Consolidatation of breakers

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  #1  
Old 08-01-05, 07:14 AM
Aussiecheezhead
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Post Consolidatation of breakers

Hi again all,

My shadetree electrician uncle tells me that I can consolidate two very lightly taxed breakers into one, by simply putting the two black wires from the circuits under the screw terminal of one breaker.

This doesn't sound like "code" to me, even if it works.

Further detail: I have a "living room" circuit with only 3 receptacles and 3 light fixtures on it! This needs to be put into another circuit. I think its pretty ridiculous that I live in a 1500 sqft duplex wired using all 24 breakers in my panel. And yes, I have a has Water heater and furnace.

If the above suggestion violates the 2002 NEC (in effect in my city), would it be best to add a junction box near the panel and splice the two circuits together, running one wire into the panel?

Thanks guys (or gals)!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-01-05, 08:12 AM
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If the breaker is designed for two wires (some are, most aren't), then you can do what your uncle said. Even if the breaker is not designed for two wires, you can attach the two wires to a pigtail to the breaker. You can even make this splice inside the panel--no external junction box required.

But just because you can do this doesn't make it a really good idea.

By the way, there's no such thing as a lightly-loaded circuit in any home that uses a vacuum cleaner.
 
  #3  
Old 08-01-05, 08:39 AM
Aussiecheezhead
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I hear that!

In my house, the 450 sqft living/dining room lights/recepts, which *could* all be on one circuit acc. to NEC, are actually on 3 circuits.

Not very future-friendly if you ask me.....
 
  #4  
Old 08-01-05, 09:56 AM
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Don't mess with circuits with dining room receptacles. Special codes apply.

Home builders are not very concerned with "future friendly". They are only concerned with meeting the codes, selling the house quickly, and making the most profit. They've discovered that future-friendly electrical systems don't help the house sell, because almost all consumers wouldn't even notice.
 
  #5  
Old 08-01-05, 01:42 PM
Aussiecheezhead
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"special" codes seem to apply everywhere!

There has to be somewhere I can consolidate....24 breakers for 1500 sqft is just ridiculous.

Isn't it one breaker for every 500sqft for lighting/recept?
 
  #6  
Old 08-01-05, 02:14 PM
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That's not that bad... the houses I wire generally have at least 20 breakers, and they have all gas appliances. If I would have to wire an all electric home the numbers of breakers will go up even more.

It's not really the square footage of the house, but what's inside the house. If you happen to have a well/septic that's 3 breakers there. The gas heating/AC is another 3. The kitchens I wire generally take at least 5 breakers, and that's with a gas stove (2 for countertop, 1 each for MW, disposer, fridge, dishwasher/stove). Each bathroom has a circuit, and so does each bedroom. Add to that a couple of circuits for general lighting, a couple of the LR, a couple for the garage and you have a fairly large number of breakers. It's always better to have more breakers then not enough.
 
  #7  
Old 08-01-05, 02:16 PM
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Why don't you investigate tandem breakers.
 
  #8  
Old 08-01-05, 02:19 PM
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Also, why do you need to "consolidate" breakers? Do you need the space for another breaker? By consolidating you now have an "empty" space in the panel, for which you'll have to go and buy a cover.
 
  #9  
Old 08-01-05, 02:27 PM
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Why he needs space and why he cannot use tandem breakers have both been extensively discussed in another thread.
 
  #10  
Old 08-02-05, 07:14 AM
Aussiecheezhead
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All I need is one free slot right now, and maybe another if (ever) we finish a bathroom in the basement.

It feels like a real waste to put up a subpanel for one breaker. I think its time for a pro consult. I'm sure you guys could solve my problem if you came over to my house, but I don't think that is going to happen any time soon!

thanks for the suggestions.
 
  #11  
Old 08-02-05, 08:00 AM
Aussiecheezhead
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Exclamation

Quick bit of detail:

I mapped out the "dining" room circuit and only 3 receptacles are on it. Not even the lighting. The dining room is not really a room in my place; the kitchen/dining/living room are all one big space. Not sure if a code would apply to a dining room only delineated by a 80 sqft piece of linoleum.

What do you think John? Could I add the basement lights (4) to this circuit?

Thanks!
 
  #12  
Old 08-02-05, 08:04 AM
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No........
 
  #13  
Old 08-02-05, 08:27 AM
Aussiecheezhead
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Well if three receptacles is code......i guess its code.

I'll see what the local inspector has to say. It seems like lunacy to me.
 
  #14  
Old 08-02-05, 08:30 AM
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I guess I should have asked where you live. None of my comments apply unless you are currently residing in the U.S. It would help us out if you would fill in your location in your profile.
 
  #15  
Old 08-02-05, 10:27 AM
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Aussie, I posed a question yesterday based on this thread. My question was whether the dining room required it's own small appliance circuit. I read the code (excerpt), but still wasn't clear whether there were other articles that would apply. John Nelson and racraft both responded. Look for "Dining room" in the title.
 
  #16  
Old 08-02-05, 12:55 PM
Aussiecheezhead
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Thumbs up

THANKS rodek01!

I'll go over that idea with my local inspector. It seems sensible to consolidate one (the one I never plug anything into except my cordless phone!!) 20A small kitchen appl and the dining room recepts (which only supply power to my stereo).

I've gone from to

A plan is slowly forming.............................

If I need to, can I put 4 basement lights circuit into the kitchen/garage/dining lights? It would be 12 light bulbs in all. I'm hesitant b/c this circuit blowing would mean no lights in half the house, but want to know what you all think.
 
  #17  
Old 08-02-05, 12:59 PM
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I think you should rule out tandem breakers first.
 
  #18  
Old 08-02-05, 02:33 PM
Aussiecheezhead
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racraft,

I called square D this morning and confirmed tandems are a no-go in my panel.

If *only* it were that easy!
 
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