Split Receptacle on Multiple Circuits in Bedroom?

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  #1  
Old 10-13-06, 04:25 PM
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Question Split Receptacle on Multiple Circuits in Bedroom?

I've just about finished re-wiring my house and thought I'd researched all the code requirements pretty thoroughly. However, I've just read something that makes me wonder if I'm going to fall foul of one of the more obscure rules...

Here's the situation:

I have a single gang receptacle in a bedroom, containing a split duplex receptacle. The bottom half of the receptacle is controlled by a pair of three way switches and is on a 15A lighting circuit. The top half of the receptacle is on a 20A receptacle that feeds all the other recepacles in the bedroom.

Since both the 15A lighting circuit and the 20A receptacle circuit feed outlets in the bedroom, I've put them on AFCI breakers, as required by the NEC.

However, I've also just read that if multiple circuits feed a single duplex receptacle, then those circuits must be on a common multipole breaker, so that if one circuit trips, the other does too. But being in the bedroom, the breakers must also be AFCI. Now, I've never seen such a thing as a 20A-15A AFCI multipole breaker at my local DIY store. Do they even exist?

So, that's my problem. My questions are:

- Am I interpreting the NEC rules correctly?

- Is it possible to obtain a 20A-15A AFCI multipole breaker from somewhere? This is a Siemens panel, incidentally.

- Can I take my existing 15A and 20A AFCI breakers, place them in adjacent slots in my panel, and then put a bridge across the trip levers to satisfy the requirements?

- Or should I just re-wire my switch loops while the walls are open, so that everything in the receptacle runs off the receptacle circuit?


Incidentally, if I do the latter, then I will have multiple circuits passing through the same multi-gang switch box. Is this OK? If I do this, should I connect the grounds of all the multiple circuits together in the box? I assume that I would only connect the neutrals together from the same circuits.

Any comments much apperciated!

Thanks,

Simon
 
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  #2  
Old 10-13-06, 04:32 PM
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I am not aware of a requirement that two separate circuits that feed a duplex receptacle need a common trip. If they are multi-wire circuit and the neutral is shared this would be true, but they are not a multi-wire circuit. However, I could be wrong.

I would have place the switched receptacle on the same ccircuit, and not involved a lighting circuit. In this case, you must be using a 15 amp receptacle.

All grounds in a junction box are connected together, whether they are from a single circuit, two circuits or 100 circuits. It is okay to have multiple circuits sharing a box. Just don't exceed box fill.
 
  #3  
Old 10-13-06, 04:38 PM
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If I understand correctly, the requirement is apparently part of the 2002 NEC. Pages 114-115 of Wiring Simplified (40th Edition) discuss the issue.

In retrospect I would probably have put the switched half of the receptacle on the same circuit as the other receptacles, but when I put in the wall switches I was working on the lighting circuit, and it seemed logical to have the switched half running off the lighting circuit...
 
  #4  
Old 10-14-06, 07:15 AM
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Did you run #12 and #14 wire to the boxes, or just use the red wire of #12-3 for the switched receptacle, and feed it from the 15A circuit?
 
  #5  
Old 10-14-06, 08:25 AM
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210.7 (B) Multiple Branch Circuits. Where two or more branch circuits supply devices or equipment on the same yoke, a means to simultaneously disconnect the ungrounded conductors supplying those devices shall be provided at the point at which the branch circuits originate.

There is no requiremnt for common trip. Simultaneous disconnect can be done by just putting the breakers next to eachother in the panel and using handle ties.
 
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Old 10-14-06, 09:00 AM
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Yep, 210.7 (B) sounds like the varmint.

Tying the trip levers together was one of the options I thought of, but I wasn't sure if there were any complications due to the fact that the breakers are both AFCI units. For one thing, the levers are about half the width of a normal breaker lever. Guess I'll see what they have at the local store...

I had assumed that tying the levers together would mean that if one circuit trips then the other does too, but I guess that's not the case. Is this different from multipole breakers, used, e.g. on multiwire or 240V circuits?

Cheers,

Sy
 
  #7  
Old 10-14-06, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by grover
Did you run #12 and #14 wire to the boxes, or just use the red wire of #12-3 for the switched receptacle, and feed it from the 15A circuit?
There are completely separate #12 and #14 circuits running to the box containing the split duplex receptacle. One circuit supplies one side of the receptacle, and the other supplies the other side.

Perhaps not the most logical setup in hindsight, but I was working on the lighting circuits and switches before putting in the receptacle circuit, and at the time it made sense to run a wire to the switched half of the receptacle.
 
  #8  
Old 10-14-06, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by syperk
Yep, 210.7 (B) sounds like the varmint.

Tying the trip levers together was one of the options I thought of, but I wasn't sure if there were any complications due to the fact that the breakers are both AFCI units. For one thing, the levers are about half the width of a normal breaker lever. Guess I'll see what they have at the local store...

I had assumed that tying the levers together would mean that if one circuit trips then the other does too, but I guess that's not the case. Is this different from multipole breakers, used, e.g. on multiwire or 240V circuits?

Cheers,

Sy
This is different. On a 240 volt circuit if one side trips you need the other side of the same circuit to open at the same time to assure safety. For this you need a common trip.

In your case the issue is that if a person where to shut off a breaker to work on the wiring, they would be forced to turn off both circuits that are feeding one recepticle. Without the handle tie someone might assume that this was a regular recepticle, test, say the bottom rec. Watch the tester go off and think that the entire recepticle is now safe.

Since they are two seperate circuits, if one shorted it would be completely safe to keep using the other until you go to the panel to turn off the circuit to do the repairs.
 
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Old 10-14-06, 09:33 AM
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So, on a multiwire circuit, e.g. used for the two appliance circuits in a kitchen, connected to a multipole breaker, if one side trips does the other trip as well?
 
  #10  
Old 10-14-06, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by syperk
So, on a multiwire circuit, e.g. used for the two appliance circuits in a kitchen, connected to a multipole breaker, if one side trips does the other trip as well?
There is no requirement in the code that says it must.

The code only says that in this case, the two circuits must be handle tied so that someone working on one of those circuits is forced to turn both off.
 
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