Replacing an existing breaker with a gfi breaker

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  #1  
Old 10-12-12, 12:56 PM
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Replacing an existing breaker with a gfi breaker

I am trying to complete a swim spa installation and in the process I have to replace an existing breaker because it feeds an outdoor light that is closer than the 20 feet requirement to the highest maximum water level. My question is this edition was added and it looks like the builder ran four wire cable and powered the outlets and lights seperately using the red for one and black for the other. I assume this is acceptable? He had each of them running to one side of a brd2020 cutler hammer breaker. After isolating the one that feeds the light in question, I tried to install it to a gfci breaker by adding the neutral and power to the breaker as instructed. It instantly trips. My question is threefold:

Is it ok to wire the edition as it has been done?

Is my GFI breaker tripping because I am using the neutral that is shared with this other circuit?

Should I install 2 GFIs to accomodate both circuits or is there a double GFI I can use to replace the BRD2020?

I have frequently read many posts in forumns on this site leading to me to develop a confidence level of those who frequently contribute. For the most part, I feel like the majority of people I have read are respectful and professional. So I have decided to post my first question to the forumn.

I appreciate any help or advice.

Best Regards,

KC_Deuce
 
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Old 10-12-12, 01:12 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Yes, your GFCI tripped due to the shared neutral in the MWBC. It would be easier although a little more pricey to install a double 20 amp GFCI breaker in place of the one you have, as even using two GFCI receptacles would still trip out. I think it would be worth the bucks. That will provide protection downline from the panel. Example only: 20 Amp 2 in. Double-Pole Type BR GFCI Circuit Breaker-GFCB220CS at The Home Depot
 
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Old 10-12-12, 01:44 PM
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Great! Thanks Chandler; I just found one on Amazon for $58.00 with 2-day shipping. It will be here Tuesday morning. I wasn't sure I wanted to invest in a double pull GFI until I was certain it would be correct in this application. As it turns out, this will only be about $7 more expensive than the original that I am returning to Lowes.

Have a great day and I appreciate the prompt reply!
 
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Old 10-12-12, 03:48 PM
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Keep us posted as to how it all turns out. Glad you could find one for half price
 
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Old 10-12-12, 06:06 PM
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My question is this edition was added and it looks like the builder ran four wire cable and powered the outlets and lights seperately using the red for one and black for the other. I assume this is acceptable? He had each of them running to one side of a brd2020 cutler hammer breaker.
What the builder ran was a multi wire branch circuit, but there is a problem and it isn't acceptable. That circuit should have been connected to a 20 amp 2 pole breaker (BR220), but you stated it was connected to a BRD2020 which is a tandem single pole breaker.

Eaton - BD2020, Duplex Circuit Breakers, Residential, Power Distribution - Platt Electric Supply

Why does this need to be GFI protected from a GFI breaker? My thought is that the circuit should be powered from a 2 pole breaker and the outlets could be protected by a GFI receptacle. I am not sure if the lights would need GFI protection without consultig a code book. If they do need the protection, there are more cost effective ways of accomplishing this than adding a 2 pole GFI breaker.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 05:12 AM
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Joe is right on the BRD thingy. I missed that. You only need a single breaker, but the wires need to be pigtailed and not placed under one screw, unless the breaker has the accommodating two wire plate. Joe, I like protecting all the wiring to a spa or pool or other water feature from the panel, and it may just be a personal preference. The lighting may or may not need protection, but if it is too close to the spa, and if it could tip into the spa, then it needs protection.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 07:05 AM
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Joe, I like protecting all the wiring to a spa or pool or other water feature from the panel, and it may just be a personal preference. The lighting may or may not need protection, but if it is too close to the spa, and if it could tip into the spa, then it needs protection.
My personal opinion is that I tend to agree with you and if it were my own I would also use a 2 pole GFI breaker, but I have been around the industry long enough to know that most people look for the most cost effective way to accomplish the end result. The NEC many times offers more than one way to accomplish that end result.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 01:02 PM
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You can't share neutrals between GFI circuits....period. Therefore no GFI breaker will works correctly without running a second neutral. You'll need to use standard breakers and the GFI protection at the light/receptacle end.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 03:50 PM
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PJ, not if the neutral is not shared. If he protects both circuits via a single GFCI, pigtailing the circuits, it would properly protect things.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 12:21 AM
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Yup.....you are correct. But if he combines the circuits into one, and uses one breaker for both then it becomes one 20 amp circuit as opposed to two 20 amp circuits like it is now.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 03:27 AM
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Yeah, but I figure he only has one light on one circuit, it may slip in undetected We'll see how it turns out, I hope. Sure would beat running a new cable, or an additional neutral, IMO.
 
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