Double Breaker Replacing Single Breaker


Old 09-22-00, 10:43 AM
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My fuse box is full and I would like to add some lights in our basement along with an entertainment center. The slots going to my Dining Room and Living room are minimally loaded (3-5 lamps only). But, I would rather have a separate circuit breaker so someone suggested a double to replace the singles. Is this a reasonable thing to do?

I believe I have 100 AMP service, but after reading all the notes in this community I will double check.

Also; houses just like mine in our neighborhood only seem to have 1/2- 3/4 of their boxes full so I can't understand the differential. They were all built by the same builder back in 1980. Ideas on this?
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Old 09-22-00, 11:13 AM
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I'm not an electrician, and I don't particularly like them, but there are thin single pole circuit breakers that fit two into the space of a regular breaker. I think that that is what your friend is talking about, and not a double breaker (those are for 220v circuits).
You need no more than a 15 amp breaker for 14/2 w/ground wiring (o.k. for lighting), and you use a 20 amp breaker for 12/2 w/ground circuits (best for outlet circuits). Your 100 amp panel may or may not be adequate for your home, if you start adding extra circuits. I think that you need to consult an electrician. Good Luck!

[This message has been edited by OldGuy (edited September 22, 2000).]
Old 09-22-00, 05:14 PM
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Most 100 amp panels are not ul approved for what you are discribing 1/2 size breaker that make two breakers in the space of one breaker. To confirm whether you have a panel designed for 1/2 size breakers look at your panel door. The list of circuits will say cir.1,cir2,cir3 etc. If your panel is designed to accept 1/2 size breaker you list of circuits will say cir1, cir1A, cir2 , cir2a etc. Another way to confirm that you have a panel designed for 1/2 size breakers is to remove two breakers oppisite each other. Look at the tab the breakers plug onto. If the tab is solid across without a slot in the middle this tab is designed to accept only full size breakers. If you find the tab that the breakers plug into has a slot making a "u' shape between breakers end to end then this circuit is designed to accept 1/2 size breakers.

Now if you have an ITE pushmatic breaker you will find a nick cut out of the side where the breaker screws in. This would tell you it is designed for half size breakers. If the buss bar is with a straight edge without a notch cut in the edge then it is designed for full size breakers only.

Now in most panels designed for 1/2 sized breakers will have the places for the 1/2 size breakers in the lower section of that panel, usually not in the first few breaker slots looking from the top down.

Hope this helps

Old 09-25-00, 02:19 PM
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Just checking: Do you have a fuse panel or a circuit breaker panel. Say what you mean because there is a large difference in what options there are.
Please tell us what brand of panel you have, how many spaces you have in the panel if has circuit breakers.(Look at the paper on the door or next to the the circuit breakers)
I fuses, how many plug fuses and double cartridge fuse pullers-(state the purpose of each puller)are there and looking inside the panel, is there an unused set of terminals below the blocks of fuses?
If there are fuses, replace the panel with a circuit breaker panel-an upgrade in service size would also be wise.
In the event you have a 20 space circuit breaker panel that has ALL circuit breakers being used-(*some smart electricians will install a couple extra single pole 15 or 20 amp breakers) upgrade the service to 150A and 30 spaces. I generally try to avoid the tandem breakers(two single pole breakers in one space)

Please respond about your panel specs.

Old 09-25-00, 07:43 PM
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Green Jacket -
I have a 20 breaker circuit panel. Square D. 100 AMP service. There is already one double breaker in one of the slots. Every slot is taken. 2 slots are taken by the A/C.

To upgrade to 150 AMP, do I have to contact the electric company or get a permit for q qualified electrician?

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