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  1. #1
    Jon mackay's Avatar
    Jon mackay Guest

    Default Circuits with no Neutral

    This panel was feeding 2 circuits that led to the attic. 1 to a junction box and 1 to an air handler.
    No Neutral wiring. Can this be right? I am thinking not so much.

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  2. #2
    Jim Port's Avatar
    Jim Port is online now Member
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    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    Straight 240 volt loads like an air conditioner, baseboard heat and others do not need a neutral. The air handler looks like 240 from the breaker.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    "Can this be right?"

    Cannot say for certain, but likely not a problem.

    This is 240v, and 240v does not require a neutral
    But if there is anything (such as the air handler motor) using 120v, then there should be a neutral.

    There are other problems:
    This is not the service equipment, therefore the neutrals and grounds should be separated.
    The White conductors connected to the breakers should be identified as Hot conductors.
    What is the size of the wires connected to the breakers and the size of the breakers? (Are the breakers properly sized for the wires?)

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

  4. #4
    Jon mackay's Avatar
    Jon mackay Guest

    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    The breakers are properly sized for the wires.

    Yes, the grounds and neutrals are wrong by not being separated.

    One of these circuits enters an air handling unit in the attic which is why I'm thinking it is not right. The air handler is not likely 220.

    The other circuit enters a junction box and is split out to who knows where.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    I suppose it comes down to the reason for the junction box.

    If the wires are simply spliced in the box, there's no issue; perhaps the equipment was relocated, or once served something else.

    If there's another wire off the splice, that dead-ends somewhere, again there is no code issue. Ironically, the NEC requires the removal of an abandoned phone line but not of an abandoned power circuit.

    If the junction box is to allow the circuit to serve two appliances - say, a dryer and a water heater - then there is a problem. Sure, you can do that .... assuming the circuit is properly sized, and there is overload protection (fuses or breaker) at each appliance.

    It is common to find, in older homes, that the single 240 circuit is feeding multiple appliances, and that this was done by simply splicing into the existing circuit. I have yet to see one such 'improvement' that has either a properly sized circuit or the required overload protection at each appliance.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    I'd like to add to my first reply ...

    Your question seems to suggest that you think it is improper for the circuit to not have a neutral - after all, ranges and dryers are now expected to have 4-wire circuits feeding them.

    Nevertheless, there is still a variety of fixed equipment - water heaters and air conditioners are examles - that do not require a neutral. Personally, I like to run a neutral anyway when I'm using some manner of cable as the wiring method; its' nearly impossible to add a neutral later! Yet, that is a design decision, and not a code requirement.


  7. #7
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Circuits with no Neutral

    The best reason I can think of is that it might be able to be used again in the future. Kinda like when you run 40 amp/240 volt circuit, a 15 amp/110 volt circuit, and a gas line to a range location. You never know what might be installed so now all bases are covered.


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