Question about electrical panel circuits


Old 11-06-04, 03:06 PM
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Question about electrical panel circuits

I do side-work as a freelance insurance inspector for an out-of-state company. I work exclusively online for them and have never really received any thorough training. Many of my inspections require looking at the main panel and taking down basic information (what type it is, how many amps, etc). One thing that is required is to write down how many of each circuit is in the panel (i.e. 4-20amps; 2-30amps, etc). Often I will come across one of the "double circuits" that is basically two circuit slots connected together as one, presumably for larger appliances. My question is- are these double circuits with, for example, a "30" written on each end considered one 30, two 30's, or one 60? I've received conflicting information on this from various sources, including homeowners, so I thought I'd try my luck on this forum. Thanks for any help!!
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Old 11-06-04, 03:17 PM
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It's counted as one double-pole 30-amp breaker.
Old 11-06-04, 03:35 PM
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There are times when (1) 20A 2-pole breaker is one 20A circuit (240V circuit for a hot water heater, A/C etc), and there are times when (2) 20A 1-pole breakers are considered one 20A circuit (multiwire circuit for receptacles, lighting etc). So it depends.
Old 11-07-04, 06:02 PM
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I would not consider a 20 amp multiwire one circuit. I would call it 2 circuits even though they share a neutral.
Old 11-07-04, 08:48 PM
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The NEC says it's one circuit. But it also says that for purposes of article 210, it is "permitted to be considered as multiple circuits." It lives two lives.
Old 11-08-04, 11:22 AM
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Just to simplify, the single-width breaker is calle a single-pole breaker. It is 120 volts. (Often referred to as 110v or 115v)

The double-wide breaker is called a two pole. It is 240 volts, though nearly all homeowners refer to this as 220v.

The number appearing on each "paddle" of the two-pole breaker is what you call the circuit. (In other words, if each paddle has a "30" on it, it is not a 60 amp circuit, but is referred to as a 30 amp/2-pole circuit, or as a 30 amp/220v circuit)

The multiple circuits the other guys mentioned do exist out there, but they are not common. If you are simply recording the amperage and breaker contents of the panel you really won't need to get into the multiple circuit issue.

Hope that helps,


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