Illinois Electric Codes, Home Inspection


Old 03-10-08, 10:18 AM
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Illinois Electric Codes, Home Inspection

I just had my condo inspected and the inspector told me that my electric box has double tapping and is therefore not up to code. I need to correct this quickly, so I was wondering if I can "piggyback" the wires and if by doing so will have brought everything up to code accordingly?

Here is a picture of the wiring as it exists currently:

If what I have read online is correct, for each of the breakers that currently have 2 wires running into them, I can take the two wires out, attach them to a third wire with a wire nut, and then run the single, third wire, into the breaker. This, of course, is assuming that the total amperage doesn't exceed what the breaker is rated for. However, I have been living in this condo for 3 years with the wiring the way it is pictured above and I have never tripped a breaker.

Does anyone know if doing what I have suggested will bring this up to code for Illinois? Or, does anyone know where I can access the actual codes to find out?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-10-08, 11:20 AM
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Actully some breakers are rated to accept two wires so there might not be a problem at all. Otherwise what you porpose it fine.
Old 03-10-08, 11:22 AM
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Hi, Illinois home inspector here:

1) Some single pole breakers are designed to accept two wires. Not enough detail in the picture for me to determine if that's the case here.

2) Normally, it's fine to pigtail as you suggest - there are limits to allowable panel-fill, but you almost never hit the limit.

3) The local AHJ always has the final say. Most in my area - Chicago and suburbs - have no problem with it.

If you have a higher resolution picture, post it to one of the photo-hosting sites and paste the link here we may be able to tell you more.
Old 03-10-08, 11:47 AM
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As joed stated, most breakers are designed to accept two similar gauge wires. This may be a case where the inspector doesn't really understand every panel/manufacturer and just has a general statement that "double-taps are bad". The breaker should have some marking, likely on the side of the breaker, that tells you how many of what gauge wire is accepted.

In the position you're in though, it's probably easier to wire nut the two wires together to a third wire, and run the single wire to the breaker. Sometimes, it's easier to comply than fight, even if you're right.

If it's a 15A breaker, you can use 14ga or 12ga wire. If it's a 20A breaker, you should use 12ga wire.


As I look at is closer, is it the single pole breaker that is double tapped or is it the third breaker down with the handle ties? If it's the single pole (red one), you're all set to either prove that it can be double tapped or wire nut them. If it's the blue one with the handle tie, it might be questionable what else is on that circuit. Not that it's unsafe, just questionable.
Old 03-10-08, 01:05 PM
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Also, there's that green wire (?) in the upper left hand corner - I'm wondering if someone bonded the neutral bus to ground on a load-side panel - again not enough detail in the picture to tell.
Old 03-10-08, 05:02 PM
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Regardless of what's legal and what's not.... never argue with the inspector - even if he's wrong on a fine point. It's typically easier/faster/less expensive to do what he requests. The alternative is to go over his head - which opens a can of worms that won't close.......
Old 03-10-08, 06:32 PM
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nikitakolata, first off, why the inspection?? And was it a home inspector, or the local electrical inspector or building authority?? Second, electrical codes are not retroactive, so nobody can make you update it. What you have is an old Bryant panel with BR style breakers. These breakers are rated by the original manufacturer for only one wire under the screw terminal on the breaker. You CAN pigtail the two wires together with a third so you only have one wire in the breaker, just make sure your splices are good and tight. If you ever need replacement breakers, you can use Siemens, Cutler-Hammer BR, or Square D Homeline series.
Old 03-12-08, 07:40 AM
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Thanks! Here are the results...

Thanks everyone for your help. To answer some questions, I am in the process of selling my condo, so the inspection was done by the buyer. I ended up pigtailing the wires to correct the problem noted by the inspector.

So, before the box looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

The buyer is happy, so I'm happy. I can't wait to move to my dream, single family house!

Regarding the green wire, I am really not sure what is going on. The inspector tested every outlet in the place, so I think he would have mentioned if there was a problem with the ground wires. Being seeing that the building wasn't exactly wired to perfection initially, nothing really would surprise me.

Anyway, thanks again.

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