moving a breaker question

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  #1  
Old 12-03-12, 11:44 AM
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moving a breaker question

I want to swap locations of 2 breakers in my panel. My plan was to pop them both out (they are located right below/above each other) and swap locations and be done.
I thought I could just pop out each breaker and move/swap them to the different locations, But I noticed that both of the breakers ( both 110 breakers ) have a black and a red wire coming out of them. I was told that swapping them is quick and easy UNLESS they have a red wire.

Any input would be great..

Thanks...
 
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  #2  
Old 12-03-12, 12:00 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Are the handles tied together with a metal clip? It is possible they should be as they most likely are part of a multiwire branch circuit that utilizes a single neutral. They both must trip off at the same time.
Now, why do you want to move the breakers? I know of no reason to move them when they are adjacent to each other. Enlighten us, please.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 12:40 PM
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They are not tied together with the metal clip. I do have some in the panel like that but the ones I am wanting to swap do not.

I have a interlock kit but only a 110 generator so I am wanting to move breakers so I have what I need powered up when using the Generator if that makes sense.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:27 PM
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they most likely are part of a multiwire branch circuit that utilizes a single neutral.
Follow the red and black wires back to where they enter the panel. If they are two of the three wires in a 3-wire black/red/white set, then that set of wires is a multiwire branch circuit. You can move the two breakers anywhere you like in the panel so long as they wind up one above the other.

They also need to have their handles tied together with a handle tie to assure a common disconnect. That's a rather recent requirement, IIRC, and may not have been in place when your panel was installed, or last upgraded.

What to the panel labels say for those two breakers?

Echo, echo!
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:31 PM
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The fact that you said one has a black wire and one has a red wire lends credence to Chandlers thought that they are for a multi-wire circuit. If so they must be moved as a pair and for safety should have a handle tie added. What do the two breakers control?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 02:50 PM
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Yeah, moving the wires would be easier, though. All you are doing is swapping "phases" for lack of a better term with each single move up and down the panel. If you swap the red and black wires, you will have accomplished what you want, right? Or do the breakers need moving for something else to go there?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 03:33 PM
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Both the breakers that I would be moving have both a red & black wire on them.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 03:53 PM
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Both the breakers that I would be moving have both a red & black wire on them
But you wrote:
But I noticed that both of the breakers ( both 110 [sic] breakers...
Then they are most likely 240 volt two pole breakers not 120 volt single pole breakers. Why do you think they are 120 breakers?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 04:27 PM
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Both the breakers that I would be moving have both a red & black wire on them.
It's starting to sound like you need a new panel before you'll be ready to connect to backup power.

A few breakers are rated to accept two wires and feed two circuits. What make and model is your panel? What is the designation of the breakers. A couple of pictures will help us see what you're looking at. See How To Include Pictures. Include one of the label inside the door and one covering enough area to show the panel with the cables or conduits entering it, as well as ones that show the breakers you're asking about.
 
  #10  
Old 12-03-12, 07:24 PM
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1--in the first pic I am pointing to the breaker I want to swap with the breaker right above it.
2--in the second pic are the breakers.
3--in the third pic I want to swap the positions of breakers 7&9
 

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  #11  
Old 12-03-12, 07:36 PM
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The breaker you are pointing at is a tandem breaker. There should be no problem trading out one tandem breaker with another but I doubt an interlock can be used with a tandem breaker. You probably need a full size breaker. What does the instructions with the interlock say?
 
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Old 12-04-12, 02:36 AM
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How do those breakers indicate "trip" if they don't move? They don't have to move to trip, but you can't physically see it. Seems as though the interlock is in the way until you trip the breakers to the off position and clamp them with it.

What suck egg place to put a neutral buss

I would still move the wires rather than the breakers themselves. That way you don't have to mess with the interlock.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 04:45 AM
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I always thought those were considered "cheater" breakers meant to increase capacity.

But isn't there a risk of overloading the neutral on a 2 circuit 3-wire feed?

Aren't both the red and black wire on that one breaker fed from the same "phase"



.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 05:45 AM
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I always thought those were considered "cheater" breakers meant to increase capacity.

But isn't there a risk of overloading the neutral on a 2 circuit 3-wire feed?

Aren't both the red and black wire on that one breaker fed from the same "phase"
Good point. You are correct if they were used as a multi-wire circuit.

Gooch, you need check to see if you have any multi-wire circuits fed from the same tandem breaker.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047
The breaker you are pointing at is a tandem breaker. There should be no problem trading out one tandem breaker with another but I doubt an interlock can be used with a tandem breaker. You probably need a full size breaker.
Ray, I think the OP is just trying to put all his critical loads one one leg and his non-critical loads on the other:
Originally Posted by gooch70
I have a interlock kit but only a 110 generator so I am wanting to move breakers so I have what I need powered up when using the Generator if that makes sense.
Originally Posted by ray2047
Originally Posted by Halton
But isn't there a risk of overloading the neutral on a 2 circuit 3-wire feed?

Aren't both the red and black wire on that one breaker fed from the same "phase"
Good point. You are correct if they were used as a multi-wire circuit.

Gooch, you need check to see if you have any multi-wire circuits fed from the same tandem breaker.
That's correct. Seeing a red wire on one half of a tandem breaker makes us suspicious that the two hot wires protected by that pair of breakers might share a neutral. If that's the case, it's a condition that shouldn't exist. It's also a condition that appears to have already existed for some time.

Bottom line is that you can swap the breakers in positions 7 and 9, or just swap the hot wires from one to the other, to get the loads you want to back up on the leg you'll be powering with the generator. AND you also need to check for multiwire branch circuits by tracing the wires from the breakers to the point where they enter the panel.

Do that first, and let us know if you find any. If so, it should be resolvable, but it will take a bit more analysis and work.
 
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