Adding breaker

Old 12-21-04, 01:18 PM
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Adding breaker

Our inspector noted that there were two wires coming into one of the breakers and said it would be easy to buy a new breaker for a few dollars and transfer one of the wires. I'm a novice - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Old 12-21-04, 01:25 PM
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Some breakers (SquareD Homeline for example) do allow for 2 conductors to be connected to the same breaker. Most don't however, and some inspectors don't like to see 2 conductors going to one breakers. If you have the room in the panel it's easy to simply buy another breaker the same size and "move" the conductor to the new breaker.
Old 12-21-04, 02:17 PM
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What make of panel do you have? All residential panels made today use breakers that push onto the busbar. Pushmatic panel breakers must be screwed to the bus.
Old 12-21-04, 04:30 PM
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I assume that this is a home inspector sent by the buyer and that you are the seller. It must be in the home inspector's boilerplate to point out what they call double-lugged breakers. Inspectors seem to make no attempt whatsoever to figure out whether or not it's okay. It's easier just to write it up as a "defect". A lot of electricians have made a lot of money doing nothing more than looking at this situation and proclaiming it okay. Without an electrician's say-so, the inspector and buyer will never take your word for it.

The simplest solution of all is to join the two wires with a wire nut (inside the panel) and run a pigtail wire of the same size to the breaker. If the inspector doesn't like that, tell him to go jump in a lake.

If this is a building inspector rather than a buyer's home inspector as I surmised, then don't tell him to go jump in the lake. Just do what he said.
Old 12-21-04, 06:51 PM
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If the inspector was a "building inspector", it would be a good idea to verify that there are also 2 neutrals coming into the panelboard before you split the circuit. Chances are that you do have 2 neutrals, but it would be important to check if you have to split the circuit.

If there are 2 neutrals (1 for each hot conductor), then you can probably add another breaker and split the circuit into 2 individual circuits without worrying about much else.

If you only have 1 neutral coming in for the 2 hots, you'd need to replace the breaker with a 2-pole breaker that draws from both busses. This would a create a "multi-wire circuit". You'd be best off with a single 2-pole breaker that would disconnect both poles of the circuit simlutaneously.

If you only have 1 neutral coming into your panelboard, split the circuit and put the new breaker in the panelboard such that it's on the same bus as the first breaker - you create a situation where you could overload the neutral (because you're drawing current from 2 breakers on the same bus and returning that current through a common neutral). As current demands on the 2 circuits grew past what the old, single breaker would allow, the current flowing back through the neutral could overheat the conductor and start a fire.
Old 12-22-04, 10:43 AM
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It's POSSIBLE that this is a "tandem" breaker- 2-poles in a single-pole frame. Look for 2 handles on the breaker.

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