US Residential Electric Power
Electric Power Grid
220volt 60HZ Single Phase is a term you may have heard before and it is the standard power available to all homes in every country in North and South America via the great electric power grid that connects all the utility power lines between them.
Single phase means that you have two wires coming into your home from the pole which supply alternating current at 60 cycles per second with 220 volts of electric potential between them. Inside your home a breaker box or fuse box is used to distribute the power throughout your home circuits.
At the Breaker box each of the two "HOT" 220 volt wires is 110 volts above ground. That means if you take a volt meter and measure between the two hot wires, you will read 220 volt AC and if you measure between either "HOT" (BLACK) wire and the common (WHITE WIRE) or earth ground you will read 110 volts, which is used throughout your home for small plug in appliances and lighting.
These 110 volt outlet circuits are limited to about 15 AMPS of current because the copper wire size needed to carry more than that becomes too large and costly. If you double the voltage (220 volts) you can get the same POWER (Kilowatts) with HALF THE AMPS. So in order to supply larger motors and appliances like electric dryers and water heaters BOTH HOT WIRES from the power company are used 220 volts single phase.