# Touching 120V wires

##### Senior Member
If he really said "touching 110V," it tells me he doesn't know what he's talking about. There's no such thing as 110V anymore.....it's all 120V. Ditto for 115V.
well, as old as I am, gonna call it 110, 120 or 115 at various times and not worry about it... same wiring, same appliances, no problems runnning everything as long as it is over 100 and under 150... lol... same with 208 to 245 for 240... just worry about 240 from split phase against 240 from single EU phase... still trying to learn if they are the same or different because even the big companies cannot tell me..lol... they all say different but electricians say it is all 240..lol..

#### LarryFine

##### Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
well, as old as I am, gonna call it 110, 120 or 115 at various times and not worry about it...
Over the years, I've seen 110, 112, 113, 115, 117, 118, and 120.

... just worry about 240 from split phase against 240 from single EU phase... still trying to learn if they are the same or different because even the big companies cannot tell me..lol... they all say different but electricians say it is all 240..lol..
We've debated it ad nauseu; ​they're the same.

#### drcampbell

##### Senior Member
just worry about 240 from split phase against 240 from single EU phase... still trying to learn if they are the same or different ...
I would think you would need to be seriously disoriented to not know whether you were working in Europe or North America, and I would think the results of accidentally touching a hot wire would be quite different if it were (nominally) 120 volts to ground vs. (nominally) 230 volts to earth.

If it were poorly-labeled and/or inconsistently color-coded, (not that that ever happens!) you might stumble onto a high-leg panel that looks just like a split-phase panel. Even if it was reasonable to test a 120-volt circuit by touch, you might be touching a 208-volt-to-ground circuit. That would be at least ∛x more of a tickle than you were expecting; maybe 3x the tickle because both the voltage & current are ∛ greater; maybe even a lot more than 3x if you exceed a dielectric threshold and get an avalanche.

And that's not even considering miswired/misused panels or oddballs. I can imagine a 240-volt loadcenter used on 480 for expedience or economy.
I've seen a few 60-0-60 panels in audio studios and instrument labs to minimize hum. 120-volt loads supplied by two-pole breakers.

Over the years, I've seen 110, 112, 113, 115, 117, 118, and 120. ...
"Over the years"? During air-conditioning season, I've seen that much variation in a day.

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#### LarryFine

##### Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
"Over the years"? During air-conditioning season, I've seen that much variation in a day.
I'm talking about voltage ratings on equipment labels.

#### kwired

##### Electron manager
I would think you would need to be seriously disoriented to not know whether you were working in Europe or North America, and I would think the results of accidentally touching a hot wire would be quite different if it were (nominally) 120 volts to ground vs. (nominally) 230 volts to earth.

If it were poorly-labeled and/or inconsistently color-coded, (not that that ever happens!) you might stumble onto a high-leg panel that looks just like a split-phase panel. Even if it was reasonable to test a 120-volt circuit by touch, you might be touching a 208-volt-to-ground circuit. That would be at least ∛x more of a tickle than you were expecting; maybe 3x the tickle because both the voltage & current are ∛ greater; maybe even a lot more than 3x if you exceed a dielectric threshold and get an avalanche.

And that's not even considering miswired/misused panels or oddballs. I can imagine a 240-volt loadcenter used on 480 for expedience or economy.
I've seen a few 60-0-60 panels in audio studios and instrument labs to minimize hum. 120-volt loads supplied by two-pole breakers.

"Over the years"? During air-conditioning season, I've seen that much variation in a day.
When you write "∛" doesn't that mean cubed root of 3? Multiply that times 120 and you get about 173.

How you used it didn't you intend it to mean square root of 3? Multiply that times 120 and you get about 208.

#### Gary11734

##### Senior Member
When I first entered the trade, My JW was 69 years old. He had such thick callouses on his fingers, he would lick his first finger and thumb and touch the wires to see if they were hot. We did things differently in 1972! Well, he said, try it. Believe me, at 18, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LICK YOUR FINGERS! It was the first and last time I did that! Off to get my first Wiggy!