I have seen european outlets in industrial equipment made in europe but installed in the united states (often with a 480/240v step down transformer), and I have come across a couple people who want specific european appliances (hair drier, pasta press) and I was wondering what problems would arise if I were to try to install an european wall outlet. I intend to ignore the frequency issue for this question (and availability is a real challenge).

I figured I would need a matching box as the box size would be different. I have a slug buster, would it be needed? I don't expect wire size to be an issue. How much of an issue of it not being UL listed (as europe has different standards) as long as it met european safety standards. Are there other issues I would need to be aware of?

  • Do you have specific equipment in mind that you're looking to hookup? Sometimes things are unexpectedly sensitive to the frequency expected. That could unexpectedly void a warranty, or make products behave unexpectedly. Mar 3 '16 at 15:20

The National Electrical Code used here in the US requires that equipment be listed, marked, or approved for the use. The requirement varies with the particular part of the electrical installation. Receptacles should be listed. However, that doesn't mean they have to be UL listed. The Canadians have the CSA, the Europeans have the CE, and I am sure in Asia they have something else that I can't remember. See here.

So, the issue with an inspector could be that the receptacle(s) you install is non-standard and they would probably disallow it for satisfying any requirements of the code. At least that is what I would do. But if you want to add non-standard receptacles in a house, there is nothing in the code to prevent it. For instance, if I wanted to wire my house with DC receptacles in places where I want to use DC equipment directly from a DC system. Or I want a 240 volt receptacle next to a window for a large plug-in AC unit.

One of the things the code requires is equipment with different voltages must have receptacles that are different enough so they are not interchangeable. So 120 volt equipment cannot possibly be plugged in to a 240 volt outlet.

So, it appears that you could satisfy the code requirements by adding an extra receptacle (not by replacing an existing one) with a euro-style plug. Also you need to make sure their equipment is rated for 240 volts or you will need a transformer to step it down to 230 or 220. Then you wire it like you would the aforementioned 240 volt receptacle. (Standard NM cable in the US contains wire rated for 600 volts so the voltage rating of the wire is not a problem.)

Good luck!


(should be a comment but is too long)

I think the most significant problem arising from the installation of foreign standard outlets is that subsequent occupants are going to want them removed.

The overall best method for using a foreign electrical product, given that the voltage difference can be accommodated, is to convert the power cord. For foreign visitors who won't want to re-convert when they return home, a plug adapter should be used.

The adapter should be solidly fastened to the power plug so the user doesn't have to keep track of it. I would use tape, such as duct tape, and cover the tape wrap with a large size shrink tube.

If the appliance will never be taken out of the country again, a new plug should be fitted to the power cord. Label the plug and cord to indicate that it was modified.

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