a.c voltage house hold power

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 2, 2009
hi. im kinda new to this but would somebody fill me in on the
neutral wire function when the 2 hot wires are wired in series
to make 240 volts is any current running thru it and do you have
to have the neutral in the 240 volt circuit.it appears to me the current is
flowing in just the hot wires.im i right if not what am i not seeing.

thanks michael


Joined Aug 7, 2008
You are mostly correct, but two hot wires are not strictly in series,;there is a center tapped transformer between them. Each leg is 120, ct is neutral side to side is 240. Each hot leg to be protected ,ie. ganged circuit breaker for 240. A dedicated 240 appliance does not need a neutral, but the white wire may be used as one leg if it is marked on each end with black or red tape. Green is for frame ground. Mostly correct inf, but remember that I'm stuck in the 1970s.


Joined Feb 4, 2008
If the appliance needs only 240V then the neutral wire is not needed.

Current through the neutral occurs when you connect 120V appliances.

However, always remember to use the ground wire for safety.