Results 1 to 29 of 29
  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default 2 circuits one breaker

    Single family home built in 07. This is the distribution panel, in the master bedroom. The panel is messy (paint inside also)but you can see how they ran one wire out of the breaker and spliced it, creating two circuits. I call this out, but today the sparky said it's fine.

    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Sparky is right.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,899

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    but you can see how they ran one wire out of the breaker and spliced it, creating two circuits. I call this out, but today the sparky said it's fine.
    If it is on one breaker it is one circuit.

    Pigtailing two conductors like this is commonly done when the breaker is not listed to accept two conductors.

    The electrician is correct.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Ditto to the above answers.

    One circuit.

    That's how you fix multiple tapping - connect them together with a wire nut and now you only have one conductor going to the breaker.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Thanks. I told him the panel was messy and he was not too happy


  6. #6
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    Thanks. I told him the panel was messy and he was not too happy
    Actually the panel is not one that makes you cringe .....

    I wonder what they intend to do with the orange 10 awg nm cable that is not terminated?

    I hate it when I see the interior of a panel spray painted with wall paint ....


  7. #7
    Peter Drougas's Avatar
    Peter Drougas Guest

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Can I have a free lesson here?

    What is the identifying feature on a breaker that would tell me it is acceptable to have two conductors?

    Is there any condition where the pigtail is not acceptable?

    If you can't identify what the pigtail or even double tapped circuit covers, do you write that up as a concern; that it may not be safe or correct. For example: a microwave oven and dishwasher pigtailed or double tapped, whether you can clearly see it, or in theory.

    Thanks for the info!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Drougas View Post
    Can I have a free lesson here?

    What is the identifying feature on a breaker that would tell me it is acceptable to have two conductors?

    Is there any condition where the pigtail is not acceptable?

    If you can't identify what the pigtail or even double tapped circuit covers, do you write that up as a concern; that it may not be safe or correct. For example: a microwave oven and dishwasher pigtailed or double tapped, whether you can clearly see it, or in theory.

    Thanks for the info!
    I'll answer one of your questions. If the breakers can accept two conductors, it should be listed on the breaker. However, in a home inspection, we don't normally pull breakers out to look for such info. One way to familiarize yourself with different types is to go to big box, hardware, electrical supplier stores and pick up different pieces to see whats written on them.

    Here's an example of info on a Square-D identifying it as able to accept two conductors.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    I agree - splicing is allowed. However, shouldn't the pigtail wire be larger (AWG) than the circuit wires? In the case of two #14 wires, the pigtail would calculate to #11 but #10 is the next large standard size.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Roger,
    I think it is for heat tape along the roof.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    Actually the panel is not one that makes you cringe .....

    I wonder what they intend to do with the orange 10 awg nm cable that is not terminated?

    I hate it when I see the interior of a panel spray painted with wall paint ....
    Paint isn't supposed to be there. I don't usually speak code but I'm pretty sure it is not allowed at least as per 2008 NEC - Jerry?

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I agree - splicing is allowed. However, shouldn't the pigtail wire be larger (AWG) than the circuit wires? In the case of two #14 wires, the pigtail would calculate to #11 but #10 is the next large standard size.
    Why? The breaker limits the circuit capacity. And, in the case of #14 the breaker size is limited to 15 AMPs, not the 30 AMPs a #10 pigtail would imply.

    More often than not splicing circuits in a panel is no different than extending a circuit at the other end by adding another receptacle or two. The NEC places no limits on the number of receptacles on a circuit, only the loads applied.

    The real problem here is when required circuits, like bathroom, laundry, and small appliance wind up getting combined with other circuits.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Why? The breaker limits the circuit capacity. And, in the case of #14 the breaker size is limited to 15 AMPs, not the 30 AMPs a #10 pigtail would imply.

    More often than not splicing circuits in a panel is no different than extending a circuit at the other end by adding another receptacle or two. The NEC places no limits on the number of receptacles on a circuit, only the loads applied.

    The real problem here is when required circuits, like bathroom, laundry, and small appliance wind up getting combined with other circuits.
    I have to agree - And I would think it would be a good place to check for an over-amped breaker stuck into to compensate.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    745

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Is that an aluminum wire used for the neutral bar? It looks like they have not placed all of the conductor under the terminal either.


  15. #15
    David Newton's Avatar
    David Newton Guest

    Unhappy Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    As far as I know Sq. D is the only mfr. that has breakers listed for two terminations [things change, I could be wrong].

    In this photo [hopefully it is clear enough] you can see how the termination lug for the Sq. D breaker is designed for two conductors.

    This is covered by NEC 110.14(A).

    The use of the term 'tap' as applied to actual splices is a misnomer and suggests a very different type of connection. Connecting multiple wires together, all the same size, is simply a splice.

    The subject of taps is covered in Art. 240 under section 240.21 and covers a multitude of approved scenarios.

    A tap as defined in section 240.2 is: "...a tap conductor is defined as a conductor, other than a service conductor, that has overcurrent protection ahead of its point of supply that exceeds the value permitted for similar conductors that are protected as described elsewhere in 240.4."

    Not real clear is it?

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Last edited by David Newton; 03-05-2010 at 11:01 AM. Reason: spelling

  16. #16
    David Newton's Avatar
    David Newton Guest

    Default Tap

    Here is a photo of a tap.

    Smaller conductors are connected to larger conductors; the larger conductors are protected by an overcurrent device sized correctly.

    The smaller conductors are undersized for the over current device ahead of them; this is permitted if the applicable rules of NEC 240.21 are followed.

    It could be argued that the connection of all these conductors is a violation of section 110.14(A). In the trade this connection is sometimes called a 'monkey fist'...all the conductors are under one split bolt [kearney].

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Mathew,
    You should tell him to replace the panel. If I inspect it when they are selling it I will write it up.

    NEC 2005

    110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work. Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.

    A) Unused openings
    B) Subsurface Enclosures
    C) Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connections.
    Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals,
    insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleansers, abrasives or corrosive residues. There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken, bent, cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical
    action, or overheating.


    2003 IRC
    E3304.6 Integrity of electrical equipment.

    As above with this added…….Foreign debris shall be removed from equipment.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I agree - splicing is allowed. However, shouldn't the pigtail wire be larger (AWG) than the circuit wires? In the case of two #14 wires, the pigtail would calculate to #11 but #10 is the next large standard size.
    No need to. The only thing which is needed is that *all* the conductors be at least as large as necessary for the breaker rating.

    I.e., a 15 amp breaker will protect a #14 AWG conductor going to 2 other #14 AWG conductors just as readily as it would protect those other 2 if multiple tapped into the terminal - protection would still be at 15 amps. Using a #12 AWG conductor from the 2 #14 AWG to the breaker does not allow for the breaker size to be increased, and there is only going to be 15 amps through the #14 conductor off a 15 amp breaker, regardless how many wires it is connected to.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: Tap

    Quote Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
    It could be argued that the connection of all these conductors is a violation of section 110.14(A).

    The better way to state that is that if the connector device (split bolt if that is what it is) is not rated for the number and size of conductors ... then one could try to argue that the connection was not in violation of 110.14(A) ... but we all know that *it would be in violation* if the connector is not rated for the number and size of conductors in the connector.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    As above with this added…….Foreign debris shall be removed from equipment.

    I would never state that ... ... as someone will try and follow YOUR advice, and that could come back to haunt you ...

    Instead, it is better to state that contaminates are not allowed (they are not) and that there is no approved way to remove the contaminates (there is not) and thus the panel interior needs to be replaced - and the enclosure too most likely.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    JP

    I don't state that. The IRC states that. I don't quote or copy code in my reports anyway. I just say it's not allowed by code and needs to be replaced.
    And it seems like I get to say it alot around here in homes built before 1990.


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    2003 IRC
    E3304.6 Integrity of electrical equipment.

    As above with this added…….Foreign debris shall be removed from equipment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    I don't state that. The IRC states that.

    Does not state that as you stated ... i.e., it does not stand alone, it needs the rest of the section to be read and applied with it:
    - From the 2006 IRC. (bold and underlining are mine)
    - - E3304.6 Integrity of electrical equipment. Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners or abrasives, and corrosive residues. There shall not be any damaged parts that might adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken; bent; cut; deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating. Foreign debris shall be removed from equipment.

    With the acknowledgment of the "shall not be" part, the last sentence does not give permission to 'just clean the foreign debris off' as the last sentence would be taken were it used as you did - standing alone without the qualifier in front of what is not allowed.

    Using that by itself is like taking this: In the firing squad all members must be fully prepared for the ultimate result, they must be prepared to shoot to kill. Yes, shoot to kill.

    Then telling someone "Yes, shoot to kill." without giving the context in which it applies.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  23. #23
    John Sullivan's Avatar
    John Sullivan Guest

    Exclamation Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    I'm not an electrician but I don't see any differance between a double tapped breaker weather its at the lug or up the line. I have no idea what loads these circuit have. Im recomending a licensed electricain examine this configuration. We just lost a house in Hendeson last week from a fire starting in the panel with double tabbed breakers.


    Las Vegas


  24. #24
    John Sullivan's Avatar
    John Sullivan Guest

    Question Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Question, are these splices on the pigtails of the AFCI grounds?


  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    I'm not an electrician but I don't see any differance between a double tapped breaker weather its at the lug or up the line.

    Not following what you are saying, so I will explain the difference to try to cover what you might be thinking.

    a) A multiple tapped terminal in not safe as it was not tested for two or more conductors and therefore is PRESUMED to not be safe as all the known facts and logic indicate that - only by testing a given specific terminal can it be shown otherwise.

    b) A multiple tapped terminal designed and tested for two or more conductors IS NOT multiple as the terminal is actually multiple terminals in one, therefore it is not multiple tapped and is considered safe.

    c) If you are referring to wire connectors "or up the line" they are safe as they have been tested and shown to be safe for the purpose, thus they are not multiple tapped terminals, they are connectors designed for that very use.

    Note: When I use the term "safe" in the above I am using it presuming, for example, the connectors are used within their listing, i.e., within the limitations of wire combinations allowable for that connector (such as a wire nut with the allowable number of allowable sizes of conductors) - I *am not* referring to the use of terminals or connectors which are being used outside what they were tested and listed for.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
    John Sullivan's Avatar
    John Sullivan Guest

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Thanks for the feedback Mr. Peck, but once again I'm a licensed property inspector, not an electrician or a code inspector, if I see spliced wires with or without wire nuts especially with different gage wires in a panel which appear to be from two circuits to a single or a single lug side of a dual or piggy back circuit breaker, and not a GFCI or AFCI ground, I'm going to write it up and put the responsibility of the explanation on a licensed electrician. I don't know who tested this circuit or what the total amp draw of the two circuits is. I would rather be overly cautious than be called back for somthing that may not be safe. The only double tapped breakers I don't report on are older panels that have the door bell tranformers sitting in the main panel.

    Have a great wekend


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    The first thing that noted is that the service and ground bars need to cleaned. You may need to replace the panel because the bars are not capable of being cleaned without damage to their respective protective finishes. A good sparky may be able to clean them without damage. It is probably a water based paint that may have gotten down into the physical connections creating a corrosive situation.

    The panel is too small. Zero growth. I am speculating that additional legs were run thus necessitating the splicing of two runs into one to connect to respective breakers. I think that I would like to look at the number of total devices on the combined legs.

    I agree with the comment of sloppy workmanship. Why didn't the sparky move the connections to a less congested area of the panel, and then make the single lead to the breaker a tad longer?


  28. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    Thanks for the feedback Mr. Peck, but once again I'm a licensed property inspector, not an electrician or a code inspector,

    John,

    To be a GOOD "property inspector" one does not need to be an electrician or a code inspector, but, one DOES need a good understanding of what is right and what is not, and to NOT WRITE UP things which are right as that only confuses matters when you write up things which are not right.

    To blindly say you will write up what has been pointed out and explained as not being wrong is not being a good home inspector and is not acting in the best interests of your client.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: 2 circuits one breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    Thanks for the feedback Mr. Peck, but once again I'm a licensed property inspector, not an electrician or a code inspector, if I see spliced wires with or without wire nuts especially with different gage wires in a panel which appear to be from two circuits to a single or a single lug side of a dual or piggy back circuit breaker, and not a GFCI or AFCI ground, I'm going to write it up and put the responsibility of the explanation on a licensed electrician. I don't know who tested this circuit or what the total amp draw of the two circuits is. I would rather be overly cautious than be called back for somthing that may not be safe. The only double tapped breakers I don't report on are older panels that have the door bell tranformers sitting in the main panel.

    Have a great wekend

    John, how do you know what the loads are on any of the circuits in the panel? In many residences well over half of the receptacles are behind beds and other furnature and never see more load than a bedside lamp or electric blanket, if anything. Turning on all the bedroom loads on in a residence usually wouldn't load up a circuit to its' max, and this is normally spread over several circuits. On the other hand, 2 blow driers in adjacent rooms on the same circuit are almost guaranteed to trip a breaker. Which, I suppose, is part of the point. If the breaker that has 2 circuits pigtailed to it is overloaded the breaker will trip. If not, it won't. Same thing is true if the breaker doesn't have pigtailed wires. It could be the same load on either breaker that does this. At some point in the process you have to trust the equipment to do its' job.

    We are, of course, assuming that you dont have any #14 wire pigtailed to a 20 AMP or larger breaker.

    If you have one of the questionable panels all bets are off because a different problem exists.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •