How to Convert a 220 Volt Water Heater to 120 Volt

Hot water heaters are large storage tanks responsible for creating hot water in your home. There are two types of water tanks - those powered by natural gas and those powered by electricity. Electric water tanks are typically 220-volt, which means they require a 220-volt electrical outlet to run. If there is only a 120-volt electrical outlet present where the tank is installed, a step-down transformer will be required to convert the larger-voltage heater so that it can be powered by a 120-volt outlet.

Step 1

Connect the water tank's plug or wiring to the proper receptacle jacks on the back side of the step-down transformer.  Use a screwdriver to loosen and tighten the wire contacts if a standard plug is not used for connection.

Step down transformers all vary slightly, so be sure to read the user manual of your step down transformer. 

Step 2

Connect the power cord from the step down transformer to the wall electrical socket. 

Step 3

Turn the power switch of the step down transformer to the on position and then power up the hot water heater. 

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Step down transformer

About the Author

Andrea Walk began writing in 2001, authoring user guides for technical software. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Loyola University, where she was a member of the Dean's Grade Review Committee for English. Walk is a member of the Automotive X-Prize team Global-E.