Replacing a breaker with GCFI breaker

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  #1  
Old 06-04-12, 11:42 AM
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Replacing a breaker with GCFI breaker

I will be installing a hot tub shower unit that uses 2x 110V outlets. One is the 20 AMP, the other is 30 AMP (steam generator). We have a dedicated 20 amp outlet already for a wall air conditioner, that has it's own breaker in the panel. I decided to replace the breaker with a GCFI breaker myself. My question is: are all breakers interchangeable between the brands? Or simply put, which GFI breaker should I buy? If this helps, I took a picture that's on the door of my panel.

I am not sure if I will be doing the 110V, 30 AMP to hook up the steam generator, but I would like additional opinion whether such thing is possible and most of all, safe. There is electric base heater in the room that we no longer use that takes 220V 2x20 AMP and I might have a professional to make an outlet and put it a 30 amp gcfi breaker.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-04-12, 12:02 PM
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First off residential voltages haven't been 110v in many decades. Nominal voltage is 120v. That and the question:
are all breakers interchangeable between the brands?
Tells me you need to buy a book like Wiring Simplified available at home stores, Amazon, and other places before doing any electrical. You need to learn the basics first.

To answer your question all breaker are panel specific. Even within brands there may be specific requirements for a particular model.

electric base heater in the room that we no longer use that takes 220V 2x20 AMP and I might have a professional to make an outlet and put it a 30 amp gcfi breaker.
A 20 amp circuit would most likely have #12 wire. You need #10 at a minimum.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-04-12 at 01:34 PM.
  #3  
Old 06-04-12, 12:25 PM
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Ray has given you some good information on both the undersized wiring and the needs for the breakers to be on the specified list on the panel label.
 
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Old 06-04-12, 12:37 PM
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Your panel was made by Challenger. To the extent that company still exists, it is owned by (Westinghouse)/Cutler-Hammer/Eaton. I would check with the largest supplier of Cutler-Hammer products in the area. Taking along a clear picture of the label might help. A clear picture of the portion of the label that lists the compatible breakers might help even more, both here and at the supply house.
 
  #5  
Old 06-04-12, 12:58 PM
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I've zoomed in and here's what the sticker reads:

USE CHALLENGER CIRCUIT BREAKERS TYPE A, C, HAGF, GFCB AND SUBFEED LUG KIT TL12-12, MLK2150, WLK2200C, USE WESTINGHOUSE CIRCUIT BREAKERS TYPE BRSN AND BRWH.

Would this breaker fit my panel?

WESTINGHOUSE GFCB120 20 AMP 1-POLE GFI PLUG IN BREAKER | eBay
 
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Old 06-04-12, 01:17 PM
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Typing in what you saw in the breaker information portion of the panel label is not the same as posting a picture of that portion. The most effective way for us to help you is for us to be able to see what you're seeing.

That said, the answer to your question,
Would this breaker fit my panel?
is that I don't know, but I'd guess not. The only breakers known to work in your panel - which involves more than just fitting into the slot - are those specifically listed on the label. The one you pointed to not only isn't listed, none of its four designation letter-codes matches those given on the label for Westinghouse breakers.

As Ray said earlier,
all breakers are panel specific. Even within brands there may be specific requirements for a particular model of panel].
As I said earlier,
I would check with the largest supplier of Cutler-Hammer products in the area.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-04-12 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Correct my typo in quote.
  #7  
Old 06-04-12, 02:46 PM
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Another picture that could be zoomed in.



this appears to be a better fit:

Cutler-Hammer Circuit Breaker GFCB120 # 786679371206
 
  #8  
Old 06-04-12, 04:43 PM
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My question is: are all breakers interchangeable between the brands? Or simply put, which GFI breaker should I buy?
The Cutler-Hammer BR series is the correct U.L. Listed breaker for use in your Challenger panel.
 
  #9  
Old 06-04-12, 07:01 PM
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Looks like UL says to use Cutler Hammer:
http://www.eaton.com/ecm/idcplg?IdcS...=1060734795587
 
  #10  
Old 06-08-12, 03:19 PM
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I received the hot tub and noticed that the 20 amp plug already has a GFI protection, like a plug on a hair dryer. Would adding a GCFI circuit breaker cause any problems, like interference or causing it to reset unnecessarily? Thanks.
 
  #11  
Old 06-08-12, 05:12 PM
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You could try it, but I think eventually you'll have a problem having two GFCI devices on the same circuit.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 05:38 PM
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Actually the plug is an RCD. Similar function to a GFCI bur works a bit different so I don't think they will interfere with each other but that is a guess. The RCD device detects current leakage to a metal shield embedded in the AC cord. It is to prevent an AC with a damaged cord from working. The GFCI measures the difference in voltage between the two sides of the line to detect a general current leakage not specifically a damaged cord.
 
  #13  
Old 06-08-12, 05:47 PM
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I'm wondering if $450 is a decent price to replace a 20 amp circuit breaker to a GCFI and running a #10 wire for a new outlet, with 30 amp GCFI breaker. Run is about 30 feet from the panel to the outlet most of which is in a crawl space.
 
  #14  
Old 06-08-12, 06:33 PM
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Does the manufacturers instructions require GFCI protection?
 
  #15  
Old 06-08-12, 06:35 PM
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yes. wouldn't I want it myself, just in case?

I think I finally figured out that my panel will take GFCB model# breakers, either cutler-hammer or westinghouse, however, the only single pole cutler hammer I could find is QBGF1030 for the 30 amp. I double our local hardware stores would have a greater selection than available online.
 

Last edited by xxhaimbondxx; 06-08-12 at 06:56 PM.
  #16  
Old 06-08-12, 07:26 PM
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It might be cheaper to install a subpanel for both circuits that use much cheaper GFCI breakers. About cheapest would be a GE subpanel though some here don't like the aluminum buses. 30amp GFCI $50-60, 20amp GFCI ~$15, GE breaker box 60a $30-50. Since both breakers will be 120 volt a 30amp 240v feed from your existing panel using 10-3 should be adequate.
 
  #17  
Old 06-09-12, 02:48 PM
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I like that idea. however, I found a 20amp breaker for less than $30. All I need is to find the right 30A breaker that will work with my panel and I probably could wire the outlet myself.
 
  #18  
Old 06-10-12, 06:22 AM
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Just buy or order the proper single pole 30 amp GFI breaker, it's much cheaper and a lot easier than a subpanel.

Frost - C-H GFCB130 1P 30A 120/240V GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT BREAKER EATON CUTLER HAMMER
 
  #19  
Old 06-10-12, 07:41 AM
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O/P wrote:
I'm wondering if $450 is a decent price to replace a 20 amp circuit breaker to a GCFI and running a #10 wire for a new outlet, with 30 amp GCFI breaker.
The $450 figure is the only reason I suggested the subpanel. On re-reading perhaps he was referring to a quote with labor from an electrician.
 
  #20  
Old 06-10-12, 01:14 PM
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Yes Ray, $450 is the quote for the total job I received, however, I have doubts about that company. The estimator that came by didn't know if a 30a single pole breakers exist. He had to call his supplier and eventually, had me googling for it. He also changed his mind a couple of times on whether GFI breaker would interfere with a GFI type plug I have on the cord already and said that the outlet would definitely interfere, but the breaker would not. I will be seeing someone else on Monday.

Joe, I couldn't find that breaker before. If it 100% fits my panel, then I'm all set to go. Thanks!

Also, could I use surface outlets, like the ones used for dryers or electric stoves?
 

Last edited by xxhaimbondxx; 06-10-12 at 02:38 PM.
  #21  
Old 06-10-12, 04:13 PM
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Joe, I couldn't find that breaker before. If it 100% fits my panel, then I'm all set to go. Thanks!
I don't know why it wouldn't work perfectly, it's from the BR series line of Cutler-Hammer. Sometimes you just need to know where to look.

https://images.tradeservice.com/FRKH...00068_3_67.pdf
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:48 PM
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Great. Would using this outlet be acceptable per code?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]1075[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 06-10-12, 07:52 PM
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No. The receptacle must be for the rated voltage and amperage. You must have a 5-30R. Amazon.com: Eagle Electric Surface Mount Receptacle Outlet 5-30 30A 125V 1231: Home Improvement
Name:  5-30R.gif
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Last edited by ray2047; 06-10-12 at 08:07 PM.
  #24  
Old 06-10-12, 08:08 PM
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Then it would be something like this: Eagle Electric Surface Mount Receptacle Outlet 5-30 30A 125V 1231

But placing it outside the wall is generally acceptable, since this is how our dryer and stove are set up?
 
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Old 06-12-12, 07:32 PM
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Getting conflicting info from different electricians. One guy says it's okay to use the surface plug and bring the wire along the wall from the crawl space. The other says that he would hardwire the 30A cord instead of an outlet, and cut away the GFI protected plug on the 20A cord and possibly hardwire that one also. Both of them are very reputable companies in our town.

Is it ok to hardwire the 30A cord using wire nuts inside a surface box? This would save me probably $50 on the outlet and the plug, which I have trouble finding as well.
 
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Old 06-12-12, 07:50 PM
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The other says that he would hardwire the 30A cord instead of an outlet, and cut away the GFI protected plug on the 20A cord
It is not designed to be hard wired. Not only would you be defeating the UL rating but defeating a safety device installed by the manufacturer. Burn his phone number and never call him again.

Nothing wrong with surface mount but in general cable can not be run unprotected where it might be subjected to damage.
 
  #27  
Old 06-12-12, 07:55 PM
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I've decided to wire it myself. The last quote I received was almost $1000.

This is the plug I've ordered. It looks like it could be turned any of the 4 ways to accommodate the wiring and fit the 5-30R receptacle.

Amazon.com: Leviton 9530-P 30 Amp, 125 Volt, Straight Blade, Plug, Industrial Grade, Grounding, Angle, Black: Home Improvement

Also, ordered 10/2 UF wire since it will be running in the crawl space. Hopefully it's not overkill.
 
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Old 06-12-12, 07:59 PM
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Yes, that looks fine if the device comes with a cord. If not I would have suggested a cord set.

10-2 UF is fine to the receptacle. If the device does not come with a cord then you will need 3-10 SO or SOJ cable between the device and the plug.
 
  #29  
Old 06-12-12, 08:06 PM
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The 30A steam generator comes with a pretty thick cord, but without the plug, just the bare forks for each wire.
 
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Old 06-12-12, 09:29 PM
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Then the plug you posted should be okay.
 
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Old 07-07-12, 05:52 PM
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This is finally coming together and I already got all the parts and run the wire to the bedroom. The only thing remaining is to replace and install the gfci breakers, which is what I'm planning to do tomorrow morning.

However, I think I screwed up big time. While prepping the end of the wire and removing the wire jacket, I accidentally made a small incision to the neutral wire. It did cut to the copper. Is there anyway to repair this, other than rewiring the whole circuit? I was planning to use electrical tape or even perhaps sliding a small piece over it of the wire jacket. Help!
 
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Old 07-07-12, 06:52 PM
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If possible cut the wire just behind the nick and wire nut or Polaris on a new length of white wireIf not possible use white electrical tape if you can find some or white heat shrink tubing if you can find some. Last resort use black.
 
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Old 07-07-12, 09:08 PM
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I would skin the outer sheath another half inch and slide a white heat shrink over the conductor. There is also liquid electrical tape that can be brushed on.
 
  #34  
Old 07-08-12, 06:40 AM
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Also, once I took of the panel, I noticed that ground and neutral wires are attached to both buses. Most screws have two wires attached to them. Supposedly this was a updated panel a few years ago. Any problems with that arrangement? I have tested the breakers and they reset all the times.
 
  #35  
Old 07-08-12, 07:05 AM
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I noticed that ground and neutral wires are attached to both buses. Most screws have two wires attached to them. Supposedly this was a updated panel a few years ago.
Probably quite a few years back since Challenger has been gone quite a while now. The label in the panel should tell you how many wires are allowed under each screw, but typically it is one neutral wire per screw and up to two ground wires per screw.
 
  #36  
Old 07-08-12, 10:40 AM
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I rearranged a few grounds to free up a neutral for my outlet, however, there are still plenty of neutrals pairs remaining under one screw. Some are neutral with ground pairs under one screw.

Based on my research, this is not allowed, however, the only explanation I could find is that neutral could get loose and disconnect. Can anyone explain the safety issue if I leave it the way they were installed? Also, apparently you can wirenut neutrals, but still have to have one per screw.
 
  #37  
Old 07-08-12, 10:46 AM
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Putting the neutral and ground wire from the same circuit under the same screw was common at one time, but today not technically correct. Personally, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if they are all tight. If this was a new installation, by all means, I would say do it right.
 
  #38  
Old 07-08-12, 11:19 AM
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Thanks Joe, you certainly been my right hand man on this install and possibly saved me a few hundred dollars along with everyone else on this forum. I really appreciate it.

I wonder if I would be able to do all the plumbing myself if I relied just on professional advice and did the work myself.
 
  #39  
Old 07-08-12, 02:19 PM
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No problem at all, I enjoy reading this forum and helping people as much as a lot of other sharp electrical guys who contribute regularly. Good luck wrapping up your project.
 
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Old 07-17-12, 04:15 PM
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The hot tub is in place and the plumbers are piping the unit. I noticed that one of the motors have a single green wire coming off it. No mention of it in the manual. I could only assume it's ground, however, where would I attach it to? Both the power cords already have ground. What your intuition suggests?
 
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