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why are we using 110volts in america but 220volts in europe?

why are we not using same voltage all over the world?

is there any advantage in using lower voltages?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It has to do with losses in the lines

    America is a lot 'spacier' then Europe.

    while in Europe one transformer operates a complete block in a city transforming from 15 or 20 kVolt down to 230 Volts this lower voltage does not have to travel that much of a distance to each household.

    In the US the next higher voltage happens to be on a nearby pole in a transformer capable to run just a few houses.

    The distance between these smaller transformers and the next larger transformer causes severe losses cause of the larger distances in relation to europe, so companies are operating THAT part of the net with higher voltages.

    (i heard its something like 1.5kV ?)

    the result is, that those smaller 'pole-transformers' do not really rock.. 110 Volts in a household need people to have thicker cable for the same wattage a household with 230V would need.

    for having less expensive devices and installation in a household it would be better to have higher voltage.

    For being safer with 110 Volt i couldn't vote since 110 Volts can be as deadly as 230 Volts, cause its actually the current which kills. And devices in Europe called to be safe for direct contact with electrified parts mean less or equal 42 Volts.

    In a bathroom environment in direct contact with water no more than 12 Volts (pool illumination).

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  • 1 decade ago

    Lower voltage gives a person less electic shock when accidentally touched a 'live' wire. So 110v is safer. To answer 'why', I presumed in old days, the Americans valued life more than the Europeans.

    Using same voltage all over the world is nice, but not easy to change because the people already have lightings, appliances, equipment made to those respective voltages.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Normally, in Europe, distribution lines (the 110 or 220) are longer. The same amount of power (watts) transmitted at 110 requires twice as much current. More curreent means more resistive loss in the lines. So, they use the higher voltage to reduce line loss.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Power in Watts is amperage multiplied by voltage. Therefore, lower voltage with the same amps equals less power used. If the US was to decide to change to 220, not only would your electric bill double, you would have to replace every electrical item in your home or get converters for every outlet. Not financially realistic.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Not sure what the Europeans were thinking, but their electricity also travels at 50Hz where ours is 60Hz. Maybe something in their generation process.

    As far as the theory that 110V is better than 220V, that is ridiculous. Most electricians will tell you that you are more likely to suffer more damage with 110V than with 220V. 110V tense all the muscles in your body so the natural reaction is to continue to hold on to the conductor. 220V provides enough of a kick that it will provide a jolt and push the person away.

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