Unused wires in main breaker box OK?


Old 09-19-06, 01:29 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 24
Unused wires in main breaker box OK?

Kind of a 2-part question.
1. I want to convert an 8-3 240VAC circuit currently going to a wall oven into a 120VAC circuit for a microwave oven. I don't want to ripout the conduit and cable. I have a 30+30 breaker (Square D QO) wired to the Black and Red mains. Can I replace the breaker with a simple 20Amp breaker and wire it with the Black and Neutral wires, then connect the Black and Neutral to a normal outlet? I would Tape up the unused Red line both in the breaker box and the recepticle box. Is this allowed? Will 8 guage wire fit in a normal 20A breaker (Square D, QO)?

2. If I can't reuse the circuit above, can I at least just leave the conduit and 8-3 cable without terminating it? Just Tape up all the wires both in the breaker box and the junction box?
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Old 09-19-06, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
1. If this circuit has the a white neutral wire along with the red and black hot wiresm and if the conduit provides a suitable ground then yes, you can change this to 20 amp 120 volt circuit. The 8 gage wires will fit a 20 amp breaker, but will NOT fit many 15 or 20 amp receptacles. Wire nut the unused red wire at both ends.

2. Yes, but relevent any longer.

However, I woyld not do this. I would ADD the necessary 20 amp (12 gage) wires to this conduit and use them instead.
Old 09-19-06, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Just to give a second opinion, I agree with Racraft, though, in all honesty, if you know it won't affect future plans, I have no problem actually doing as you suggest and using the existing #8 for the microwave, using pigtailed #12's to land to the receptacle.
Old 09-19-06, 04:49 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 311
Copper is expensive, just use the existing #8.

Before nutting off the red wire, give it a pull. Maybe you could pull it out of the pipe by itself, at $3/lb for stripped copper wire it's worth a try.

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