Changing Breakers


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Old 03-01-21, 12:42 PM
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Changing Breakers

I have another question about my breakers, (the other is about power when breakers off). When they installed my new panel and breakers they put in a double pole 15 amp breaker. If I want to work on an outlet it seems like I have to shut off most of my outlets and lights since it shuts off 2 breakers. Can I just swap them out for 2 individual 15 amp breakers to work independently?
 
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Old 03-01-21, 01:14 PM
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If the two pole breaker is protecting two circuits via a multiwire branch circuit..... then you need to have both circuits shut down when working on one of them.

When using a multiwire branch circuit...... it can be very dangerous opening the neutral wire during service. That is why both circuits are shut down during serving.
 
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Old 03-01-21, 01:23 PM
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Your terminology is confusing. A double pole breaker is one of the big ones with a wide handle (sorta looks like two breakers with the handle connected together). They are used for 240 volt circuits like electric stoves and air conditioners. You should not have lights and outlets on a double pole breaker, though it could be done.

If I want to work on an outlet it seems like I have to shut off most of my outlets and lights since it shuts off 2 breakers.
What two breakers are you referring to? Are you referring to the double pole breaker? You should have many single pole breakers for outlet and lighting circuits.

 
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Old 03-01-21, 01:36 PM
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Old 03-01-21, 01:36 PM
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By current code.... a multiwire branch circuit must be protected by a two pole breaker.
 
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Old 03-01-21, 01:44 PM
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It is a Homeline Square D DP04075 15 amp breaker...takes up 2 spots. looks like HOM215CP on Amazon or home depot.

This from Schneider website:

Mini circuit breaker, Homeline, 15A, 2 pole, 120/240 VAC, 10 kA AIR, standard type, plug in mount


 

Last edited by crrose; 03-01-21 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 03-02-21, 03:14 AM
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crrose: Something that troubles me at this point (someone else please verify because my eye sight not so good) is the fact that the 15amp two pole breaker has two black wires attached to it. Do you have any conduit going to your panel? If not then that two pole should have either a black and white (which would be 240v) or if it is a MWBC then it should have a red and black at the breaker and the white to the neutral bar.

Are you able to trace by looking at the wires from the two pole breaker to see where the wires are coming into the panel? I am thinking that it may be two separate 120v circuits on the one two pole breaker.. I would think that each of the circuits coming into the panel each have a white wire landing on the neutral bar. Can you confirm this?

I can see that some of the wires have printing on them. This indicates that they are individual wires in conduit. The other ones without printing are coming from romex cable. I can't tell if the 2 pole breaker 15amp wires have printing on them indicating it is within conduit.

Just be careful looking in the panel. It seems pretty clear and easy to trace the wires without having to move any wires.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 08:39 AM
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Yeah not a great picture but that writing is where the electrician put numbered tabs to try to keep order of what wire went to what I think. There are individual black wires to each circuit with their own white wire coming out of conduit. The only wires not in a romex conduit are the blue wires that are for air conditioner and the heavy red/black for the stove on left side.

That's why I was wondering why I couldn't split into individual breakers since they are separate. That one breaker shuts off 18 circuits since it is shutting 2 down when I turn it off.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 08:48 AM
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And if you notice those 2 circuits that are turned off, I can't figure out what they are for. Every outlet and light switch in my house and garage have power going to with these 2 off. If I turn one on it immediately shuts off. I have that question in another post.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 10:50 AM
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If I turn one on it immediately shuts off. I have that question in another post.
If the breaker trips immediately this indicates a dead short.

That one breaker shuts off 18 circuits since it is shutting 2 down when I turn it off.
What?

that writing is where the electrician put numbered tabs to try to keep order of what wire went to what I think.
I'm not talking about the little white tabs wrapped around the wires I am talking about the wires where the insulation has printing on them.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 11:56 AM
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What I meant from the breaker shuts off 18 circuits, I mean since it is a double pole breaker I am basically turning 2 breakers off at the same time which controls 18 outlets and lights...would be nice to have individual breakers so I can turn off only what's needed and not half the house.

As far as the writing, I'll go check again but I think that one white wire on top is the solar neutral but I will double check.

Ok I just checked. The only wires that have writing on them are for the solar that was added. all the other white, black and red wires are all in sheathing.

So can I replace that double 15 amp with 2 single amp breakers or do both have to be shut off at same time.

It also looks like there are white wires connected to the breakers in the picture but they are all connected to the bus bar, only red and black wires ( and blue for air conditioner) are connected to breakers.
 

Last edited by crrose; 03-02-21 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Add info
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Old 03-02-21, 04:52 PM
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It looks like you've verified that the white wires that are associated with the black wires on that double breaker are connected to the neutral bar. If that is correct..... you can remove the 2P15A breaker and use two single 15A breakers.

You'd have to trace circuit 1 and 9 to find out why they interact with each other.
It also looks like your panel is loaded with aluminum cable. Make sure No-Ox is used on the wire to breaker connection.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 05:09 PM
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Two pole breakers are not strictly for 240 volt circuits. They can also be used for multiwire branch circuits that are 120 volt sharing a common neutral.
 
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Old 03-03-21, 04:59 PM
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@Pjmax: Thanks because I really want to have separate breakers. House was built in 1970 so pretty much everything is aluminum which I absolutely hate. Too bulky in the boxes and those alumicons are like $3.50 each and CO/ALR outlets and switches are expensive and you can't find any dimmers or double switches...Pain in the butt.

@Pcboss: How can I tell if they are sharing a common neutral?
 
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Old 03-03-21, 05:04 PM
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How can I tell if they are sharing a common neutral?
We pretty much covered that.

Look at the two black wires that are currently connected to the double breaker.
Can you see the white wire that belongs to each black wire ?
I believe you said yes and that the two white wires both went to the neutral bar.
That means that one neutral is not shared.....as there are two of them.
 
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Old 03-04-21, 11:11 AM
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By current code.... a multiwire branch circuit must be protected by a two pole breaker.
I am not familiar with the 2020 code. Did they do away with the preferred method of using two single pole breakers with an approved handle tie on multiwire branch circuits?
 
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Old 03-04-21, 06:33 PM
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A MWBC needs a common means of disconnect. This can be a 2 pole or a handle tie between 2 single pole breakers.
 
 

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