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Old 05-07-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


I just bought a condo which has three through the wall air conditioners.

They're old, probably 10-15 years old. I wanted to buy new energy efficient air conditioners, but when I unplugged the old ones I noticed they used what I think are 240 volt outlets. The outlet looks like the kind of outlet you plug an electric stove or dryer into.

I can't find many places that sell 240 volt A/Cs. Anyone know where to get them? Or should I get the outlets changed to regular 120 volt? I'd want to go the most cost effective route.

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Old 05-07-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


How many BTU's are the old AC's?
Room/area that they are covering?
I know when I looked 18,000 BTU AC's & up were 240v

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Old 05-07-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


Two of the air conditioners are in my two bedrooms. The third unit is located in the living room and can also provide heat.

I'm think the bedroom a/c are 7,000-10,000 BTU at most and the living room maybe 18,000 or more??? I'm guessing as the labels and name have long since faded or been peeled off the units.

I'm considering hanging on to the air conditioner in the living room and just replacing the bedrooms ones. It's not summer yet, but I have a feeling these older units will be a huge energy drain and will drive up my electricity bill.

Last edited by sxn77; 05-07-2009 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #4
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


You need to size the AC's for the room size
So measure the room sizes & look at this chart
In hotter areas go one size larger
Cathedral ceilings, poor insulation etc

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...properly_sized
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


There is no way a 7k-10k BTU A/C will be a 240v circuit, especially a 30A like you describe, unless it also has electric heat like the LR unit.

A 7-10k BTU will be able to be plugged right into an existing general receptacle circuit.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:56 PM   #6
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


Thanks for the info guys.

According to the chart in the link below I think I need 6,000-8,000 BTU for the bedrooms. It's also why I presumed the existing units had this many BTU as they are smaller and look like regular window A/Cs. But, based on what Petey said and the type of plug on both units I guess it is way more BTU.

One bedroom is around 10x11 and the other 12x12. No cathederal ceiling, so I would think 240 volt and greater than 10,000 BTU is overkill. I can understand the a/c in the living room being 240 as it is a much larger area and includes the ability to heat.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


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Or should I get the outlets changed to regular 120 volt?
If a plug pulls out of a socket with no drag replace the socket.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #8
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


I think for much above 12,000 BTU, 120V/15A starts to become inadequate, so 240V circuits are used. But for the bedroom units, yeah, change them if you find the right sized unit for your walls that only use 120V. Pick the right AC first; worry about the electrical second.

The conversion from 240 to 120 volts should be pretty straightforward. The electrician (<--it's a condo, so the association and all your neighbors in the building will want a licensed contractor to do the work) will replace the 2-pole breaker for each circuit with a single-pole, and move the white conductor from the breaker to the neutral bar, leaving the outlet with 120V instead of 240V. (And then the outlet will be replaced with a 15/20A single receptacle.)
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


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The conversion from 240 to 120 volts should be pretty straightforward. The electrician (<--it's a condo, so the association and all your neighbors in the building will want a licensed contractor to do the work) will replace the 2-pole breaker for each circuit with a single-pole, and move the white conductor from the breaker to the neutral bar, leaving the outlet with 120V instead of 240V. (And then the outlet will be replaced with a 15/20A single receptacle.)
Awesome, thanks for the advice. You're right the HOA does require a licensed and insured electrician for any electrical work. In fact we had someone come out and give me quote on the work it would take to change the 240 outlets to 120. What do you think would be the ballpark cost for doing the work you mentioned above?

The electrician mentioned he'd have to change out the whole circuit board and rewire everything as there is no more space on the board, all the work would cost $3K-5K probably more. Does that make sense? or is he trying to take me for a ride.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


$3-5k ????

I had new 200a feed run to the house for less then that & a new panel
If there are 240v double pole breakers then you should not be out of space. Of course that depends upon the panel

What model main breaker panel do you have?
It is breakers.....not fuses?

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Old 05-07-2009, 08:51 PM   #11
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


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Awesome, thanks for the advice. You're right the HOA does require a licensed and insured electrician for any electrical work. In fact we had someone come out and give me quote on the work it would take to change the 240 outlets to 120. What do you think would be the ballpark cost for doing the work you mentioned above?

The electrician mentioned he'd have to change out the whole circuit board and rewire everything as there is no more space on the board, all the work would cost $3K-5K probably more. Does that make sense? or is he trying to take me for a ride.
To change from 240volt to 120 volt should free up space in the panel, not need more space.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:46 AM   #12
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


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To change from 240volt to 120 volt should free up space in the panel, not need more space.
Exactly. And he should be able to use the same wires, I would think. Call someone else.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:57 AM   #13
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


I"am seeing alot of this gouging if you will as times are getting harder. I recently bid a job and was half the price of a compeditor and did not get the job. Why, Ho knows, But I would have still have made 900 off that job in one day. I just don't get it.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:17 AM   #14
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


These are breakers not fuses. The previous owner had someone replace the entire circuit board last year.

The electrician I spoke to, told me to replace the 240 outlets said there is no more room left on the board so it needs to be replaced and everything rewired. I'll take a picture of the board and post it here.

Looks like I just need to find a better referral.

Last edited by sxn77; 05-08-2009 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:50 AM   #15
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Should I replace a 240 volt outlet when getting a new AC


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Originally Posted by sxn77 View Post
These are breakers not fuses. The previous owner had someone replace the entire circuit board last year.

The electrician I spoke to, to replace the 240 outlets said there is no more room left on the board so it needs to be replaced and everything rewired. I'll take a pticute or the board and post it here.

Looks like I just need to find a better referral.
If all three of the window units have dedicated 240 V circuits, that equates to six spaces in the panel. When changing to 120 V circuits, you would end up with three EMPTY spaces. There is no reason to use this guy. He is trying to rip you by selling you lies. This is the worst kind of contractor.

If you are moderately handy with tools, and can follow direction, this is a job you could do yourself.

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