Electrical Panel - question

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Old 06-09-12, 12:11 PM
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Electrical Panel - question

Does anyone know what a double tapped breaker is? This was noted on an inspection done for the sale of my house. The house is 8 yrs. old, and all the electrical was done per building code. When the inspector came out, he noted on his report, "Electrical Panel: A double tapped breaker was observed. Have licensed electrician evaluate and repair."

I looked at the electrical panel, and there are about 20 breakers that look "double tapped" if that is what he means. Attached is a photo of my panel. If anyone could shed some light on this, I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 06-09-12, 12:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums! If , and big if, he pulled the breaker panel cover off, he may have observed two wires under one screw of one breaker. That breaker is fine, it is just the two wires must be pigtailed within the box and only a single wire run under the screw. Not rocket science, but if you don't feel comfortable pulling the cover off the box, then, by all means call in an electrician to take care of it. Make sure the electrician enumerates his bill to include a "double tapped" breaker. Now, with all that said, some breakers have provisions for two wires, but they use a different pressure plate that will accept two wires. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 06-09-12, 12:27 PM
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To add to what Larry said...I THINK some breakers can have 2 wires....it depends on the brand and type.

Again...this just a thought...I may be thinking of 2 wires under a ground or neutral bar?
 
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Old 06-09-12, 04:37 PM
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Chandler is correct!!!

Note: I only know of one company that will accept two conductors under one breaker, and thatís Square D. The easiest fix is what Chandler said: Pigtail the two conductors.
 
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Old 06-09-12, 05:02 PM
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Note to SeaOn's note: some Square D QO breakers will accept two wires. Square D Homelines do not.
 
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Old 06-09-12, 06:42 PM
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@ Tolyn,
Thanks!! Learned something new
 
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Old 06-10-12, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Note to SeaOn's note: some Square D QO breakers will accept two wires. Square D Homelines do not.
Actually this is not true. Homelines have the same M/W clamp designed to take two wires as the QO's do. I believe this is true for both lines up to/including 30A (I can't be sure because I don't have any smaller QO's laying around without pulling my outside panel apart). The 40A and higher breakers have the horseshoe clamp for a single wire.


40A QO


20A & 30A HOM


Diagram illustrating two wires per terminal


Terminals


60A HOM
 

Last edited by JerseyMatt; 06-10-12 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 06-10-12, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Karen7404 View Post
Does anyone know what a double tapped breaker is? This was noted on an inspection done for the sale of my house. The house is 8 yrs. old, and all the electrical was done per building code. When the inspector came out, he noted on his report, "Electrical Panel: A double tapped breaker was observed. Have licensed electrician evaluate and repair."

I looked at the electrical panel, and there are about 20 breakers that look "double tapped" if that is what he means. Attached is a photo of my panel. If anyone could shed some light on this, I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!
Siemens does not make any breakers with a proper terminal to accept two wires. So it is technically wrong - although not outwardly hazardous unless the wires are two different sizes.. As Chandler said it is a very easy problem to fix yourself, requiring a small piece of the proper size wire and a wirenut. Just be very safe when you have the main panel cover off.. Electricity is not scary, but the second you don't respect it, it will bite you. If you are skiddish about working with electricity, turn off the main breaker while you work (but don't touch the large heavy wires or terminals at the top - they stay live!).

Just turn off the breaker, loosen the terminal which has the two wires going to it and pull the wires out. Then strip a small piece of wire (14ga if it is a 15A breaker, 12ga if it is a 20A breaker) at both ends. Put the three wires together and twist on a wirenut, then insert the new single wire back into the breaker and tighten the terminal. This is called a 'pigtail' and is code-legal in the US (questionable but arguably legal in Canada).

Then just put the cover back on and turn on the main. Then you can have the inspector amend his report to reflect your repair.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:04 AM
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I will admit, that we do not use Homeline breakers very much, but we did just install one a few months ago and I seemed to remember the breakers were the same as Siemens. Thank you for the correction Matt. First thing to go is the memory.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 07:08 AM
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The majority of the breakers in the OPs panel are easily identifiable as Cutler-Hammer BR series, is it a Cutler-Hammer BR series panel or something else? What are the three breakers in the upper left of the picture with the yellow label on them, are those GFI breakers? I cannot make out exactly what they are. Is the panel installed horizontally (on it's side) or is that just the orientation of the picture?
 
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Old 06-10-12, 09:45 AM
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The ones with yellow seem to be AFCI's, not sure. Second thing to go is sharp eyesight.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 11:58 AM
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That was a brain fart on my end.. For some reason I associated the Eaton breakers with Siemens instead of CH. But CH doesn't make a breaker with a two-wire terminal either, so..

Considering the OP lists their location as OK, I'd have to say it's just the orientation of the picture.. The sideways panel is a Canadian thing.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 03:21 PM
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Considering the OP lists their location as OK, I'd have to say it's just the orientation of the picture.. The sideways panel is a Canadian thing.
That was exactly my thinking, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to ask. You run into some strange things in this world.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 03:24 PM
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The ones with yellow seem to be AFCI's, not sure. Second thing to go is sharp eyesight.
I was thinking GFI breakers, but the panel schedule indicates bedrooms so I have to agree on the AFCI opinion. I can just make out the Eaton name on the breakers. Agree on the eyesight.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 04:27 PM
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Great, so i didnít learn anything new
 
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