 When you read the label on a piece of home equipment, such as a desk lamp, microwave oven, or space heater, you’ll often see the voltage requirement printed somewhere on it. Depending on what type of wiring is installed in your home or apartment, you might be able to use that piece of equipment with only 120 volts of electrical power or you might need another voltage level for it to work properly. In this article, we will explain what 208 volts is and why some appliances require it to function. Keep reading to learn more.

## What is 208 Volts?

When you have 208 volts of electricity available to you, you have a three-phase power system. A voltage refers to the amount of electrical energy flowing through a circuit. A 208-volt circuit delivers 208 units of electrical energy per hour. The voltage level determines the amount of power that flows through the wires and into the circuit. If you have 208 volts of electricity, you can switch on a larger appliance that needs a high amount of power.

## How Does a Device Requiring 208 Volts Work?

A 208-volt circuit is a three-phase circuit. A circuit is a continuous path that electrons in an electrical current follow. A circuit also refers to the equipment that is connected to deliver power to a device. A power plant creates electrical current by spinning turbines to create a magnetic field. The spinning turbines also create a current of electrons. A power plant sends that current through wires to the homes and businesses in their service area. The voltage drop in those wires determines the amount of electricity available at the circuit breakers in your home. Volts (V) tell you about the pressure behind the electrons. Amps (A) tell you about the number of electrons flowing in the circuit. Watts (W) tell you about the amount of energy used. If your circuit breakers trip when you try to use a device that requires 208 volts, you can install a 208-volt circuit to solve the problem. A 208-volt circuit includes a 208-volt service panel and a 208-volt circuit breaker. You also need a 208-volt plug to plug the appliance into the new circuit. If you have 208 volts in your home and you don’t use a 208-volt circuit, you can’t plug in an appliance that requires 208 volts.

## Why Do Some Appliances Require 208 Volts to Function?

Electrical appliances work by passing a current through wires inside the appliance. The current heats up the wires and produces heat that warms up food in a microwave, heats water in an electric kettle, or heats the air inside an electric space heater. The amount of current an appliance draws determines how much electricity it uses and how much it costs you to use it. Some appliances require 208 volts to function correctly. The high amount of current flowing through the wires in the appliance generates a high amount of heat. The heat causes the wires to get even hotter. The amount of current and the amount of heat inside an appliance determine how much electricity it uses. A device that requires 208 volts uses more electricity than a device that only requires 120 volts. For example, a microwave that only requires 120 volts uses only 700 watts of electricity. A microwave that requires 208 volts uses 2400 watts. Because a device that requires 208 volts uses more electricity than a device that only requires 120 volts, it costs more to operate.

## What Can You Use When You Have a 208 Voltage Outlet?

If you have 208 volts at a single outlet in your home and a device that requires only 120 volts is plugged into that outlet, you need to change the outlet to 120 volts. You also need to install a device called a transformer to lower the voltage to 120 volts at the outlet where the device is plugged in. You can also change the circuit to a 120-volt circuit with a 120-volt breaker and a 60-amp breaker. If you have 208 volts at two outlets in your home, you can raise the voltage at one of the outlets to 120 volts. You can raise the voltage at one of the outlets using a transformer. Or, you can install a transformer at each outlet and raise the voltage at both outlets to 120 volts. You can also install a new circuit with a circuit breaker that provides 120 volts.

## Conclusion

When you have 208 volts in your home, you can install equipment that requires 208 volts. You can also install equipment that requires 120 volts with 208 volts by using a transformer. Some appliances require 208 volts to operate correctly. The high amount of current flowing through the wires generates a high amount of heat. That high amount of heat causes the wires to get even hotter. The amount of current and the amount of heat determine how much electricity the appliance uses. An appliance that requires 208 volts uses more electricity than an appliance that only requires 120 volts. For example, a microwave that only requires 120 volts uses 700 watts of electricity. A microwave that requires 208 volts uses 2400 watts. A device that requires 208 volts uses more electricity than a device that only requires 120 volts. To use a device that requires 208 volts, you need to change the outlet to 120 volts and install a transformer or a circuit that provides 120 volts.