Code Violation?

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  #1  
Old 06-06-06, 06:08 PM
drdealer
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Code Violation?

Hi, I just wanted to know something. I wanted to replace three electric receptacles in my kitchen. When I went to unscrew them out, I saw a white wire connected to the silver side and with a tab; on the brass side adn without a tab was a black wire and then a red wire. There are NO switches to control these outlets.

Is this in violation of a code? If not, if I were to replace the receptacle, all I gotta do is rewire it exactly the way it was wired for the old one, with the brass side tab removed?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-06-06, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by drdealer
Hi, I just wanted to know something. I wanted to replace three electric receptacles in my kitchen. When I went to unscrew them out, I saw a white wire connected to the silver side and with a tab; on the brass side adn without a tab was a black wire and then a red wire. There are NO switches to control these outlets.

Is this in violation of a code? If not, if I were to replace the receptacle, all I gotta do is rewire it exactly the way it was wired for the old one, with the brass side tab removed?

Thanks.
Code violation now...Yes.
At the time of install perhaps no. It apears that what you have is a multi wire ckt there. 120-to neutral and black..... 120-to neutral and red....220 between red and black.

I would sugest that you find exactly what else is on these ckts.
If only this rec., then delete 1 ckt, and use 1. Make sure you put it on a GFI rec (the new and only ckt).

Please post back with your findings.
 
  #3  
Old 06-06-06, 06:39 PM
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Where do you live? (You really should put your location in your profile.)

This may be perfectly fine. Is the circuit breaker controlling the kitchen receptacles a double pole GFCI receptacle?
 
  #4  
Old 06-06-06, 06:46 PM
drdealer
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
Code violation now...Yes.
At the time of install perhaps no. It apears that what you have is a multi wire ckt there. 120-to neutral and black..... 120-to neutral and red....220 between red and black.

I would sugest that you find exactly what else is on these ckts.
If only this rec., then delete 1 ckt, and use 1. Make sure you put it on a GFI rec (the new and only ckt).

Please post back with your findings.
Yes, I forgot to mention something. I am an extreme newbie. I have no idea what you wrote above...sorry!

All I can say is that the house is 20 or so years old.

How do I check what else is on the circuit? By seeing what else is not working when I turn the power off to that circuit?

Do you advise, then, that I just leave the receptacles as they are and not replace them?

BTW I'm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
 
  #5  
Old 06-06-06, 06:49 PM
drdealer
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Originally Posted by racraft
Where do you live? (You really should put your location in your profile.)

This may be perfectly fine. Is the circuit breaker controlling the kitchen receptacles a double pole GFCI receptacle?
Again, I'm not sure what this means...are you referring to the receptacle that automatically cuts the power if water is inserted? The one with the reset switch? No, I do not have those, I just have three standard, 3 prong receptacles.
 
  #6  
Old 06-06-06, 08:54 PM
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You are fine, a non GFI multiwire counter recepticle circuit is normal, and legal in many parts of Canada.
 
  #7  
Old 06-06-06, 09:00 PM
drdealer
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Originally Posted by classicsat
You are fine, a non GFI multiwire counter recepticle circuit is normal, and legal in many parts of Canada.
Alright, thanks.

Now, to replace a receptacle is as simple as buying a new one, popping off the tab for hte brass screws, and wiring as for the older one, correct?
 
  #8  
Old 06-06-06, 11:36 PM
ddr
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drdealer,

Since classicsat is in your area of Canada Iím sure he/she has a better idea of what your national and local codes allow, so I wonít say if you have a violation or not.

If it is up to code then yes, if you replace the old outlets by wiring the new ones EXACTLY as the old ones were you will be okay (suggestion: take a picture or draw a detailed diagram of the current wiring so you can recreate the same configuration on the new outlets).

**** HOWEVER *****

I will say that Iím a little concerned you didnít understand what lectriclee and racraft were talking about. Iíll try to explain some of it but PLEASE, only do this work if you are SURE you understand what is being said here and you feel you can do it yourself.

Multi Circuit Receptacle:
The fact that you have an intact tab on the neutral (silver) side of the receptacle with one neutral (white) wire and the tab is removed on the hot (brass) side and has two hot wires(black/red) means that the receptacle is powered by TWO circuits: one powers the top outlet and the other powers the bottom. Both hots use a single or ďcommonĒ neutral. So the black conductor is bringing in 120V to one of the outlets and then uses the common neutral as a return and the red conductor is bringing in 120V to the other the other outlet and using the common neutral as a return. Since there are two 120V feeds, the receptacle as a whole has 240V being fed to it but each outlet of the receptacle is only giving you 120V. This type of configuration can be dangerous if the hot conductors are controlled by two single pole breakers (see below) as this would allow half the receptacle to remain hot if only one breaker is shut.

Single/Double Pole Circuit Breakers
A single pole breaker is one that controls a single circuit and has a single switch.
A double pole breaker is twice as wide and controls two circuits. While it seems that there is a switch for each circuit, the two switches are actually joined by a bar. This is so the power to BOTH circuits will be shut SIMULTANEOUSLY (whether intentionally or if the breaker trips). This is important in a situation such as yours where two circuits are feeding the same receptacle and is why racraft was asking about it. In the USA, code states that if two hot conductors are connected to a single receptacle a double pole breaker must be used; you cannot use two single pole breakers. Check your code for your requirements on this. (While I would doubt this very much, should your local Canadian code allow a multi circuit receptacle to be powered by two single pole breakers, make sure BOTH breakers are off before performing any work on the receptacle.)

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
Youíve got the right type of receptacle in mind, but it doesnít work by getting wet. It is, however, used in areas around water because it works on a different principle that a regular breaker and reacts much faster if the device it is powering gets wet or shorts.

As for seeing what receptacles are on which breaker, refer to the thread "Replacing exhaust fan/light switches - problems!" where mapping out your wiring is discussed.

I hope this makes things more clear, not more confusing. Again, if you are not sure about something, ASK.

Good luck.
 
  #9  
Old 06-07-06, 03:08 AM
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I am curious as to why lectriclee is sure this is a violation now.

The OP specifically states "a" white wire on the silver, so one can only assume there is only one on the device and they are pigtailed.

What US NEC violation am I not seeing?
In Canada this is very common installation.
 
  #10  
Old 06-07-06, 03:47 AM
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I'm not sure this is even a multiwire circuit. It could very well be a single branch circuit that runs to a switch, and 3 wire from there to the receptacle in question. There may not be a 2 pole breaker anywhere for this.

You should test for voltage before doing anything...
 
  #11  
Old 06-07-06, 04:18 AM
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That is unlikely Dnk.
For one thing, this is a kitchen (I assume counter). It is doubtful that receptacles would be switched.
Besides, like I mentioned, it is code in parts of Canada to have the two SA branch circuits split wired to the receptacles.
 
  #12  
Old 06-07-06, 04:36 AM
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In the US there would be no code violation even to present day code, provided GFCI protection was provided at the breaker.

I am not completely familiar with Canadian codes, but it is my understanding that in some circumstances that kitchen circuits must be multi wire.

drdealer, to determine what is on a particular circuit you shut off the circuit breaker and then check what receptacles, lights and appliances no longer have power. This is something you really should do now. It is something everyone should do shortly after moving in to a new house or apartment. The information could save your life.

To help clear up some confusion, could you please describe the circuit breaker protecting this circuit. Does it have a small "test" button on it? Is it twice as wide as normal breaker (3.8 to 5 cm wide as opposed to 1.9 to 2.5 cm wide)? Does it have look like two circuit breakers tied together?
 
  #13  
Old 06-07-06, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
That is unlikely Dnk.
For one thing, this is a kitchen (I assume counter). It is doubtful that receptacles would be switched.
Besides, like I mentioned, it is code in parts of Canada to have the two SA branch circuits split wired to the receptacles.

You're right again, I missed the "not switched" in the OP first post..
 
  #14  
Old 06-07-06, 07:34 AM
drdealer
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Originally Posted by racraft
In the US there would be no code violation even to present day code, provided GFCI protection was provided at the breaker.

I am not completely familiar with Canadian codes, but it is my understanding that in some circumstances that kitchen circuits must be multi wire.

drdealer, to determine what is on a particular circuit you shut off the circuit breaker and then check what receptacles, lights and appliances no longer have power. This is something you really should do now. It is something everyone should do shortly after moving in to a new house or apartment. The information could save your life.

To help clear up some confusion, could you please describe the circuit breaker protecting this circuit. Does it have a small "test" button on it? Is it twice as wide as normal breaker (3.8 to 5 cm wide as opposed to 1.9 to 2.5 cm wide)? Does it have look like two circuit breakers tied together?
I really wanted to thank you so much, all of you, for taking the time to explain these things to me. I really learnt a lot and again, I appreciate it a lot.

Now to answer specific questions. ddr, your post was super awesome. It cleared up pretty much everything. racraft, the breaker for the receptacle is exactly as you and ddr described it: double pole joined by a bar. There's actually three such breakers on my circuit breaker, two of which power the outlets in my kitchen (and the outlet in the connecting family room).

I don't think it has a 'test' switch though.
 
  #15  
Old 06-07-06, 12:49 PM
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I doubt the double breaker will be a test button, since CFI was not a code requirement in Canada until around 2002. And even then only if the outlet is within 1 m (39") of a sink.

Split plugs (shared neural) are still common and allowed by code, however, since 2002 it is also allowed to have 20 amp un-split outlets on count-tops. In my view the 20 amp circuits were introduced to facilitate the use of CFI. (Split circuits require an expensive double pole CFI breaker). There are several (many?) additional restrictions places on counter-top circuits.

The bottom line is, you can replace the existing receptacle with a split receptacle, and it will meet code.

However, for safety, I would add CFI protection if the receptacle is within 1 m of the sink.
 
  #16  
Old 06-07-06, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
I am curious as to why lectriclee is sure this is a violation now.

The OP specifically states "a" white wire on the silver, so one can only assume there is only one on the device and they are pigtailed.

What US NEC violation am I not seeing?
In Canada this is very common installation.

The simple fact GFCI was not involved. Thats all.

By the way DDR, GREAT explanation
 
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