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I think you are referring to 3 wire service. There is also 3 phase service, wich is usually found in manufacturing settings where higher voltage or amperage is needed. But if its 3 wire service you wonder about, that is simply the 3 wires that come into most homes in the US. Two are 120 volts each, the third is a neutral wire. Each of the hot wires is connected via a main switch to the branch circuit panel, where all your circuit breakers are located. Generally the panels are arranged so half the breakers work off one wire, the other half work off the second 120 volt wire. In the case of an Electric clothes dryer, oven, water pump or HVAC system, it would draw power from both of the hot wires, thus, it would be a 220 volt appliance. Older homes primarly in the Northeast section of the US sometimes are still found with 2 wire service. That means they could not have any 220 volt appliances- which nobody had anyway back in the 1930's when most of the 2 wire installations came to a close.

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โˆ™ 2006-04-01 05:06:38
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