Double tapped GE circuit breaker

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Old 08-28-09, 03:11 PM
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Question Double tapped GE circuit breaker

I had an inspection prior to purchasing a home that was built in 1989. The inspector found there to be two double tapped circuits in the circuit breaker. It is a GE TLM-2412 which the inspector said was 100 amps, but from my research, that model is 125 amps. http://www.geindustrial.com/publibrary/checkout/Catalogs%20and%20Buyers%20Guides%7CDET-222%7CPDF The inspector said this was not to code, but I have read online that some manufacturers make circuit breakers that allow for double tapping. I have attached (below) a picture of the circuit breaker without the cover. Is this dangerous/illegal and if so how come an electrician would install it and how much would it be to have an electrician correct this? Thank you very much!


http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu106/biocellguy/Electrical_Panel_CB.jpg

http://http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu106/biocellguy/Electrical_Panel_CB_zoom.jpg
 
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Old 08-28-09, 03:14 PM
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This is the portion zoomed in:
 
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Old 08-28-09, 03:26 PM
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First the service size would be determined by the size of the breaker ahead of this panel. This panel does not have a main breaker. It is rated for use up to 125 amp supply.

There are more than 2 breakers shown with more than 1 conductor attached to the terminals. I think I see 3 on the left side alone along with the one on the bottom right.

Yes there are some breakers that are listed for use with 2 coductors. I am not sure about GE.

This was probably done because there is no room for additional breakers. Depending on the panel tandem breakers may or may not be allowed. I just counted and it looks like it may have 1 too many breakers already.

If the doubles are not allowed this is a relatively easy fix. Join the 2 wires together with a pigtail and attach the pigtail to the breaker.
 
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Old 08-28-09, 08:20 PM
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Yah you see 4th one down on the left, that looks to be what is called a tandem breaker, Although you have 3 wires coming off of that so it is one of the problems. The topic of double lugging is a sketchy one and many times inspectors will even have issues with pigtailing. Usually the same ones that prohibit double lugging. Also you really should have that feeder coming into a breaker that would become your main, as you have more than 6 breakers installed in the panel. I am not sure the brand of that tandem you have in the panel but Seimans does make a non circuit limiting tandem breaker designated U2120NC or something to that affect. whatever the numbers are, just look for the NC (i believe it is NC, but definitely has an N in the product code, where the standard tandems do not have the N or NC). If you look on the notch on the bottom of the breaker, the NC type allows the breaker to go in farther, it is something of a cheater breaker. Because most panels that accept tandems, only do so on part of their lugs, by making the lugs a taller height, it prohibits the standard tandems from being installed, where the shorter lugs allow the normal tandems to work. but the NC type cheat it by making it fit into all spaces. and Seimans breakers would be compatible with this model of Ge panel. (legal mumbojumbo: only if panel is listed to accept Seimans brand breakers.) what that means is don't come crying to me or anyone else if the house burns down, but the overall specs that matter as far as size etc, are identical between the two manufacturers for all intents and purposes (save for slim line GE which is not the case in this panel)

Long story short, grab some of the NC type tandems from seimans sold at home depot and probably other retailers, they go for 14 bux and its a cleaner safer way to do things. If you really want to be safe, open two more spaces and put in a main for this panel. Still though this hinges on the fact that your cheating by putting these tandems in where they probably shouldn't be. I admit I dont know why some panels allow it and some don't. I assume it is for overloading purposes, but if they can sell a 20 space 20 circuit on a 100 amp panel, and a 30 space 100 amp, then why not a 20 space 30 circuit I donno. Marketing?

Also what is going on with the bottom right? is that double lugged for two baseboard heating circuits? Do these breakers ever trip? I have a feeling you may find that you need to put in a new panel or at least another sub.
 
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Old 08-28-09, 08:42 PM
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Mjjstang, are you sure Siemens. OP said GE or are they interchangeable?
Long story short, grab some of the NC type tandems from seimans
 
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Old 08-28-09, 08:42 PM
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Pretty easy fix. Shut off breaker. Remove the two wires on the breaker. Connect pigtail of same size (or larger) to wires with wire nut. Connect pigtail to breaker. Turn on breaker.

The only breaker that I know of that is rated for two wires is a Square D QO.

Seimans breakers are not rated for use in GE panels.
Mjjstang, are you sure Siemens. OP said GE or are they interchangeable?
No. but people do it all the time. Mostly not electricians.

Also, that tandem breaker (fourth down on the left) looks like a Challenger breaker to me. Also not rated for GE panels.

Lastly, there is likely a disconnect outside or another panel with a main. If there is not, then mjjstang is correct and one needs to be installed.
 
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Old 08-28-09, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Mjjstang, are you sure Siemens. OP said GE or are they interchangeable?
Like I stated, They are compatible when the load center is marked to accept them. Of course without calling GE and getting to the right person, it probably won't say it on the box or 99 percent of the people at GE will be like, yah i donno. But people do it every day. GE standard size, (which these are), Cutler hammer BR, westinghouse, Seimans, Bryant, all of these are compatible.

Though Homelines will fit just the same now with these brands, It is still never recommended to mix them. If you got a square D, be it QO (as far as I know, nothing physically will even fit a QO other than QO) or Homeline, you should NOT mix them with other brands. But yes like I stated, the Seimans breakers will fit the GE fullsize panel just fine. But with the disclaimer, (that is often ignored anyway) that the load center should be marked to accept them. It is similar to looking for the UL listing on a 1/2" Ground rod.
 
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Old 08-28-09, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Pretty easy fix. Shut off breaker. Remove the two wires on the breaker. Connect pigtail of same size (or larger) to wires with wire nut. Connect pigtail to breaker. Turn on breaker.

The only breaker that I know of that is rated for two wires is a Square D QO.

Seimans breakers are not rated for use in GE panels. No. but people do it all the time. Mostly not electricians.

Also, that tandem breaker (fourth down on the left) looks like a Challenger breaker to me. Also not rated for GE panels.

Lastly, there is likely a disconnect outside or another panel with a main. If there is not, then mjjstang is correct and one needs to be installed.
As far as the argument goes whether one brand is compatible with the other, I stand by my statement that "if the load center is marked to accept these other brands" then it is OK,

Also forgot to add murray and challanger to the list. Still though, I admit to do it right would be to put in the same brand breaker, but if it is listed it is good.



Not to stray off your main concern, I think the best thing to do would be and I hate saying this, but check with what your local inspector deems correct. Some will argue that nowhere does it say you can not pigtail, and others will say you can't. Short of just upgrading the panel or adding another sub, Or finding GE tandems, of which I am sure you would have to check a supply house, I don't think there really is a concrete answer that will both satisfy an inspector, and be code. (yes in a perfect world, these two missions would be one in the same, but it is not a perfect world, opinions are an imperfect science!)
 
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