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  1. #1
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    May 2009
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    Default 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Ran into unfamiliar territory today - GE 200 Amp Panel that had 2-20 amp breakers with their levers joined by what appeared to be a flimsy copper rod of some sort that controlled a 110v style 220 receptacle - 3 prong with one flat and one horizontal slot. If the top breaker was switched off, the receptacle was still live but power was diminished. If the lower breaker was shut off, the receptacle was dead. The copper rod between the levers was not strong enough to flip both breakers off at the same time. Was this configuration a homeowner deluxe or something common and allowed? I've heard of using one leg of a 30 amp for 110v power, but not this. All help is appreciated - Jim.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    Was this configuration a homeowner deluxe
    Yes - that is the deluxe version of the homeowner "handle tie".

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes - that is the deluxe version of the homeowner "handle tie".
    Is the configuration legit? Thanks Jerry


  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Nope, no way, no how.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nope, no way, no how.
    That's what I was waitin' to hear - Thanks Jerry - Jim


  6. #6
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    The handle tie needs to be a listed device.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The handle tie needs to be a listed device.
    Thanks Jim


  8. #8
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    I called out this same configuration in a panel about 5+ years ago as being wrong. The electrician who did it called me and said it is considered acceptable. Ooookay. So I asked him if he would want this same setup in his own house. He said no.

    Mmm hmmm.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I called out this same configuration in a panel about 5+ years ago as being wrong. The electrician who did it called me and said it is considered acceptable. Ooookay. So I asked him if he would want this same setup in his own house. He said no.

    Mmm hmmm.
    Ah yes, the "ole double-standard" - What's good enough for you, ain't good enough for me syndrome. Thanks Nick !!!


  10. #10
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    The handle tie is allowed on a multi-wire branch circuit where the loads are line to neutral only. If the load is 240 volt only or 120/240 the breaker HAS to be a 2 pole type.

    2008 NEC 240.15 Ungrounded Conductors.
    (A) Overcurrent Device Required. A fuse or an overcurrent
    trip unit of a circuit breaker shall be connected in
    series with each ungrounded conductor. A combination of a
    current transformer and overcurrent relay shall be considered
    equivalent to an overcurrent trip unit.
    FPN: For motor circuits, see Parts III, IV, V, and XI of
    Article 430.
    (B) Circuit Breaker as Overcurrent Device. Circuit
    breakers shall open all ungrounded conductors of the circuit
    both manually and automatically unless otherwise permitted
    in 240.15(B)(1), (B)(2), and (B)(3).

    (1) Multiwire Branch Circuit. Except where limited by
    210.4(B), individual single-pole circuit breakers, with or
    without identified handle ties, shall be permitted as the protection
    for each ungrounded conductor of multiwire branch
    circuits that serve only single-phase line-to-neutral loads.

    (2) Grounded Single-Phase and 3-Wire dc Circuits. In
    grounded systems, individual single-pole circuit breakers
    with identified handle ties shall be permitted as the protection
    for each ungrounded conductor for line-to-line connected
    loads for single-phase circuits or 3-wire, directcurrent
    circuits.
    (3) 3-Phase and 2-Phase Systems. For line-to-line loads
    in 4-wire, 3-phase systems or 5-wire, 2-phase systems having
    a grounded neutral point and no conductor operating at
    a voltage greater than permitted in 210.6, individual singlepole
    circuit breakers with identified handle ties shall be
    permitted as the protection for each ungrounded conductor.


    None of the exceptions apply here.

    Handle ties force turning off both poles manually but the breakers can trip individually, there is no AUTOMATIC opening of both poles. That requires a 2 pole breaker.




    Last edited by Bill Kriegh; 06-26-2011 at 09:03 AM.

  11. #11
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    Smile Re: 2- 20 amp breakers used for 220?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    The handle tie is allowed on a multi-wire branch circuit where the loads are line to neutral only. If the load is 240 volt only or 120/240 the breaker HAS to be a 2 pole type.

    2008 NEC 240.15 Ungrounded Conductors.
    (A) Overcurrent Device Required. A fuse or an overcurrent
    trip unit of a circuit breaker shall be connected in
    series with each ungrounded conductor. A combination of a
    current transformer and overcurrent relay shall be considered
    equivalent to an overcurrent trip unit.
    FPN: For motor circuits, see Parts III, IV, V, and XI of
    Article 430.
    (B) Circuit Breaker as Overcurrent Device. Circuit
    breakers shall open all ungrounded conductors of the circuit
    both manually and automatically unless otherwise permitted
    in 240.15(B)(1), (B)(2), and (B)(3).

    (1) Multiwire Branch Circuit. Except where limited by
    210.4(B), individual single-pole circuit breakers, with or
    without identified handle ties, shall be permitted as the protection
    for each ungrounded conductor of multiwire branch
    circuits that serve only single-phase line-to-neutral loads.

    (2) Grounded Single-Phase and 3-Wire dc Circuits. In
    grounded systems, individual single-pole circuit breakers
    with identified handle ties shall be permitted as the protection
    for each ungrounded conductor for line-to-line connected
    loads for single-phase circuits or 3-wire, directcurrent
    circuits.
    (3) 3-Phase and 2-Phase Systems. For line-to-line loads
    in 4-wire, 3-phase systems or 5-wire, 2-phase systems having
    a grounded neutral point and no conductor operating at
    a voltage greater than permitted in 210.6, individual singlepole
    circuit breakers with identified handle ties shall be
    permitted as the protection for each ungrounded conductor.


    None of the exceptions apply here.

    Handle ties force turning off both poles manually but the breakers can trip individually, there is no AUTOMATIC opening of both poles. That requires a 2 pole breaker.


    Thanks Bill


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