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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    13

    Default Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    I live in an apt (in an 8 story bldg) that has baseboard heating. It also has a through the wall HVAC unit in the living/dining/kitchen area and another one in the bedroom. The HVAC units have dedicated 3 pronged 240v outlets, with one of the flat prongs at a different angle than the other flat prong.
    Heat (for the baseboard heat only) is included in my rent. But, the baseboard heat isn't doing a good enough job for me. If I use the HVAC unit, I have to pay for any extra electrical use, plus it doesn't heat up the area that much. The HVAC units' purpose is for air conditioning in the summer, not for heat in the winter, according to the unit owner (I live in a building of 90% condo owned units, about 10% are rentals).

    I plugged in a 4-yr old Holmes small space heater to try to keep warm. Whenever the space heater would go on, my living/kitchen/dining area lights would dim for a few seconds and then go back to normal. The space heater doesn't have a fan--it's radiates heat only in one direction. Based upon the space heaters I've seen in the stores, mine is about 1300-1500 watts.

    I stopped using the space heater, afraid I'd blow a fuse.

    I want to purchase one of those oil-filled or water-filled radiant electric heaters. But they are 1300-1500 watts.

    Would using one of those have the same effect on my lights?

    Are 240v to 120v adapters/transformers sold in which I could unplug the HVAC unit and use an adapter of some sort that would allow me to plug in the new electric radiator into the HVAC's outlet? I'd thought this would be a good idea, if possible, because I read that the HVAC unit is pulling about 2500 watts when it's running heat. Since the electric radiator would pull about 1500 watts, my electric bill would be lower if I could use that.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,621

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    To answer your question, yes. They are called step down transformers. you would want to go with the 2000 watt unit, usually about $60.
    Here's a link to one site Step Down Transformer , be aware that it may require changing the plug on the transformer.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    To answer your question, yes. They are called step down transformers. you would want to go with the 2000 watt unit, usually about $60.
    Here's a link to one site Step Down Transformer , be aware that it may require changing the plug on the transformer.
    Jack
    Thanks for the reply! That's a little steep for my pocketbook, though. I'm not sure if I'd end up paying more than $60 for the winter season if I just ran the lukewarm HVAC heater.

    $60 for the transformer plus about $40 for an electric radiant heater may be more than the total additional electric cost to just run the HVAC unit on its own, although it wouldn't provide adequate heat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,418

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    You don't need a step down transformer. All residential service is 240 volts on three wires. When connected to the black and red wires, you get 240 volts. When connecting either the black or the red to the white, you get 120 volts.

    The problem is that the outlet probably doesn't have the white wire in it. There is probably only the ground (green or bare) wire in it. If you took two of those heaters and wired them in series to a 240 volt plug, you would get plenty of heat and you should not dim your lights. The resistance would be twice as high as one unit so it would only draw half the current. It would match what the heaters are designed for.

    While this may sound to some as questionable, its far safer that hooking a 120 volt heater into a 240 volt circuit. Thats asking for a fire. You need someone who knows something about electrical wiring to do this for you, but a licensed electrician probably will decline to do it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,621

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    Here's another thought you could buy a 220v electric baseboard heater rather than an oil filled radiator. 1500 watt would cost you about the same.
    http://www.houseneeds.com/shop/Heati...uypage.asp#buy
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as an adapter for 240v to 120v?

    To DwarfWytch:
    Thanks so much for your reply. I consulted with maintenance already and the heat control unit for the hydronic (water) baseboard heating is a round knob that was installed in July of this year. It's not a thermostat--I've been told the system isn't capable of doing that. It's just a round knob with the numbers 1-5 on it. I turn it up all the way as far as it will go in the morning and then down at night. The baseboards in living and bedroom areas were checked about 2 weeks ago. The bedroom baseboard had no fins and was replaced. The baseboard in the living/kitchen/dining area just isn't large enough to properly heat the area, I've been told. The owner of the unit will not replace or add onto it.

    I'll also check our your recall notices. Thanks so much.

    I was using a standard extension cord with the Holmes space heater, which was something you mentioned. I found out during a trip to a big box hardware store that I should've been using a 14-gauge extension cord, I think---at least that's what the warnings on the boxes for other spaces heaters at that store had on them. So maybe if I purchase a 14-gauge extension cord, the lights won't dim anymore, do you think? The cords is just too short.

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