Most US households are equipped with a 110-volt outlet. In many cases, this type of voltage is more than enough as it helps you power all the standard pieces of equipment like a TV set, a personal computer, small appliances, etc.
However, most people that own newer types of homes also have 220-volt outlets as well. You might recognize them as being bigger compared to standard outlets and by having three or four prong-holes.
These types of outlets are needed for high-power appliances such as dryers and ovens. Additionally, they come in handy when powering some heavy-duty pieces of equipment.
In fact, if you want to do some welding, some serious welding, a 220V outlet is a must. If you don’t have one, which is usually the case with older houses, there are ways for you to install one.
220V Outlets for Welding
Powerful welding machines require more energy to function properly, hence the 220-voltage output.
There are welders that use a standard 110V plug but are significantly less powerful. Therefore, for those of you that want to do some proper welding or work on thicker pieces of metal, a more powerful machine is needed.
Mind you, dual voltage welders do exist and they come with two types of plugs. But if you want to do proper work, it would be best to look into some 220V MIG welders currently available on the market.
If you do plan to do some welding work from your garage and want to up your welding game, you should consider installing a 220-voltage outlet if you don’t have one.
Adding a 220-Volt Outlet
Modern homes are hooked to the electricity grid and take in 220 volts from the utility company.
This is then split into two 110-volt lines. Those lines power your conventional outlets spread around your house. Homes built in recent years already have 220-volt circuits. However, older homes are built to accommodate 110-volt circuits only. But hoses can be converted and upgraded to support 220V circuits.
Upgrading does come in handy if you need to power some modern appliances that require more energy or, in this case, heavy-duty welding machines.
You will need to contact the electric company to run new lines into your home.
The circuit box will most likely need to be replaced as well as some internal wiring. This is more than likely going to be the case with outdated technology. If your home already possesses 220V capacity, you may want to add more circuits at a higher capacity, which is a lot easier and cheaper.
Making these types of changes by yourself is possible if you are knowledgeable. However, if you are not good with electricity, it is better and much safer to call an expert. By hiring a professional electrician, everything will be done much faster and in a secure manner.
Mind you, upgrading your circuits to 220 volts is not going to be easy nor cheap. But if you plan to do a lot of welding work and want to run your own welding garage, the whole ordeal will be worth it.
What are My Alternatives?
Of course, there are cases where upgrading your circuits is not possible.
The process may also prove to be too expensive to handle. Have no fear, there are ways to avoid it. The best answer is using a generator.
Today’s, modern generators are built to handle various types of power. They are also portable and can help you with outfield work. A professional welder may need to work in the field without a source of electricity in sight. So a good generator is a handy tool to have.
In this case, it can also work as a substitute for a 220-volt outlet. The power of a generator is measured in watts. Watts equals amperage times voltage. So if you have a generator rated at 4,800 watts, it will be able to generate 40 amps at 120V.
Picking a generator shouldn’t be too hard.
There are cheaper options, but if you plan to work longer hours getting a quality one is a good idea. The most important things to consider include the type of work you will be doing, the thickness of the metal that you plan to weld, and the power that your welder needs for proper work.