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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Canada, Québec, Brossard
    Posts
    30

    Default Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Hi,

    As usual, I see the red and black wire plugged on the electrical baseboard breakers.
    However, I usually see a double breaker which on it is written 20amps once.

    This time I see a double breaker and on it is written 15 amps twice instead of 20 amps once. Does it mean this equals 30 amps in total and is this situation ok? Or does It equal 15amps and it should be changed for a 20amps?

    Is this safe for the condo?

    Thank you

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    A breaker with a 15 on the handle is still a 15. Two handles saying 15 does not make it a 30.

    The breaker size is based on the load. It may not need to be a 20, nor is it guaranteed that the wire is #12 to handle a 20 amp breaker.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eli Smith View Post
    Hi,

    As usual, I see the red and black wire plugged on the electrical baseboard breakers.
    However, I usually see a double breaker which on it is written 20amps once.

    This time I see a double breaker and on it is written 15 amps twice instead of 20 amps once. Does it mean this equals 30 amps in total and is this situation ok? Or does It equal 15amps and it should be changed for a 20amps?

    Is this safe for the condo?

    Thank you
    15 amps is the total amps. If the heaters are rated for 20 amps you need new breakers with the correct size feeder wires if they are also undersized.

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  4. #4
    Mbrooke's Avatar
    Mbrooke Guest

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eli Smith View Post
    Hi,

    As usual, I see the red and black wire plugged on the electrical baseboard breakers.
    However, I usually see a double breaker which on it is written 20amps once.

    This time I see a double breaker and on it is written 15 amps twice instead of 20 amps once. Does it mean this equals 30 amps in total and is this situation ok? Or does It equal 15amps and it should be changed for a 20amps?

    Is this safe for the condo?

    Thank you

    In this case you have a 15 amp 240 volt circuit. Electric heat may be on either a 15, 20 or 30 amp circuit. As long as the wire guage is correct and the total amperage doesn't go over the breaker your ok. Simply in this case he electrician has chosen to wire the heaters up only till they equal close to 15 amps. Fewer heaters per circuit but more circuits. Either that its a small house.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Canada, Québec, Brossard
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbrooke View Post
    In this case you have a 15 amp 240 volt circuit. Electric heat may be on either a 15, 20 or 30 amp circuit. As long as the wire guage is correct and the total amperage doesn't go over the breaker your ok. Simply in this case he electrician has chosen to wire the heaters up only till they equal close to 15 amps. Fewer heaters per circuit but more circuits. Either that its a small house.
    Very helpful thank you and thx to everyone else too!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Eli,
    As a side note. The reason you see 15 twice is due to the use of two breakers combined with a bar for a 240v. You may be use to seeing a breaker twice as wide as a single breaker with one 15 or 20 handle. Just a design/manufacture difference.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NY State
    Posts
    440

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    As a side note. The reason you see 15 twice is due to the use of two breakers combined with a bar for a 240v.
    That is a standard Siemens 2-pole breaker. In fact, most 2-pole breakers look like this.
    Besides SqD QO series you won't see too many other single-handle 2-pole breakers, and most other double-handle still look like the pic above.
    I am very surprised the OP is not familiar with this.

    And as others have stated, you NEVER add up the numbers on the handles. If you reported this as an oversized 30A breaker you'd get some colorful responses from anyone called in to check it.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Chico,Ca
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: Electrical baseboard breakers got me confused.

    The only other multi pole breakers besides SQ D QO/QOB that I can think of that have a single handle, are older Westinghouse & Zinsco of 1960's vintage.


    This does not include any larger frame breakers that would not be likely to be found in a residence.


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