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  1. #1
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    Default Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    When you guys are out on an inspection, and you find double tapped circuits in the panel, and the potential buyer asks what kinds of problems they might have as a result of these double taps, what do you say?

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    John Thompson
    Shelter Works Home Inspections, LLC
    Missoula, MT

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    When you guys are out on an inspection, and you find double tapped circuits in the panel, and the potential buyer asks what kinds of problems they might have as a result of these double taps, what do you say?
    Fire comes to mind!

    If the breaker is not designed for two circuits I tell them this.

    The breaker is only made and designed for one wire. If you add a second wire then the connection will not be as it was designed to be with just one wire. One wire will be held tighter and have a better connection than the other. This can cause heat and arcing and a possible fire.

    That is pretty much what I tell them and what goes in the report.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 07-29-2010 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Spellin
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Fire comes to mind!
    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Possible loosening and arcing,

    Worst case is death.

    Death can be caused by fire (see above posts) or loose connections (see above posts, but also consider that life saving equipment may be plugged into that "loose connection" circuit and could cause that equipment to fail or not operate).

    Best case is that you find it and correct it before the worst case happens.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Would you say that the loosening could occur as a result of the copper conductor expanding and contracting from temperature change?

    John Thompson
    Shelter Works Home Inspections, LLC
    Missoula, MT

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    The problem is that the second wire absorbs some of the heat sent to the breaker, making it trip later than it should, and allowing for a possible fire at the short circuit location. Wherever that may be.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    I say the breaker in question has two wires connected to it, is designed for one wire, and needs to be repaired by a licensed electrician. I go on to say that the two wires can overheat at the connection due to the design of the terminal if not repaired. If the breaker is designed for two wires then I say nothing. I say nothing about fire or death in any of my reports. I do give links to web sites so people can do their own research if they so desire.


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    On top of the more important safety issues mentioned above, you also have the issue of potential nuisance breaker tripping.


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    Would you say that the loosening could occur as a result of the copper conductor expanding and contracting from temperature change?
    That is a possibility....

    It is an easy fix for an electrician. Around my area the common repair is to pigtail the two lines into one so you only have one wire on the lug. Another repair is to add an additional breaker, either two half size breakers or if space permits a full size breaker.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    This is what I put in my report It is a canned statement since I see this a lot

    Double tapped breaker(s) noted. In general only one conductor (wire) should be connected to any breaker, fuse or panel lug unless terminals are rated for this use. Double tapping can cause one or both wires to have poor contact and/or cause circuit overloading. Advise evaluation and repairs by qualified electrician

    Tom McDonald
    McDonald Home Inspections LLC


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Please correct me if I'm wrong cause I'm new around here and just learning....but if I see even one wire connected to a circuit breaker terminal I call it out as a defect in need of correction....cause wont the vinyl insulation prevent a proper connection.

    In the TYPE electrical panel in LOCATION, two conductors are improperly connected to a circuit breaker terminal designed to hold only one conductor. Two conductors connected to a terminal designed to hold only one conductor, may come loose over time resulting in overheating, arching and possibly fire. This is referred to as a "double tap" and is prohibited by both the electrical panel manufacturers and building standards and should be corrected.



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wayne soper
    The problem is that the second wire absorbs some of the heat sent to the breaker, making it trip later than it should, and allowing for a possible fire at the short circuit location. Wherever that may be.

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Did you make that up?
    I wondered that as well. I don't think it is the heat in the wire that causes the breaker to trip but the current going through the breaker causes heat IN the breaker and THAT makes it trip.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Robert,
    You are reading way to much into this. We are Home Inspectors not electricians. Our job is to identify defects and not what caused them or how to fix them on Read the ASHI Standards. Use this comment and you will not get in trouble.

    "Double tapped breaker(s) noted. In general only one conductor (wire) should be connected to any breaker, fuse or panel lug unless terminals are rated for this use. Double tapping can cause one or both wires to have poor contact and/or cause circuit overloading. Advise evaluation and repairs by qualified electrician"

    You have identified a defect and advised evaluation by an electrician. JOB DONE. If you mention fire hazard you will loose that real estate agent. You could say something like "This is a possible safety concern."

    Keep in mind that some breakers are desighned for two wires such as "Square D"

    Sorry to vent I just left the house from H###.


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Well said, Tom M. HI's would do themselves well not to include the why's, but only that a particular installation is not code complaint.
    Including the reasoning, or assumed reasoning for the code cited only leads to discussion and debate on the 'codes' merit.

    Even as an Electrical Inspector, I will not debate the code reasoning, save for a contractor time to time and/or on a site such as this.
    Bob Smit, County EI


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mcdonald View Post
    You have identified a defect and advised evaluation by an electrician. JOB DONE. If you mention fire hazard you will loose that real estate agent.

    If you lose the agent over trying to protect THEIR client as well as YOUR client, then you never really had that real estate agent anyway and it would be in your best interest to lose that real estate agent.

    The home inspectors job is to not only find what is wrong but to advise their clients as to potential problems which may arise from what is found wrong, as well as recommending that the problems be corrected.

    The home inspector would look like a fool using your statement whenever they found a multiple tap and it turned out that the breaker was one which was actually approved for use with two conductors - it is FAR MORE IMPORTANT to learn which types of breakers are rated for two conductors at the terminal.

    I found that I got MORE client referrals by properly WARNING THEM of potential dangers than by puddy footing around trying to dance with real estate agents. I think you are doing a disservice not only to your clients but to home inspectors in general by those actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    HI's would do themselves well not to include the why's, but only that a particular installation is not code complaint.
    Including the reasoning, or assumed reasoning for the code cited only leads to discussion and debate on the 'codes' merit.
    I only partially agree with that. If the HI know of what they are talking about, go for it, but ... if you do not know, then forgo it.

    Even as an Electrical Inspector, I will not debate the code reasoning, save for a contractor time to time and/or on a site such as this.
    I wish it was that easy when doing code inspections, I have found that most contractors need some explanation for them to understand.

    Where I am doing all the inspections, the contractors are learning the code, the very same code they should already know. They are also learning that "The rest of the county does not require that." does not work here either, that when they submit documentation for a permit, and that documentation is approved, THAT documentation AND the code ARE what they will be held to.

    Just last Thursday I had an a/c contractor call and ask to show him in the code where the stuff was that I wrote up. I told him I would do even better than that, that it was in the engineering HE SUBMITTED to the town. I explained what was in that engineering and he said "Oh, I did not read that engineering, guess I had better start reading what I submit.", WELL ... DUH!

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Well said, Tom M. HI's would do themselves well not to include the why's, but only that a particular installation is not code complaint.
    Including the reasoning, or assumed reasoning for the code cited only leads to discussion and debate on the 'codes' merit.

    Even as an Electrical Inspector, I will not debate the code reasoning, save for a contractor time to time and/or on a site such as this.
    Bob Smit, County EI
    Bob, most of us HIs are generalists and try to stay away from using the word "code" in our reports.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Which breakers ARE designed for two connectors?

    How can I identify them as being so designed?

    Also, it's my understanding that IF the breaker were designed for two conductors, the breaker must be sized to serve each conductor individually. Is this correct?

    For example, if a #12 and a #14 were attached to a 20A breaker (designed for two conductors), the arrangement would be overfused.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Peake View Post
    Which breakers ARE designed for two connectors?

    How can I identify them as being so designed?
    Familiarity with the breakers helps greatly. Go to a hardware store and look for a label on the side of the breaker. If rated for two conductors it will show the number and sizes that it can be used with. Square D and some C-H are listed for use with more than one conductor in the 15 and 20 amp sizes.

    Also, it's my understanding that IF the breaker were designed for two conductors, the breaker must be sized to serve each conductor individually. Is this correct?

    For example, if a #12 and a #14 were attached to a 20A breaker (designed for two conductors), the arrangement would be overfused.
    In your example that would be wrong. The breaker would need to be sized to protect the smallest conductor connected to it. In this case it would need to be a 15 amp.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Peake View Post
    Which breakers ARE designed for two connectors?

    How can I identify them as being so designed?
    They would be identified. Some photo examples of plates on same are sprinkled throughout this forum. You might try using the search feature here to identify some posts and topic strings for examples.


    {quote=Joseph Peake;139999]

    Also, it's my understanding that IF the breaker were designed for two conductors, the breaker must be sized to serve each conductor individually. Is this correct?

    For example, if a #12 and a #14 were attached to a 20A breaker (designed for two conductors), the arrangement would be overfused.[/quote]

    Yes, generally, 120VAC 14AWG copper (and if copper clad aluminum or aluminim 12AWG) branch circuit wiring would require 15A protection.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Peake View Post
    Which breakers ARE designed for two connectors?

    How can I identify them as being so designed?
    Some of the Square D breakers are designed for two wires. They're the only ones I know of.



    Two wire openings under one screw.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    [quote=Jerry Peck;139934]If you lose the agent over trying to protect THEIR client as well as YOUR client, then you never really had that real estate agent anyway and it would be in your best interest to lose that real estate agent.

    The home inspectors job is to not only find what is wrong but to advise their clients as to potential problems which may arise from what is found wrong, as well as recommending that the problems be corrected.

    The home inspector would look like a fool using your statement whenever they found a multiple tap and it turned out that the breaker was one which was actually approved for use with two conductors - it is FAR MORE IMPORTANT to learn which types of breakers are rated for two conductors at the terminal.

    Jerry,

    Some of the earlier posts were mentioning FIRE and DEATH. I am not putting that in my report, This issue is tagged as a a safety concern in my report.

    I am not a fool and if the breaker is rated for two conducters this is a non issue and is not mentioned or reported on.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    All too often, I find that "Uncle Bob" has double tapped. Rarely do I see an electrician do so, except for perhaps, the utility outlet at the panel. As such, I am not aware of how much load that that breaker may need to accept.(outlets, lights, etc). Also, I can usually bet on seeing other electrical deficiencies as I move through the house after I first see the double tap. I feel comfortable in recommending that a qualified electrician evaluate the double tap, whether or not the breaker is designed to do so. ...just my 2 cents.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Schade View Post
    Rarely do I see an electrician do so.

    Doing my AHJ code inspections, I see it done by electricians several times a week, depending on what type of inspections I am doing. Now, *I* did not *see* the *electrician* doing the work, however, the electrician did pull the permit, did say they did the work, did call in for an inspection, did not say they did not do that, and did go back and correct it ... sooooo ... ... I feel confident in saying the "electricians" did those multiple taps I see.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Jerry, I never see new installations with double tapping. Might be a Florida thing but are you feeling that I'm over cautious or skeptical of an electrician's (if indeed it was an electrician) work? To be clear, I'm talking about average resale homes here where the permits are not posted on the dead front. Also, as mentioned, I generally see other deficiencies as well, usually, because upgrades have been performed on the home (hence the double tapping). What's the harm in sparky checking the double taps while he's there?
    I do however, understand your point in "depending on the inspection".
    At the end of the day, your 2 cents and my 2 cents......barely make a nickel.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Schade View Post
    Jerry, I never see new installations with double tapping.
    I'm referring to things you probably see every day as a result of REPLACEMENTS on existing structures, such as at a/c disconnects, panels, and the like.

    The only difference is that I KNOW the multiple tapping was done by electricians and you DO NOT know that it was not.

    What's the harm in sparky checking the double taps while he's there?
    Nothing, and there is no harm in expecting that the electrician was not the one who did the multiple tapping to start with.

    I think it is truly FOOLISH for any HI to think that it was done by a home owner and not a licensed contractor. It is best that the HI NOT MAKE THAT DETERMINATION and simply state that the work is "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code", then let the chips fall where they may.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
    Ralph Schade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Point taken Jerry, but you won't see the work "code" in my report other than in my disclaimer.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    "word"


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I think it is truly FOOLISH for any HI to think that it was done by a home owner and not a licensed contractor. It is best that the HI NOT MAKE THAT DETERMINATION and simply state that the work is "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code", then let the chips fall where they may.

    I take exception to your "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code" remarks. This thread is about double taping a breaker. If a UL approved breaker for that purpose, similar to the Square-D, has been installed by others, how can you justify saying it is "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code"? You don't know who put it in, and when the work was done. If the breaker is installed correctly and the wiring is installed correctly---you have no case. In fact, a sparkly might take exception to your comments on his/her work. If you have an issue, you might say something like "because of the nature of the product, a determination should be made to verify the proper use of the product", (unless you have already popped the breaker out and decided that it is not rated for that use-----then you can use your comments).

    .


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mcdonald View Post
    Robert,
    You are reading way to much into this. We are Home Inspectors not electricians. Our job is to identify defects and not what caused them or how to fix them on Read the ASHI Standards. Use this comment and you will not get in trouble.

    "Double tapped breaker(s) noted. In general only one conductor (wire) should be connected to any breaker, fuse or panel lug unless terminals are rated for this use. Double tapping can cause one or both wires to have poor contact and/or cause circuit overloading. Advise evaluation and repairs by qualified electrician"

    You have identified a defect and advised evaluation by an electrician. JOB DONE. If you mention fire hazard you will loose that real estate agent. You could say something like "This is a possible safety concern."
    After reading this, it appears that you are more concerned with loosing business from the Realtor than protecting your client.
    who are you working for?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    I take exception to your "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code" remarks. This thread is about double taping a breaker. If a UL approved breaker for that purpose, similar to the Square-D, has been installed by others, how can you justify saying it is "unprofessional" and even "amateurish" and "not to code"?


    First, it appears you need to understand what "multiple tapping" (or your 'double tapping') is ... and is not.

    A Square D breaker which has that flat plate under the binding screw has TWO TERMINALS - ONE on each side.

    Yes ... TWO terminals, thus TWO conductors is still just one under each terminal, the two terminals simply have a common binding screw.

    Okay, now to be as clear as possible in case the above was not: those Square D breakers are NOT multiple tapped when there are two conductors, one under each terminal.

    So, to go back to where we started ... multiple tapping is UNPROFESSIONAL AND AMATEURISH ... plain and simple.

    A knowledgeable home inspector WOULD NOT call those Square D breakers multiple tapped (or even double tapped) as they are not, not if there is one conductor under each terminal, and there is one terminal on each side of the binding screw.

    Sooo ... a question for you: Are those Square D breakers multiple tapped or double tapped when there is one conductor at each terminal?

    (If you answer anything other than a resounding "NO!" ... you have not been paying attention. )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by David O'Keefe View Post
    After reading this, it appears that you are more concerned with loosing business from the Realtor than protecting your client.
    who are you working for?
    I think Tom is like a lot of us....you can make a point without showing off. I'm Super Inspector and I am here to save your life! Myself....I'm just there to present the facts to you in a rational way.


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Thanks to all for clarifiying the issue. The pic from Ken Rowe and the explanations by others was very helpful. Here's the "takehome" I get from this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    1. If a breaker serves two wires, it is considered "double tapped" ONLY if the breaker isn't designed to receive two wires. This would be a defect.

    2. If it IS designed to receive two wires, there may be "nuisance tripping" issues (unless the loads were taken into account by the installer). Further investigation by an electrician could confirm/deny the arrangement as proper.

    A followup question: Are all square D 20A and 15A breakers that we would expect to see in a residential panel designed to receive two wires?

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Peake View Post
    T
    A followup question: Are all square D 20A and 15A breakers that we would expect to see in a residential panel designed to receive two wires?
    Happened to be in Lowe's yesterday and just for snickers I looked at the Square-D 15, 20, and 30 amp breakers. They are all rated for two connections and state the wiring combinations on the side for the connections (terminals).

    .


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    J.P., I would so like to include my description of the jobs I inspect also!!
    However, including insulting language does not serve any positive purpose.
    IMO Bob Smit


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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Peake View Post
    Here's the "takehome" I get from this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    1. If a breaker serves two wires, it is considered "double tapped" ONLY if the breaker isn't designed to receive two wires. This would be a defect.
    That is correct.

    2. If it IS designed to receive two wires, there may be "nuisance tripping" issues (unless the loads were taken into account by the installer). Further investigation by an electrician could confirm/deny the arrangement as proper.
    Why would you make that presumption?

    An electrician could make home runs from all receptacles, tie them together in the panel with wire connectors (wire nuts) properly rated for the combination of wires in them, and keeping within the maximum fill space of the panel, and there would not be any problem. That is not done because it is a lot more expensive to wire that way (both labor and material), but there would be absolutely nothing wrong with it, and certainly nothing wrong with having 20 conductors tied to one which goes to a breaker.

    A followup question: Are all square D 20A and 15A breakers that we would expect to see in a residential panel designed to receive two wires?
    No.

    The best way to do it is to look at the terminal plate, if it has one of those plates with the places for the conductors on each side of the binding screw, then that would be rated for two conductors - one conductor in each terminal.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    J.P., I would so like to include my description of the jobs I inspect also!!
    However, including insulting language does not serve any positive purpose.
    IMO Bob Smit

    What insulting language?

    You are simply stating the facts as you see them - that the work is a) unprofessional; and b) amateurish. If a contractor did the work, then they deserve to be made to think twice about their work.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    J.P., I would so like to include my description of the jobs I inspect also!!
    However, including insulting language does not serve any positive purpose.
    IMO Bob Smit

    Better spell out name.... I got into trouble on another thread when I didn't and insulted the wrong person. There are 2 JP's here.

    .


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Wow, it is amazing that home inspectors call out stuff they know nothing about. It really is just a weekend course and a simple test isn't it.

    The breaker does not care if it has one wire or two. There is no greater chance of overload or more heat since the limiter on the current is the breaker, no more heat can be created by two wires over one. Hell every wire coming out of there is getting split into many more wires down the line at junction boxes. Loose wires start fires is the rule. This is the reason that many breakers are made so you can connect two wires securely side by side, it keeps the risk of someone doing a poor job of connecting the wires to the breaker to a minimum. You can just pig tail the two wires together just before the breaker that has a hole for a single wire and simply use the same size wire as the incoming wires. No need to step up the size for the pig tail since the breaker does not care. A good inspector who understands electricity would not worry about a double tap, but would make sure the wires were all tight, since that starts fires, not double taps.

    Science people. Not conjecture. And never trust a home inspector, they are not electricians and not even close to an engineer. I've had inspectors claim a drive way was not draining correctly. He eye balled it. LOL. Guess it was too much science for him to use a level, which showed a lot of slope correctly going to the drain.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Ladies and gentlemen, give Luke a big hand. He'll be here all week.

    Since you know so much about what home inspectors do Luke, then you obviously are aware that all it takes is one over-the-top electrician to come in after the buyer is in the house and say "your inspector should have caught this" and then we get the phone call from a disgruntled client and the meager amount we collect from an inspection goes out the window to just make the problem go away. Not to mention the fact that the manufacturer of the breaker didn't design it for double tapping. If a system or component in a house is being used in a manner that is inconsistent with the way it was designed and intended to be used, it gets called out.

    So double taps are not an issue to you when two wire gauges of varying thickness are on the same breaker which is not designed for double taps? How well is that thinner gauge wire secured? No chance for arcing?

    Go crawl back into your hole and take your single post on this forum with you.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    Wow, it is amazing that home inspectors call out stuff they know nothing about. It really is just a weekend course and a simple test isn't it.

    The breaker does not care if it has one wire or two. There is no greater chance of overload or more heat since the limiter on the current is the breaker, no more heat can be created by two wires over one. Hell every wire coming out of there is getting split into many more wires down the line at junction boxes. Loose wires start fires is the rule. This is the reason that many breakers are made so you can connect two wires securely side by side, it keeps the risk of someone doing a poor job of connecting the wires to the breaker to a minimum. You can just pig tail the two wires together just before the breaker that has a hole for a single wire and simply use the same size wire as the incoming wires. No need to step up the size for the pig tail since the breaker does not care. A good inspector who understands electricity would not worry about a double tap, but would make sure the wires were all tight, since that starts fires, not double taps.

    Science people. Not conjecture. And never trust a home inspector, they are not electricians and not even close to an engineer. I've had inspectors claim a drive way was not draining correctly. He eye balled it. LOL. Guess it was too much science for him to use a level, which showed a lot of slope correctly going to the drain.
    Sounds like you have a bias against home inspectors. Not sure what your profession is but if you're going to post about double taps you should know why they're dangerous.

    If I'm paying for a home inspection I would hope that the HI would report double taps and everything else that they see that's wrong.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    Wow, it is amazing that home inspectors call out stuff they know nothing about. It really is just a weekend course and a simple test isn't it.
    International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

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

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    Wow, it is amazing that home inspectors call out stuff they know nothing about. It really is just a weekend course and a simple test isn't it.

    The breaker does not care if it has one wire or two. There is no greater chance of overload or more heat since the limiter on the current is the breaker, no more heat can be created by two wires over one. Hell every wire coming out of there is getting split into many more wires down the line at junction boxes. Loose wires start fires is the rule. This is the reason that many breakers are made so you can connect two wires securely side by side, it keeps the risk of someone doing a poor job of connecting the wires to the breaker to a minimum. You can just pig tail the two wires together just before the breaker that has a hole for a single wire and simply use the same size wire as the incoming wires. No need to step up the size for the pig tail since the breaker does not care. A good inspector who understands electricity would not worry about a double tap, but would make sure the wires were all tight, since that starts fires, not double taps.

    Science people. Not conjecture. And never trust a home inspector, they are not electricians and not even close to an engineer. I've had inspectors claim a drive way was not draining correctly. He eye balled it. LOL. Guess it was too much science for him to use a level, which showed a lot of slope correctly going to the drain.
    WOW. There is so much BS in your statements I don't know where to start. In retrospect-----I'm not! There is just too much. You sound like a sour contractor that has been called to task many times because of "just to code" sloppy work.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    LUKE

    what do you do for a living--and where do you live besides the usa.

    will he answer guys ???
    i studied hard for my inspection certificate and educate myself every day to learn more, to hear your rant sickens me--answer my questions before you crawl in that hole.

    cvf


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Luke won't be back guys. His mom found him using her computer after his bedtime.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    I'd like to hear what is BS about what I said rather than just hear it called BS. Everything I said is a fact. I am an engineer. And I do have a problem with clueless home inspectors. Over and over again I have seen them completely lacking in skill and knowledge. Constantly making assumptions not based on fact. Constantly just rehashing old arguments that are not based on sound physics. You are all assuming that there is something inherently wrong in putting two correctly sized wires together in a hole. There is nothing wrong with that as long as the wires are secure. FACT.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Luke,
    Just out of curiosity, are you licensed? In other words, are you a PE?
    Thanks.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    You are all assuming that there is something inherently wrong in putting two correctly sized wires together in a hole. There is nothing wrong with that as long as the wires are secure. FACT.
    Who will make sure they are both secure?
    If it is good practice, why is it not done by every trained professional in the country?
    Why did Square D and Cutler Hammer need to design a breaker that will accept two wires if it was not deemed to be necessary to design a special breaker for that purpose?
    And finally, if we're all so stoopid anyway, who are we to question the standards which have been agreed upon by experts, such as yourself?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  47. #47
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Joseph, I do not yet have my P.E. I am a Marine Engineer with 16 yrs experience doing complete engineering on ships. That includes, piping, electrical, steering, hydraulics, stability, and of course structural. Before that I went to the University of Washington where I graduated with a whopping 220 credits. Not only did I excel in high school, but I excelled in university, I have years of physics, chemistry, material science, thermo dynamics and much, much more structural engineering. Though much of my schooling has nothing to do with houses, my experience in house construction is also well rounded as I work with architects often doing structural engineering, where I have gained a knowledge also of building codes. I have done all my own home remodels, I have an understanding of electrical from both home building and my years designing ships and their systems.

    These guys saying that putting two wires in one whole is a fire hazard is only a valid point if the wires were not seated securely. There same logic would say a wire nut is a fire hazard and should never be done (they actually are a fire hazard, but only if incorrectly done and not tight on all wires). It all comes down two loose wires start fires.

    Your "take home" points are all correct. If you are not sure that the wires are tight in the breaker, or they are of a gauge that does not fit, then pull them out, twist them together with a third wire (the pig tail), be sure to use a correctly sized wire nut (I've seen smoldering wire nuts from loose wires due to being stuffed in a too small wire nut) and put that pig tail into the breaker.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    NEC 110.14

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  49. #49
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    That is referring to receptacle boxes. NOT breaker boxes. When it references terminal screws it is talking about the screws on a outlet receptacle for connecting the wires, where the wire is just wrapped in a curved shape and the screw is tightened down. This does not apply to breakers where the connection to the wires is entirely different.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Luke, Thanks for the reply.

    I've been a HI since 2004ish and love it. I've been an avid reader of this forum on/off for a couple of years and have learned more in the process about HI than all my years of construction/engineering combined (I've applied to take the PE exam on 4/13; I'm expecting it to be extremely challenging - BSME Villanova 1983 - I'm rusty).

    While you are correct that there are a lot of hacks in the HI Industry, it's my observation that the overwhelming majority of inspectors on this forum are the "cream of the crop" as evidenced by the fact that they devote countless hours to furthering their own learning and also to the instruction of other inspectors .. all in the interest of providing Clients with the best home inspection possible and furthering the industry. I hope/trust you find it worthwhile and am certain that you will be able to learn as well as to instruct.

    A lot off topic .. but have you seen "bering sea gold"? As a marine engineer, I'm sure you'd find it simultaneously horrifying and interesting.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

  51. #51
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post

    These guys saying that putting two wires in one whole is a fire hazard is only a valid point if the wires were not seated securely. There same logic would say a wire nut is a fire hazard and should never be done (they actually are a fire hazard, but only if incorrectly done and not tight on all wires). It all comes down two loose wires start fires.
    You might know a lot about ship installations but you're showing your ignorance when it comes to the National Electrical Code. Your quote is based solely on your opinion and not the fact that terminals are required to be identified when they are capable of terminating two conductors. If you want to bash HI's then go for it but first get your facts straight.

    110.14 Electrical Connections.
    Because of different characteristics of dissimilar metals, devices such as pressure terminal or pressure splicing connectors and soldering lugs shall be identified for the material of the conductor and shall be properly installed and used. Conductors of dissimilar metals shall not be intermixed in a terminal or splicing connector where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors (such as copper and aluminum, copper and copper-clad aluminum, or aluminum and copper-clad aluminum), unless the device is identified for the purpose and conditions of use. Materials such as solder, fluxes, inhibitors, and compounds, where employed, shall be suitable for the use and shall be of a type that will not adversely affect the conductors, installation, or equipment.
    FPN: Many terminations and equipment are marked with a tightening torque.
    (A) Terminals. Connection of conductors to terminal parts shall ensure a thoroughly good connection without damaging the conductors and shall be made by means of pressure connectors (including set-screw type), solder lugs, or splices to flexible leads. Connection by means of wire-binding screws or studs and nuts that have upturned lugs or the equivalent shall be permitted for 10 AWG or smaller conductors.
    Terminals for more than one conductor and terminals used to connect aluminum shall be so identified.



  52. #52
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Joseph, good luck with the test. ME should be a tough one. Not looking forward to my PE exam especially after so long out of school, but as you probably know you learn more on the job than you ever did in school. School is theory preparing you for the really tough stuff. lol One more thing Joseph, with reference to that only one wire per terminal. In my experience when doing outlet terminals always one one per screw terminal, as the wires will tend to move as you tighten the screw. Also, always use the screw terminal and not the push in wire terminal. I have identified and solved so many peoples wiring problems as being due to the push in terminals. They seem to come loose on a horrifyingly regular basis. If someone you know ever complains of a outlet that works intermittently, or there is a burnt smell, or a string of outlets stops working, it is usually because someone has used the push in terminal and it has come loose. Also always wrap the bare wire in a clockwise direction around the screw terminal (the free end on the right side) and tighten. If it is wrapped the other direction it tends to open and squish out as you tighten.

    It's good to hear that some of these HI have some knowledge. What I have read so far is simply incorrect knowledge that seems to keep getting passed along. If you look at what it takes to be a home inspector it is literally $1000 course and a simple test. You could be a home inspector in a weekend and have never built or wired a thing. If you really want to learn Joseph I suggest you get a book. You wouldn't learn engineering from an inspector, don't learn electrical from one either. In my field there are "marine surveyors" who are the equivalent of a "home inspector", guys who look at stuff and think they know what they are doing, but do not have the physics, material science, or engineering knowledge to back any of it up.

    Robert, that reference is CLEARLY referencing outlet boxes. It even talks about plastic boxes,etc. And there is NO CODE that says you cannot have a double tap, as evidence by the fact that most brands of breakers are now set up for exactly that.


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    Robert, that reference is CLEARLY referencing outlet boxes. It even talks about plastic boxes,etc. And there is NO CODE that says you cannot have a double tap, as evidence by the fact that most brands of breakers are now set up for exactly that.
    Sorry Luke but you're incorrect. 110.14 references all terminals, including those on circuit breakers.


  54. #54
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    LUKE

    GO AWAY. we are a very talented group of TRAINED AND CERTIFIED PROFESSIONALS, who protect home buyers. $1000 are you kidding me- in this industry that is the cost for your professional attire. try something like $12,000 to get into the business. and then yearly quotas on education. i suggest you go back to the sea, and don't drop the soap or you could get double tapped. find the master electrician forum and present your case, that would be interesting.

    cvf


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    luke

    here is that forum

    Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum

    got the nuts- post to that forum--i will be watching--lets see what professionals say--then we will believe

    cvf


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Here's a graphic from a nationally known code expert. Believe what you want to believe.




  57. #57
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    This morning, before I even knew this thread was reactivated, I spoke with the Denver supervisor for electrical code enforcement about another topic (double lugs on neutral bars in panel boxes). In the course of the conversation, he mentioned that the number one code violation that he sees is double lugging a breaker.


  58. #58
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    I'd like to hear what is BS about what I said rather than just hear it called BS. Everything I said is a fact. I am an engineer. And I do have a problem with clueless home inspectors.
    I was holding off responding because what you said was such a joke, but, you did say "I'd like to hear what is BS about what I said rather than just hear it called BS.", so I will oblige.

    "And I do have a problem with clueless home inspectors." And I do have a problem with engineers who think they know it all and spout off with nonsense.

    For your reading pleasure, Luke:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    NEC 110.14
    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    That is referring to receptacle boxes. NOT breaker boxes. When it references terminal screws it is talking about the screws on a outlet receptacle for connecting the wires, where the wire is just wrapped in a curved shape and the screw is tightened down. This does not apply to breakers where the connection to the wires is entirely different.
    Luke, you just exposed your severe lack of knowledge of the codes.

    110.14 applies to ALL of what it says: 110.14 Electrical Connections.

    Yes, 110.14 applies to ALL "electrical connections". Not just on devices, but on fuses, breakers, etc.

    UNLESS THE TERMINAL IS RATED FOR MORE THAN ONE CONDUCTOR ... then ONLY ONE CONDUCTOR IS ALLOWED. (bold and underlining is mine)
    - 110.14 Electrical Connections.
    - - (A) Terminals. Connection of conductors to terminal parts shall ensure a thoroughly good connection without damaging the conductors and shall be made by means of pressure connectors (including set-screw type), solder lugs, or splices to flexible leads. Connection by means of wire-binding screws or studs and nuts that have upturned lugs or the equivalent shall be permitted for 10 AWG or smaller conductors.
    - - Terminals for more than one conductor and terminals used to connect aluminum shall be so identified.

    Luke, "Terminals for more than one conductor ... shall be so identified.", if the terminal is not identified for more than one conductor ... TWO ARE NOT ALLOWED.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  59. #59
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    The same type buss bars are used for grounding and neutral connections in most all makes of panels. When used for grounding, the manufacturer lists the terminal when used for grounding for up to 3 wires in some cases, sometimes different sizes. The NEC limits neutral connections to one per terminal on that same bar. This is a safety issue for several reasons, but it isn't too likely two neutrals on a terminal will cause major (or any) problems left alone. But, it .isn't a legal install and needs to be fixed.

    Some types of circuit breaker have (or have had) connections almost identical to the buss bar type and they look to be suitable for more than one wire. The manufacturer has elected not to have the connection listed for more than one wire on these breakers, and several others that would be good candidates.

    The bottom line is that the breakers need to be installed per the manufacturer's instructions. The NEC doesn't care. And, a line that says that hasn't been done is appropriate in an inspection report if indeed that is the case.

    The inspector that found "a multi-wire circuit with all lines wires tied to the same buss" in a house I just wired that had passed electrical inspection, got a blurb in the response letter that he "evidently missed the fact the cable had two neutrals and contained no multi-wire circuits" and not the fact the guy is a blithering idiot if he can't count wires. I try to keep my thoughts about the people involved in the process as neutral as I can in letters and reports. Here, well......bit of a different story.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Over the years it's funny how often some blowhard with a bunch of alleged credentials comes storming on here telling us they know everything and we know nothing. And the funny part..... is how soon they go away never to be heard from again.

    Welcome to the board, luke.


  61. #61
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by luke zankich View Post
    And there is NO CODE that says you cannot have a double tap, as evidence by the fact that most brands of breakers are now set up for exactly that.
    How many brands would that be, exactly? Can you name them for us dummys, trying to learn?

    Luke, here's a pic from this PM's inspection. Tell me what you see and what should I put in my report.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-14-2012 at 10:08 PM. Reason: added a pic
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  62. #62
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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    How many brands would that be, exactly? Can you name them for us dummys, trying to learn?

    I'm not Luke but the only two manufacturers are Square D and Cutler Hammer. Keep in mind, not all Square D or Cutler Hammer breakers are designed to hold two wires. Not even close to "most brands".

    He probably thinks its ok to put a tandem single pole breaker anywhere in the panel, or Federal Pacific panels are just fine since they they met code requirements at the time. Heck, nothing wrong with aluminum branch circuit wiring, polybutylene pipes, lead based paint or asbestos. Radon doesn't exist because he can't see it and there's nothing wrong with his furnace putting out over 100 ppm in CO. Luke needs to go back to finishing his basement. Make sure you put that fiberglass batt insulation right up against the concrete.

    Sorry for the rant, it's been a long month dealing with DIY idiots.

    By the way, I'm in an unlicensed state. You don't even need a $1000 and weekend of classes around here.

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    Default Re: Home Owner Double Tap Problems

    Wait! It just came to me..... "luke" is the marine electrician JP has been talking about all these years. Maybe he can produce for us once and for all a SUB PANEL


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