120v Receptacle Wiring

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Electric cooking ranges have special wiring needs because they require a 120/240-volt circuit and receptacle. While gas stoves also are plugged in to provide power to operate the timers, vent fans, and other accessories, these stoves use simple 120-volt household circuits. An electric range, on the other hand, makes use of 120-volt current for the same purposes, but it also uses 240-volt current to heat the stovetop heating elements and oven heating coils. Hence, it requires a 120/240-volt receptacle and circuit with an independent neutral wire that provides a return path for the 120-volt portion of the circuit. In this respect, an electric range is much like an electric clothes dryer, which also uses a 120/240-volt receptacle.

In the case of the clothes dryer, the timer and tumbler chamber are powered by 120-volt current, but the heating unit of the dryer is powered by 240-volt current. An outlet receptacle is usually required only for freestanding upright ranges.

Circuits for Electric Ranges

  1. Drop-in cooktops or wall ovens are usually hardwired, with the circuit wiring connected directly into the appliance connection panel, without the benefit of a plug-in cord and receptacle.
    The following instructions are written with freestanding upright range units in mind. Before wiring the end receptacle where you will plug in the range, there are some preliminaries. First, you'll need a 240-volt circuit of the proper amperage rating run from the main circuit breaker panel to the location where you want the receptacle. While some DIYers have the necessary skills to run new electrical circuits from the circuit breaker panel, this is almost always a job for a professional electrician. Such work can be quite dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. It involves installing a new 240-volt circuit breaker and routing the electrical cable through walls to the location of the range outlet.
  2. The power demand of ranges varies depending on the rating of the appliance, but in most cases, a 50-amp 240-volt circuit is required, wired with #6-gauge wire.
    Smaller ranges may require a 40-amp circuit, wired with #8-gauge wire. Either way, the circuit is wired with a 3-wire cable, including white, black, and red wires, plus a bare copper ground wire. The National Electrical Code (NEC) has different rules for different types of ranges. Drop-in ranges are usually hard-wired, and the circuit conductors must be sized to exactly match the wattage on the nameplate rating of the appliance.
    The NEC makes this allowance because the nameplate rating is based on the oven and burners all being on high at the same time, which doesn’t happen very often.
  3. But if you’ve ever hosted a big dinner, you know that firing everything at once, and for long periods, sometimes does happen.
    Therefore, it’s a common best practice to wire a range circuit with a 50-amp breaker and #6-gauge cable. Our partners can help you compare quotes from top-rated professionals near you. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which The Spruce receives compensation. Another preliminary step is connecting the appliance power cord to the range. Most ranges do not come with the power cord attached; this is a component you must buy separately and connect yourself. Unlike the installation of the circuit, connecting the power cord is relatively easy work, so most DIYers can do it themselves.
  4. After the code change, appliances were sold with the case ground separated from the neutral.
    This configuration calls for a 4-conductor power cord with a separate ground wire that connects to the ground screw on the appliance. The old system worked just fine, but the new system is safer. The 4-conductor rule applies only when you are installing a new receptacle, as in new construction or during major kitchen remodeling. The NEC still allows the use of existing 3-slot receptacles that work with the old-style 3-prong cords. If you are simply replacing a range and have a 3-slot range receptacle already present, you are allowed to install a 3-prong plug.
  5. Many ranges are sold with a metal bonding strip or wire for exactly that purpose.
    Consult the owner’s manual or the range manufacturer for instructions. 2-gang device box. 4-slot 120/240-volt range receptacle. These instructions assume that the range's power cord is already attached and that the circuit wiring and new 240-volt circuit breaker have already been installed. Make sure that the circuit wiring is shut off at the breaker box before connecting the receptacle. When installed by a professional, the circuit breaker is often left unconnected until after the receptacle wiring is completed. The location of the receptacle is usually determined by the appliance. Receptacles for freestanding ranges are accessible through an opening in the back of the range. When it’s time to plug in the range, you will completely remove the drawer below the oven, then reach through the cavity from the front to get to the receptacle.
  6. Strip about 3/4 inch of insulation from each individual insulated conductor in the cable.
    Insert the bare copper grounding wire from the cable into the grounding screw terminal on the receptacle (usually at the top of the receptacle), and tighten the setscrew firmly. Insert the white neutral wire into the neutral screw terminal (usually at the bottom of the receptacle) and tighten the setscrew.
  7. Tuck the wires into the box and mount the receptacle onto the wall, then install the faceplate, securing it with the mounting screws.
    Have the circuit breaker connected, turn it on, then plug in the range and test for operation. When you visit this site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Cookies collect information about your preferences and your device and are used to make the site work as you expect it to, to understand how you interact with the site, and to show advertisements that are targeted to your interests.
  8. In the United States, the standard household electrical supply is 120V and 240V at a frequency of 60 Hertz.
    Strip about 1.5 cm (5/8") of the insulation away from the end of both the black and white wires. If you have wire strippers, simply clamp the insulated wire in the slot that matches the size of your wire, turn the strippers half a turn to score the insulation, and pull the wire through.[6] This will remove the insulation without damaging the copper conductor inside it.[7]
    • If you’re considering upgrading circuits for your home or garage workshop, the important question is probably 120V vs 240V, and what is the best amps for these outlets. People who have travelled internationally are often curious why the power supply in the US is not the same as Britain, Europe, and most other regions. Japan has the most complicated setup, with two frequencies used. This article is going to provide a complete understanding of electricity.
  9. Having spent most of my life dealing with electricity supply, I’m fascinated by all the complexities involved in optimizing current and the importance of maintaining steady voltage and frequency (voltage vs frequency).
    This guide to understanding electricity is aimed primarily at helping people understand the power in their home and shops. I will, however, provide many other details and interesting facts. If you live in the US and want to gain a basic understanding of your electrical panel, outlets, and the best way to go about using 120V and 240V, this is where I’ll start.
  10. Electrical outlets in North America (and some regions in South America) use the North American Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard.
    There are many types of 120V, 240V, and 120V/240V outlets used in the US. I’m going to talk about the most commonly used receptacles and how they work. Modern electrical regulations require that outlets be grounded. So I won’t be dealing with the 2-prong variants (NEMA 1 & 2) used in older electrical installations.
  11. NEMA 120V – 240V Receptacles.
    All NEMA electrical receptacles have the letter “R” at the end. Yup, you’ve guessed it, this stands for receptacle. Locking outlets, keep the plug locked in position so it remains connected if the cord is pulled. These sockets have the letter “L” at the beginning. The first number in the sequence indicates the type of outlet.
  12. The second number is the rated amperage.
    NEMA 5 is the most common household electrical outlet. These are used to supply 120V (15 – 30A) with a ground prong in the center – either at the top or bottom of the socket, depending on how it is installed.
  13. The two vertical prongs supply hot and neutral.
    NEMA 6 designates 208 and 240V outlets (15 – 50A). It looks similar to the NEMA 5 setup, but the prongs are not the same size. These have two hot connectors and ground. They have come to replace the NEMA 10 outlets used in older installations. NEMA 7 is not used for domestic power and is rated for 277V. NEMA 8 – 13 with the exception of NEMA 10, all these outlets are used for 3-phase circuits, using various configurations and voltages. NEMA 14 outlets have four prongs, for hot 1, hot 2, neutral, and ground. These receptacles supply both 120V and 240V from 15A to 30A. TT-30R will be recognized by RV owners.
  14. The letter X and Y represent the hot connectors, W is neutral, and G is ground.
    How to connect a receptacle. Every outlet has lugs behind the corresponding prong with a screw that secures the wire. You push the correct wire into the lug and fasten the screw. What gauge wire should you use? The conductor, usually copper wire, used for an electric circuit has to be rated for the maximum current that the circuit can supply. This is determined by the circuit breaker amperage. Electric current is all about the relationship between the voltage and power requirement. Let’s see how all the pieces of this puzzle fit together. Power, measured in watts (W) is the amount of energy that an appliance consumes.
  15. It is also called electric pressure and is similar to the water pressure in a pipe.
    Think of it as the amount of electric force available. Current, measured in Amperes (A), commonly called amps, tells us how much electric current is flowing through a conductor. Kind of like the water flow rate through a pipe. Power = Volts X Amps.
  16. 1000W = 120V X 8.3A OR 1000W = 240V X 4.17A.
    If we supply double the voltage, for the same watts, we will be drawing half the amperage.
  17. As the amps increase, the wire needs to be thicker in order to handle the increased current.
    In the same way a thicker water pipe will increase the flow rate. The US unit for determining wire thickness is the American Wire Gauge (AWG).
  18. This uses a numeric scale to indicate the thickness of a conductor.
    The thicker the wire, the lower the AWG rating. Amp ratings for AWG wire thickness: . Wire Gauge INCHES AMPS. Your utility company supplies electricity to your home using a 2-pole transformer. Each pole supplies 120V. This is a split-phase setup, meaning that it is a single-phase transformer, split to connect 2 X 120V wires.
  19. There will also be ground and neutral connections which serve as a return current.
    The ground and neutral wires are connected to the same point of the transformer. When the current flows through both hot wires, and not the neutral, both poles of the transformer supply power, giving us 240V. If only one hot wire is used, connected back through the neutral wire, we get 120V.
  20. These circuits are protected by circuit breakers which will trip if the circuit is overloaded or a short circuit occurs.
    I’ll explain this better as we go. The power enters the electric panel at the top, through the main circuit breaker. This will be a large switch rated for the total amps that can be supplied throughout the home. The two hot wires from the transformer are connected through this switch. Two copper bars run through the center of the panel. These are the two main hot connections that are connected to the main breaker and supply all auxiliary breakers. The main neutral is connected to a bar and all the neutral wires in the home are connected to this bar. The ground connections are basically the same as the neutral, they are all common to a single bar. A second, thicker wire, connects the ground bar to a ground spike outside the home. The ground spike uses the low conductivity of the earth to eliminate electrical interference. Ground Fault Interrupter. If the breaker box is fitted with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), this will detect a difference in the current flow between the earth (ground) and neutral, breaking the circuit when this occurs.
  21. Either way, it serves the same purpose.
    This is to detect when current flows directly to the ground. When you touch the hot and neutral wires, the current flows through your body into the ground. This is what happens when someone is electrocuted. The GFCI stops the current immediately to protect you from this. The GFCI can be reset once the danger is eliminated.
  22. Circuit Breakers.
    Circuit breakers and fuses are used to prevent an electrical fire. The breaker will trip when an overload or short circuit occurs. Once the situation has been rectified, the breaker can be reset by switching it back to the on position.
  23. When a conductor carries more current than it can handle, excessive heat is produced.
    A 14-gauge wire can only handle a maximum of 15A. So a circuit using #14 wire will be connected to a 15A circuit breaker (or fuse in older installations). If the current exceeds 15A, the breaker will trip by moving automatically to the off position. Lightning may cause a current surge which will trip the breaker. It can be switched back on afterward, once the amperage is normal.
  24. This is usually a result of broken insulation.
    A short circuit causes an electric arc which can burn through metal. This will also cause the breaker to trip and can be reset once the short circuit is corrected. There are usually two rows of circuit breakers connected to the two hot buzz bars in the electric panel. All are rated at the amperage for the wire connected to them.
  25. 240V, two pole breakers, will be connected to both hot bars.
    Many people have asked me why use 120V and 240V? In most other countries only a single voltage used. Is 240V better than 120V? Determining the ideal voltage for household electricity is based on efficiency vs electrical safety.
  26. A lower voltage is safer, as electrocution will not be as severe.
    However, a high voltage is more efficient. Your conductors need not be as thick, and voltage is loss is lower over long distances. The greatest problem with low voltage transmission is the loss that occurs as you move further from the point of distribution.
  27. So how did the voltage standards come about?
    When Thomas Edison perfected the incandescent light bulb, in 1878, the world would be forever changed. Before this time, early electric generators were used only for industrial installations and municipal street lighting. Edison’s invention brought electric power into the homes of Americans. Pretty soon, the rest of the world followed. It was the Edison light bulb that determined the initial voltage for domestic power distribution. He decided to use 110V to supply his light bulbs. It was efficient enough to produce a usable light, without being dangerously high. At this time, the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter had not been invented. So the risk of electrocution was of greater concern.
  28. Electric power grids were not as big as they are today, and consumption was relatively low.
    As new electric appliances became available and the grid expanded to rural areas, the problem of voltage loss became evident. High electricity consumption, over a greater area, caused the voltage to drop below 10% of the nominal voltage.
  29. By this, I mean if the standard is 110V, the actual voltage in the home could be anything from around 100V up to more than 120V.
    Electrical equipment can function normally within about 10% of the nominal voltage. The first electric utility to see the advantage of using increased voltage was the city of Berlin.
  30. In 1899, Berlin was the first city to introduce 220V AC electric supply.
  31. The rest of the world continued to use 110V, slowly increasing this to 120V to improve supply reliability.
    After World War II, Britain and European countries decided to change to 220V and 230V, respectively. This would improve efficiency and reduce the loss factor. At this time, homes in the region were not highly dependent on electrical appliances. The cost of replacing all the appliances to use a higher voltage was off-set by the savings in efficiency and lighter conductors.
  32. The US faced a different conundrum.
    American homes were full of appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines.
  33. The cost of replacing all these appliances in every American home was simply too great.
    Instead, US electric utilities decided to gradually introduce 2-pole transformers for domestic power supply.
  34. 120V would be used for low-watt equipment, like lighting and smaller appliances.
    High-watt equipment, used mostly for heating, would use the more efficient 240V supply. Electrical Outlet (NEC) is also known as Receptacle and more commonly a Socket Outlet (IEC). According to NEC, an outlet is the point(s) in an electrical wiring system where current can be taken and utilize by electrical appliances and equipment by plugging them in it.
  35. An outlet receptacle where one or more receptacle are installed or a supply contact device installed at the outlet to connect an electrical load through plugs and switches.
    Related Post: How to Wire Combo Switch and Outlet? Ordinary outlet or standard outlet has screws (terminals) on both sides. The brass screws should be connected to the line (hot, live or phase) wire while the silver screws should be connected to the Neutral wire. In other words, the hot wire from main breaker should be connected to the narrow blade terminal where the Neutral wire should be connected to the wide blade terminal. The ground wire is connected to the ground terminal (mostly green color screw). Keep in mind that the brass screws (for hot terminals) are electrically bounded to each other by a break way fin (tab) hence, connecting one brass screw to hot wire will feed the power to the second brass screw as well.
  36. In some case, you may remove the breakaway fin tab between the two brass screws (for hot wire) and split the outlet for other specific application (we will show in following wiring diagrams).
    Related Wiring: How to wire a GFCI Outlet? – GFCI Wiring Circuit Diagrams. In today wiring tutorials, we will be showing that how to wire and install an electrical outlet in different ways.
  37. In this simple wiring diagram, multiple outlets have been connected in parallel.
    Each outlet is independent of each others as they are wired to separate cables. Keep in mind that series connection of outlet is against the NEC code (also it doesn’t make sense as if one of the outlet wires cuts or one faulty outlet will make the whole circuit useless) except GFCI and AFCI receptacles.
  38. Advertisement

Which side of an outlet is black?

The following wiring diagrams show that multiple outlets are wired to a single pole (SPST switch, one-way or two way in US) switch. As shown in the fig, the switch is firstly installed in the wiring the hot wire from switch feeds all the other parallel connected outlets hence, the outlet ON/OFF operation can be controlled through the switch. In this wiring, a switch is added to to an existing outlet by removing the hot wire from outlet brass terminal and connected to the first terminal of switch. The second terminal of switch then connected back to the brass terminal of outlet. This way, the outlet is wired and controlled (ON/OFF) through the switch. In this wiring, a light switch has been added to the existing outlet. The hot terminal of outlet is connected to the first terminal of switch and the second terminal of switch is connected to the lighting point. Finally, the neutral wire from outlet is connected to the light bulb. Related Post: How to Wire GFCI Combo Switch and Outlet. In this wiring, the outlet operation has been split into two parts i.e. the upper outlet is controlled through the switch while the lower portion is always hot. To do this, simply remove the breakaway fin (tab) between the brass terminals (hot) as shown in fig. Connected the switch output (hot) to the upper brass terminal and the lower hot terminal should be connected to the switch input hot wire. In simple words, a common hot wire should be connected to the first terminal of switch and lower hot terminal of outlet. The second terminal of switch (as hot) should be connected to the upper hot terminal of outlet. Finally, connect the neutral and ground wire accordingly as shown in fig below. This way, the ON/OFF operation of upper portion (outlet) is controlled by the switch while the lower outlet is always hot and active. Related Post: How to Wire a GFCI Circuit Breaker? In this wiring, the outlet is connected to the load terminals of GFCI where the GFCI is connected to the load terminal of AFCI. The standard outlet is both AFCI and GFCI protected. You can use both AFCI/GFCI protection in single unit instead of two outlets for AFCI and GFCI protection. This wiring is also known as series wiring of outlets which is only acceptable in case of AFCI or GFCI. In this wiring, the first and 3rd outlet hot terminals are connected to the Line 2 (Blue) and the second and last outlets hot terminals are connected to the Line 1 (Red). The neutral is connected from the main breaker to all outlets neutral terminal. Ground wire is connected to the outlets as well as shown in the fig. This way, all the dual outlets are connected to the single line of 240V and can supply 120V to the appliances. Related Post: How to Wire an AFCI Outlet? In this special wiring, a dual outlet is connected to both 120V and 240V where the upper portion provides 120V and the lower outlet provides 240V supply voltage. The special receptacle outlet 5031-I, 5842-I are used in these kind of wiring. To do this, connect Line 1 and Line 2 to the lower hot terminals respectively. Connect the neutral and ground to the brass terminal and ground terminal respectively. Keep in mind that you can’t run more than 20A at once from single outlet due to switch rating (Power = Voltage x Current) .
3) Strip wires, about an inch.
This makes things like lamps and many appliances more safe to operate.
But here’s the catch: If you connect the circuit wires to the wrong terminals on an outlet, the outlet will still work but the polarity will be backward.

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What color is the hot wire on an outlet?

  • The white (neutral) wire should be connected to the silver-colored terminal. Typically, there is one power wire—the phase wire—and one neutral wire, with current flowing between the power wire (through the load) and the neutral wire.
    Three-phase power is a three-wire ac power circuit with each phase ac signal 120 electrical degrees apart.
  • Edison for a three-wire distribution and branch circuit electrical system consisting of a neutral conductor having a voltage of 120 between it and each of two “hot” conductors with a voltage between them of 240.
    The loads on each side of the neutral should be balanced to the extent possible.
  • In the home, you will usually use Romex wire that you can get at the hardware store. Generally you will get 14/2 which means the hot/neutral wire gauge is 14 awg and includes a bare ground.
    120V is the AC voltage on a single hot wire in your home with respect to neutral (or ground).
With resistance in the wiring in your house, this 120V will likely have dropped to 115V by the time it gets to the appliance you are powering.

How can you tell if a wire is live or neutral?

  • The black or red wire – the hot wire – connects to the brass or gold screw. This tells you that the gold screw is the hot terminal. Features of 120-Volt Outlet It is a standard electrical outlet.
    You can’t do without it at your home.
  • These are the oldest types of outlets being used since the 1950s. They are required for all the regular appliances at your home.
    One common issue with electrical outlets is reverse polarity, also known as “hot-neutral reversed.” In this condition, the outlet has been wired incorrectly, altering the flow of electricity.
  • While the outlet will still be able to provide power to your electrical items, it is also present a greater shock hazard.
    The black wire is the “hot” wire, it carries the electricity from the breaker panel into the switch or light source.
  • The white wire is the “neutral” wire, it takes any unused electricity and current and sends it back to the breaker panel. Most likely the neutral wire is white and the hot wire is red or black, but test to make sure. Identify the neutral wire in the fixture by looking at the wires. In most modern fixtures the neutral wire will be white and the hot wire is red or black.
    In some types of fixtures, both wires will be the same color.
  • It's common to describe household wall receptacles that are wired together using the device terminals as wired in series. But, in fact, all household receptacles are always wired in parallel, and never in series. In a series circuit, current must pass through a load at each device.
    The load itself conducts current down the line to the subsequent loads in the circuit.
A series circuit will drop (use) some voltage at each load until it dwindles to an insufficient level at some point down the line.

Can I tie the neutral and ground together?

  • If wall receptacle circuits operated like that, you wouldn't be able to plug an appliance in down stream from another appliance in the same circuit because the voltage wouldn't be sufficient to run it.
  • And if the appliance in the first receptacle shorted out or failed in some other way, it would interrupt the current to the other outlets in the circuit.
  • Household circuits don't operate like that, you have a consistent average of 120 volt at each receptacle, no matter how many loads you have on the circuit.
  • By contrast, switches and circuit breakers are wired in series.
  • Voltage passes through these devices in order to continue down the line.
  • If an interruption occurs in a switch, there will be no electricity beyond that point.
  • Wire strippers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • For long runs, electrical "fish-tape" may be required
  • Rubber soled shoes, ideally with a rubber floor mat.

Freestanding vs. Drop-In Ranges

Make a Simple Electrical Circuit
Identify Positive and Negative Wires
Solder Wires Together
Test a Fuse With a Multimeter
Gauge Wire
Determine Amperage of Circuit Breaker
Fish Wires Through Walls
Test an Outlet with a Multimeter
Install a Circuit Breaker
Add a Subpanel
Strip Wire
Change a Circuit Breaker
Wire a UK Plug

What wire do I use for 120v?

  1. ↑https://www.esfi.org/resource/do-it-yourself-diy-electrical-safety-216
  2. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/add-electrical-outlet/
  3. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/tips-for-easier-electrical-wiring/
  4. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/add-electrical-outlet/
  5. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/add-electrical-outlet/
  6. ↑Ricardo Mitchell. Electrician & Construction Professional, CN Coterie. Expert Interview. 6 May 2020.
  7. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-outlets/add-electrical-outlet/
  8. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/tips-for-easier-electrical-wiring/
  9. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/tips-for-easier-electrical-wiring/
  1. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/tips-for-easier-electrical-wiring/
  2. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-outlets/add-electrical-outlet/
  3. ↑https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring/tips-for-easier-electrical-wiring/
  4. ↑https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-add-an-outdoor-outlet/9ba683603be9fa5395fab905e702719
  5. ↑https://www.esfi.org/resource/do-it-yourself-diy-electrical-safety-216
  6. ↑https://www.esv.vic.gov.au/safety-education/electrical-safety-at-home/using-electricity-safely/
  7. ↑https://mrelectric.com/blog/electrical-wire-color-codes
  8. ↑https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5OHrf_l3b8
  9. ↑https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5OHrf_l3b8
  10. ↑https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5OHrf_l3b8

Which is hot and neutral on a 120v outlet?

Electrician & Construction Professional, CN Coterie
This article was co-authored by Ricardo Mitchell. Ricardo Mitchell is the CEO of CN Coterie, a fully licensed and insured Lead EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Certified construction company located in Manhattan, New York. CN Coterie specializes in full home renovation, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, cabinetry, furniture restoration, OATH/ECB (Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings/Environmental Control Board) violations removal, and DOB (Department of Buildings) violations removal. Ricardo has over 10 years of electrical and construction experience and his partners have over 30 years of relevant experience. This article has been viewed 513,857 times.
1 votes - 100%
Updated: September 30, 2021
Categories: Electrical Wiring and Safety Switches
In other languages
Español:instalar un circuito eléctrico simple de 120 V
Italiano:Installare un Circuito Elettrico Semplice di 120v
Русский:провести 120–вольтную электрическую проводку
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Does it matter which wire goes where on an outlet?