Two circuits, One Breaker


  #1  
Old 11-22-08, 05:14 PM
U
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Two circuits, One Breaker

I inspected my electrical panel seriously for the first time today and discovered that someone had installed two circuits on the same double breaker (like the one that you use for 240V). One circuit runs (from what i can tell) to an external GFI outlet, the second runs a GFI outlet in the bathroom and some basement lighting/outlets.

The previous ownership of the house basically hodge-podged everything, so I'm inclined to believe that this is a another no-no, but can someone with some expertise fathom any reason this might have been done before I do it "properly"?

I'm planning to run a dedicated 20A line to the bathroom GFI, change the exterior GFI to its own breaker, and add a breaker for the bathroom/basement lighting. Sound reasonable? Can I combine the exterior GFI and lighting on the same circuit?
 
  #2  
Old 11-22-08, 06:57 PM
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There's nothing that says you can't use a two pole breaker for different circuits. In fact, it is required in the cases of multiwire branch circuits and when you have two circuits on one yoke.
It doesn't sound like this is the case but there is nothing Code wise that prohibits it. (At least not in the US).
The nuisance would be that if one of the circuits tripped for some reason, it would also take out the other one.
Yes you can combine those circuits if you want.
 
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Old 11-22-08, 07:30 PM
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Ya, I don't think it's a multi-wire branch circuit. Each circuit is a standard molex (W,B,Gr), though the neutrals for each are wired to the same slot on the neutral bar as well...
 
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Old 11-22-08, 07:49 PM
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The fact that this is a double-pole breaker is immaterial. Whether or not it's a multiwire circuit is also immaterial. What is material is if the amperage of the breaker matches the wiring. If the breaker is any more than 20 amps (or 15 amps if the wiring is 14-gauge), then you've got a fire hazard. But if the breaker amperage is appropriate for the size of the wire, and if it is no more than 20 amps, then you are probably just fine.
 
 

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