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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    VA
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    8

    Default White neutral goes to breaker

    Just looked at a panel (house built in 1966) where the white neutral wire was connected to one of the two connections on a 30 amp breaker for the AC unit. It was done a second time on another 30 amp breaker but no idea what that breaker was for. I read this is sometimes done for GFCI protection. Is that the case and is this in any way appropriate?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,951

    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    The white on a 2 pole breaker is the second leg of the 240 volt circuit. It is not a neutral. Later codes would have required it to be marked as a hot. This is pretty basic and should have been covered in your training.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,906

    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Huffman View Post
    Just looked at a panel (house built in 1966) where the white neutral wire was connected to one of the two connections on a 30 amp breaker for the AC unit. It was done a second time on another 30 amp breaker but no idea what that breaker was for. I read this is sometimes done for GFCI protection. Is that the case and is this in any way appropriate?
    Without an image, it's difficult to say for sure, but I suspect at least one double-pole, 240v breaker. If it's a GFCI breaker, then you will see a black and a white run to the breaker, but the white will typically not have a terminal but will be hard-wired and pigtailed to the neutral conductor in the panel enclosure. If it's a double-pole breaker (probably is), then as Jim said, it was done to make a 240v circuit using a two-wire with ground (black, white, & EGC) cable rather than a three-wire with ground (black, red, white, & EGC). Given that they are connected to 30a breakers and one is for the A/C, then it's probably a double-pole breaker and I would guess the other is as well. You can use your voltage tester to see if you have 240v between the two terminals.

    Was there an electric range or oven?

    Or, a pic could help.

    Jim's correct. I recommend you bone-up on electrical. If you aren't certain about that, then you are likely missing a great deal of stuff in a panel. A great information source is Electrical Inspections of Existing Dwellings by Douglas Hansen. Don't forget the Code Check series as well.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    Every GFCI circuit breaker that I have ever seen has a terminal for the circuit neutral conductor.

    Last edited by Brad Richter; 06-02-2020 at 04:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Richter View Post
    Every GFCI circuit breaker that I have ever seen has a terminal for the circuit neutral conductor.
    Yeah, I misspoke (miswrote?). I guess I was tired. The GFCI has its own neutral conductor that is attached to the neutral terminal in the panel.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,951

    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Yeah, I misspoke (miswrote?). I guess I was tired. The GFCI has its own neutral conductor that is attached to the neutral terminal in the panel.
    The newer panel designs have a plug on neutral bar and eliminate the gfi pigtail same for afci breakers. Really helps to unclutter a panel.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,906

    Default Re: White neutral goes to breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The newer panel designs have a plug on neutral bar and eliminate the gfi pigtail same for afci breakers. Really helps to unclutter a panel.
    Thanks Jim. I will have to look for that.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

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