ever heard of somebody getting juiced from one. NEC would love em.
    JR

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    JRIowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSleepy View Post
    About 3yrs ago I did a full audit of how we use energy in our house. And we dont really notice any difference apart from lower bills.
    Rob,
    I've been doing that for a lot longer. I've worked and worked on the house with more energy saving stuff to do next spring. I use about 35% less energy today than I did 15 years ago, but I pay about 250% more. It seems like every time that I figure out a way to save, there's a rate increase.
    JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by dian View Post
    my new house has 1.5 mm2 wire everywhere. the breakers are 16 amps, mains being 40 amps.
    In older houses the panels have 6A fuses. Standard residential loadcenters are 40A. Residences in Switzerland have 3~ service. Farms and Businesses normally get 100A service. Above 100A 380v 3~ there is a significant jump in price.

    There are rolling tariffs dependent on grid load. Our water heater, dishwasher, dryer and washing machine can switch themselves on when the tariff falls to a lower rate.

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    SWMBO was complaining of the electric bill one evening. I said; "I'll just get you a rock to beat the clothes on, and some wood for a fire, you can do all your wash outside."
    My sight never has recovered in that eye.
    JR

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    In general 3x25 Amps as the mains
    Then 6 to 9 sections with 16Amps All behind a 30Ma RCD Also the dischwasher and cooker
    For the wet section we used to have a 0.5amp RCD butnowadays it is all 30Ma
    Those things work dammed good


    peter from holland

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    DM
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSleepy View Post
    Most modern consumer units are split..allowing fridge and freezer supplies to bypass the RCD section.
    Applies to older (UK) installations, but current reg's mean that all circuits need to be protected by an RCD unless they are buried deeper
    than 50mm in the wall or surface mounted.


    Recently we have fitted 2.2Kw of solar panels to our house, over the last 3 months we have generated more power than we have used on the daytime tarif.
    The meter still read lower than when we installed the solar.
    We will save even more soon when we dump any excess power generated into the hot water tank rather than exporting it to the grid.
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    PDW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I was wondering in countries that use only 240 volts, without 120 volt service. Common household general service outlets use what size breakers? In the USA most outlets are 120 volt and either 15 or 20 amps. Any 240 outlets are often 30 or 50 amps but are used for bigger loads like stoves and water heaters. I realize the higher voltages allow more power in the same size wire or you could use smaller wire for the same loads. I doubt if European home vacumn cleaners are twice as powerful as USA models.
    Bill D.
    Modesto, ca USA
    Around here, with a 240V single phase supply, the consumer breakers are usually 10A for lights, 15A for domestic power points etc, 20A for a hot water service and 32A for an electric stove. Last 2 might be both 32A.

    Nutcases such as myself have more 20A & 32A circuits and breakers for running power tools. In fact I have 415V 3 phase supply but that's a different issue.

    PDW
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