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  1. #1
    Stephen Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Wire nuts inside panel

    Prior residents have extended the length of wires inside the panel to re-route circuits within the panel. They have used plastic wire nuts to do this. Is this okay? I am not an electrician.
    Is there a good way to do this?
    Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    As long as one end of those wire nutted splices is attached to a breaker, it is OK. If the wire nutted connections are for wires that just pass through the panel and do not have a wire from the splice connected to a breaker, it is not OK.

    Any pics?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    As long as one end of those wire nutted splices is attached to a breaker, it is OK

    And the neutral and ground wires.

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

  4. #4
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    I had been told this was an acceptable way to fix a double-tap for a breaker not designed for a double tap. Basically take a short piece from the breaker and use a wire nut to connect that piece to the other two wires. Would anyone disagree?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kary Krismer View Post
    I had been told this was an acceptable way to fix a double-tap for a breaker not designed for a double tap. Basically take a short piece from the breaker and use a wire nut to connect that piece to the other two wires. Would anyone disagree?

    No one should disagree, that is the simplest correct way to correct a multiple tap.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    With such a simple fix, it's amazing anyone even does a double tap.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No one should disagree, that is the simplest correct way to correct a multiple tap.
    Would that not be using the panel as a junction box ? Imagine someone doing that for each breaker, the panel would be a real mess. Splicing multiple wires together should be done in an approved junction box outside the panel (up here anyway).

    Joe Klampfer RHI
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Panel as a junction box? And your point is ....?

    As long as you do not exceed the 'wire fill' limitations, junction away .... there's no issue.

    Good grief; next I suppose someone will worry about 'switch boxes' being used as 'junction boxes.'


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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No one should disagree, that is the simplest correct way to correct a multiple tap.
    Jerry,

    Would that method not possibly result in nuisance tripping if the load on each wire exceeds the breaker amperage?

    This method of repair seems to simple.

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Jerry,

    Would that method not possibly result in nuisance tripping if the load on each wire exceeds the breaker amperage?

    This method of repair seems to simple.

    It would have tripped if they were double tapped also. Most double taps are low current circuits, lighting and unused outlets. Should it be discovered that one of the circuits is tripping, it needs to be run to it's own dedicated breaker.

    The double tap issue it not a current or load issue, it's a safety one. The screw and breaker were designed for a certain size wire to be pinched at a certain pressure. When you double tap, it leaves room for the wires to move, arc or even become loose and fall out, since neither is properly compressed against the plate.

    Wire nuts in panels are perfectly acceptable, like everything electrical they should be neat and orderly so that another electrician can quickly follow a wire and know where it's going to.


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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    "Would that method not possibly result in nuisance tripping if the load on each wire exceeds the breaker amperage?"


    Raymond
    If I may, I'll try to answer your question.

    They were talking about a double tap, where 2 wires are inserted into a spot only meant to hold 1 wire.

    The pigtail has both wires connected at 1 end, the other end of the pigtail is inserted into the breaker.
    Now there is only 1 wire in the breaker, and there is no change in the load on the breaker.
    As for nuisance tripping.
    It will not trip any more with a pigtail than it did before the pigtail was added.

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

  12. #12
    William Brady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Not being an electrician I thank you for this information. I just keep hearing my HI instructor saying NO TAPS IN THE BOX. Never thought about what or how do you handle a double tap for a repair. Thanks again. Another great reason to be on the site.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    [quote=Nick Ostrowski;135788]As long as one end of those wire nutted splices is attached to a breaker, it is OK. If the wire nutted connections are for wires that just pass through the panel and do not have a wire from the splice connected to a breaker, it is not OK.




    If the panel is classified or listed to be used as Junction box, it’s acceptable

    Last edited by nafeth; 07-02-2010 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Mistake

  14. #14
    William Brady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Let see if I understand Ricks information. Does it matter where the second wire goes? Can your run another branch circuit into the box, connect it with a wire nut to another circuit already on a breaker. Sorry if thats not clear so I hope you understand what I am saying
    In essence one wire from a breaker to a wire nut that contains two branch circuits.


  15. #15
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Jerry,

    Would that method not possibly result in nuisance tripping if the load on each wire exceeds the breaker amperage?

    This method of repair seems to simple.
    Yes it would, assuming there was a problem in the first place. But if not, and if there's no space for an additional breaker, I don't see an issue with it.


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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    I'll try color coding, might make communication easier (?):

    Quote Originally Posted by William Brady View Post
    Let see if I understand Ricks information. Does it matter where the second wire goes? Can your run another branch circuit into the box, connect it with a wire nut to another circuit already on a breaker. Sorry if thats not clear so I hope you understand what I am saying
    In essence one wire from a breaker to a wire nut that contains two branch circuits.

    WM, which/what second wire? A second "hot" (ungrounded) conductor, the "common"/"neutral" (grounded) conductor? What do you mean?

    Its a pigtail. One breaker, one bus, one split-phase 120v branch circuit.

    Its all one branch circuit.

    A 240v circuit would have a conductor for each split phase (two "hots" or ungrounded conductors, one for both A & B sides) and one grounded/neutral to the bus bar.

    A MWBC is a "horse of a different color". You wouldn't want to nut a combine a 120V "A" side circuit with a 120V "B" side circuit you'd create a 240V circuit.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Maybe this will help.

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

  18. #18
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Jerry,

    Would that method not possibly result in nuisance tripping if the load on each wire exceeds the breaker amperage?
    Nope. Remember, BOTH wires were on the breaker before your started, all you did was combine both wires into one wire, the load on those wires never changed.

    This method of repair seems to simple.
    It is simple. Rick made a good drawing of it: two wires go to one wire which goes to the same breaker that both wires were on ... the circuit, and its load, never changed.

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    This cannot be used every time as a repair usually a double tap is done when adding to a panel and just combinding two circuits does not open space to add additional overcurrent devices. The code requires a calculation for loads on general lighting and outlet loads and a minimum two small appliance circuits and so on so pigtailing the two small appliance circuits into one overcurrent device will make the connection code compliant but intern may cause other violations.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    (bold highlighting is mine)
    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    so pigtailing the two small appliance circuits into one overcurrent device will make the connection code compliant but intern may cause other violations.

    Incorrect.

    You are missing, apparently, a key thought here: multiple tapped (double tapped if you prefer, but that eliminates those time when you find 3 conductors under one terminal - but that is sidetracking this issue).

    Pigtailing a single wire to two double tapped wires is always (with maybe rare exceptions I have not thought of yet) correct the condition WHICH IS EXISTING, i.e., doing this correction does not "CAUSE" anything which does not already exist, this procedure is simply correcting one given and stated incorrect installation - the multiple.

    Now, for the other concerns you raised - those ALREADY EXISTED, the correction did not "cause" those conditions.

    Those conditions are outside the realm of a home inspection as the HI is not tracing circuits, simply looking at the circuits which already exist.

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  21. #21
    John Sullivan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    I'm not an electrician, however, when I see a double tap wether its at the breaker or upstream I'm writing it up. When the elctrician wired the house he had a designed max load for that circuit.
    When you wirenut another wire or circuit it could be exceeding the CB load limit and if the breaker is faulty and doesn't trip when this load is exceeded it could be an overheating or fire safety issue.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    When the elctrician wired the house he had a designed max load for that circuit.
    And you know that ... how?

    You SHOULD write up the multiple tap, but only for correction, you KNOW NOTHING about the circuit, and to call it overloaded and needing correction in that way will only show your ignorance. Instead, you should show your knowledge and professionalism - write up the multiple tap for correction, and THINK with your brain ... if the multiple tap DID NOT trip the breaker or cause a problem, NEITHER WILL correcting the multiple tap as described.

    Your statement only shows arrogance, and that is not good for the home inspection profession, especially after you stated (your words, not mine) "I'm not an electrician".

    When you wirenut another wire or circuit it could be exceeding the CB load limit and if the breaker is faulty and doesn't trip when this load is exceeded it could be an overheating or fire safety issue.
    THINK MAN, THINK!

    BOTH CONDUCTORS WERE ALREADY ON THAT BREAKER!

    WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND IN THE POSTS ABOVE? (Oh, wait, here it is: "I'm not an electrician".)

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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Assuming that the person who stuck the 2nd wire under a given breaker calculated the load of the existing circuit is a grand assumption. Afterall, he was ill informed enough to double tap as opposed to doing it right.

    The best fix for a double tap is to find another breaker or install a 2 for 1 type breaker (assuming the panel rated for it, of course). No wire nut needed and you clean-up what knucklehead double tap guy possibly/likely did wrong.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    and if the breaker is faulty and doesn't trip when this load is exceeded it could be an overheating or fire safety issue.
    This could happen on a circuit breaker with only one conductor also.

    FYI, some breakers are also listed for use with two conductors. If you know your breakers not every double will need to be written up.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    So jerry having one small appliance circuit by pigtailing them to one over current device so additional circuits can be added does not get reported on an inpection report? It most certainly would on mine and yes I have seen that happen multiple times when pools,water heaters, stoves etc. are added and a two pole needs to be added. most of the time that is when someone puts two circuits on one device the correct repair is not to pigtail those circuits to one but to install individual devices. That is why I said it may cause other violations. I agree it is not a home insectors job to trace circuits down but if you recommend a repair and accept a pigtail you are fixing one violation and creating another code violation if you do not have any idea what those two circuits are that you allowed to be terminated on one device.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    So jerry having one small appliance circuit by pigtailing them to one over current device so additional circuits can be added does not get reported on an inpection report?
    So Paul, during a home inspection ... how do you know it is as you stated above?

    *IF YOU KNOW*, and I am quite curious as to "how" you "know" that during a home inspection, ... if you know, yes, you should report it, but, again, how do you "know" that?

    Sounds to me like you are doing a lot of guessing and may not actually know, either that or you are tracing circuits down to see what is on them, and that means checking EVERY outlet on EVERY circuit, in which case you would be doing more than even I did.

    So, please, "how" do you "know" that to be the case?

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  27. #27
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Sullivan View Post
    I'm not an electrician, however, when I see a double tap wether its at the breaker or upstream I'm writing it up. When the elctrician wired the house he had a designed max load for that circuit.
    When you wirenut another wire or circuit it could be exceeding the CB load limit and if the breaker is faulty and doesn't trip when this load is exceeded it could be an overheating or fire safety issue.
    Well if the breaker is faulty you could have a problem even if the circuit only runs to one outlet, or if the circuit runs outlets in three rooms and the owner plugs in electric heaters in each one.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    A lot of times it is as simple as looking at the panel labels and see what they are labeled and if you reccommend a repair you should also reccommend that they label the circuit that is pigtailed. Then if you only have one circuit labeled for the small appliances additional repairs should be recommended. I am just saying that as a blanket statement pigtailing as a repair should not be accepted unless you know what circuits are pigtailed.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    We were told in our training that it is the inspector's job to only point out the needed correction and NOT explain how to actually correct it.

    Now I don't see how it could only be ONE branch circuit. Why the hell would an electrician run TWO branches into the panel for ONE branch circuit. Doesn't make any sense. I would bet those two wires were at one time TWO seperate circuits. Then someone did some modifications in the panel (maybe adding an AC line or something else) ran out of room and combined two random circuits under one breaker. Now we know there was someone in the panel who shouldn't have been there by the very presence of a double tap.

    The correction would be to either add slimline breakers if the panel can accept them and you don't go over the max number of circuits for that panel, or to add a subpanel next to the main to allow for more circuits. I wouldn't be comfortable with just combining them into a wire nut (even though that would be better than having them both in a breaker).


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by paul hardy View Post
    A lot of times it is as simple as looking at the panel labels and see what they are labeled
    I guess you must live in the land of perfect, near the Walgreen's store, where every electrician not only labels all the circuits (as they are required to do) but also labels those circuits so you know precisely what and where every circuit goes ... however, as the Walgreen's commercial says, most of us do not live in that land ... we live in the real world.

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post
    Now I don't see how it could only be ONE branch circuit. Why the hell would an electrician run TWO branches into the panel for ONE branch circuit.
    You are confusing two terms: conductors and branch circuits.

    The electrician could (this is an extreme exaggeration to show you what "could" be) run a home run from EACH outlet to the panel, in which case there would be MANY, MANY, MANY conductors in that panel.

    The electrician could then install 6 circuit breakers (did you catch that term? "CIRCUIT" "breakers") and there would only be 6 CIRCUITS in that panel.

    The electrician could, if there was sufficient wire space in the panel, connect however many conductors together in any APPROVED manner and then connect one conductor from that group of conductors to ONE CIRCUIT breaker, and all those conductors would be ONE CIRCUIT.

    I would bet those two wires were at one time TWO seperate circuits.
    I'd bet they were NOT two separate circuits at one time, but that ONE CONDUCTOR was added at some time, and then landed on a breaker with the other conductor.

    Nonetheless, if TWO CONDUCTORS have been on that breaker for YEARS and working, then there is NOTHING WRONG with using a wire connector (such as a wire nut) and connecting those two conductors to a new third conductor and the new third conductor goes to the breaker - and the multiple tapped problem has been corrected.

    The correction would be to either add slimline breakers if the panel can accept them and you don't go over the max number of circuits for that panel, or to add a subpanel next to the main to allow for more circuits.

    That would be ONE OPTION, but NOT a required option, for a repair of multiple tapped breakers. BEFORE YOU RECOMMEND that option, and you should certainly not say it is the option, you should recommend the electrical contractor trace out ALL outlets on ALL circuits and connect the circuits AS NECESSARY ... with the electrician being the one who decides what is NECESSARY - NOT YOU - and the electrician may well decide that THERE IS NO PROBLEM correcting the multiple tap as described above and landing ONE conductor on ONE breaker for ONE circuit which goes to TWO conductors and then out of the panel.

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Double (or Multiple) taps are often the result of adding receptacles in the garage, exterior (motion) lights, circuit to the rear yard, etc. It is unusual to see a double tap on original wiring.

    If one circuit has been added for lighting in the garage, it propbably won't matter as far as the load is concerned. However if the garage has been converted to living space, with a larger load, then a new dedicated over-current device is propbably required. Bottom line is that double taps should always be called out for further evaluation.

    Please keep in mind that there are circuit breakers that were manufactured to accept two wires. Be sure not to call these out (unless there are obvious other problems) because it may be a correct use of the breaker. I've attached a photo of such a breaker that can accept two wires.



    Note the plate under the screw. This will equalize the force on the wires, even if they have a slightly different diameter. It is the difference in girth that creates the problem with double-tapping. If one wire is thinner than the other, there may not be a sufficient connection on the thinner wire, thus resulting in possible arcing, over heating, etc.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    The electrician could (this is an extreme exaggeration to show you what "could" be) run a home run from EACH outlet to the panel, in which case there would be MANY, MANY, MANY conductors in that panel.

    I guess. Have you ever seen that? Electrician would need a gigantic panel to wire the whole house like that.

    I'd bet they were NOT two separate circuits at one time, but that ONE CONDUCTOR was added at some time, and then landed on a breaker with the other conductor.

    That's what I said.


    Nonetheless, if TWO CONDUCTORS have been on that breaker for YEARS and working, then there is NOTHING WRONG with using a wire connector (such as a wire nut) and connecting those two conductors to a new third conductor and the new third conductor goes to the breaker - and the multiple tapped problem has been corrected.

    I think the circuits should be traced by eletrician before that is done.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    How do you break up someone's quotes? I used to know how to do it on other forums, but forgot.


  35. #35
    Philippe Heller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    The issue has to do more with multiple wires under one screw than it does with load. Even wires of the same gauge can have slightly diffierent diameters. The correction for that is to use a pigtail.

    Load is a different issue. Even if you pigtail the connection to a breaker, there may be too much load on the circuit. However, home inspectors DON'T calculate loads.

    We call out double tapping. We will also call out a pigtail if it appears that the load may be too great (i.e. homeowner ran a new circuit to a fountain or pond) and pig-tailed it to an existing circuit.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    IMO in most cases a proper pigtail would lead to me believe it was done by an electrician, while a double tap would more likely be done by a handyman or DIY'er.

    What I see in my area when something (flood lights, receptacles, etc..) is added they are typically tied into a circuit at the closest or most convenient place to do so. So my question is for those that feel the splice is an issue, do you also recommend an electrician to trace out each junction box in the attic and crawl space/basement to insure it is on the proper circuit and not overloading the circuit?


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    IMO in most cases a proper pigtail would lead to me believe it was done by an electrician, while a double tap would more likely be done by a handyman or DIY'er.

    What I see in my area when something (flood lights, receptacles, etc..) is added they are typically tied into a circuit at the closest or most convenient place to do so. So my question is for those that feel the splice is an issue, do you also recommend an electrician to trace out each junction box in the attic and crawl space/basement to insure it is on the proper circuit and not overloading the circuit?
    If it was my house, I would know where every single wire went and what every junctin box (visible of course) went to. The entire electric would be mapped out.

    Obviously this is not possible for an inspector to do. But by seeing a double tap in the panel, makes you wonder where else did someone do wrong.


  38. #38
    ken horak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Well its seems that this thread has taken a tangent from the original post.
    Big Surprise ? NO

    Too bad the original poster has not chimed in more information.
    The original post said zero about multiple conductors on a circuit breaker, or even how many conductors were under the wire nuts. He commented about the conductors being lengthened. This sounds to me like there was a panel change and the conductors were then too short to reach the breakers in the new panel. In this case it is standard operating procedure to splice the conductors to lengthen them.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    There are a lot of issues here and, as an HI, you should only point out a possible flaw and not go beyond your expertise by trying to explain how to repair. If questionable conditions are found, you should make a note of the observation and recommend that a qualified contractor review to be sure a safety hazard does not exist and to correct as needed for safety.

    But you do need to know enough about the component to be able to tell if there is something questionable.

    Wire splices can be made inside of a panel to correct a multiple wire connection (and yes, sometimes the electrician will do this on an original installation) but, if two different wire sizes are being 'pigtailed' to a breaker, the breaker must be sized for the smaller wire to avoid a possible overload hazard. There are different rules pertaining to system grounding.

    Circuit loading should be considered but, again, not by an HI. You can argue that, regardless of the load, the circuit would be protected by the breaker and, in most cases, that would work but oxidized breakers can fail or at least delay tripping long enough to create a hazard.

    Keep in mind that some breakers, such as Square D, are designed to accept a double tap but the same rule about wire sizing applies.

    240V disconnects are not to be double-tapped.

    The variables go on and on....best advise is to know enough to be dangerous and recommend a qualified electrician make the call.


  40. #40
    Kary Krismer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post
    The correction would be to either add slimline breakers if the panel can accept them and you don't go over the max number of circuits for that panel, or to add a subpanel next to the main to allow for more circuits. I wouldn't be comfortable with just combining them into a wire nut (even though that would be better than having them both in a breaker).
    You're making a lot of assumptions. What if the second line was run 3' above the breaker box simply to power a transformer for a doorbell?

    The point is, without knowing the potential draw on each run, you can't really say that it's improper or that a new breaker is required, etc.


  41. #41
    Ron Isaacson's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Some thoughts:
    =Too many wires not enough breakers- most newer pannels accept mini-breakers, allowing additional breakers to be added to an existing panel.

    =Newer "Square D" breakers are assigned to allow multi taps

    =I was told that wire nuts, used in a main panel, should point up. This is important in existing construction where electrical repairs or remodeling may be takening place.(like when a home is changing ownership).

    Why? When some one at an outlet,new switch or fixture pulls on a wire to take up slack and make a fresh connection. Two things rarely ( but can) happen -a) The splice under tension pulls apart. Leaving an exposed hot
    b) The wiggling and jiggling of wires can cause a poor wire nut connection to loosenIf nut is facing "down" it can fall off leaving an exposed hot and an exposed splice.( in a worse case senario, the exposed splice jiggled again, makes contact with the panel box and energies it...Waiting to zap the next person touching the panel


  42. #42
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Isaacson View Post
    Some thoughts:
    =Too many wires not enough breakers- most newer pannels accept mini-breakers, allowing additional breakers to be added to an existing panel.
    Those breakers were only allowed in specified locations within the panel.

    =Newer "Square D" breakers are assigned to allow multi taps
    Which has been stated above and a photo was posted showing this in post #42 above, and, which means it is not multiple tapped as there are two conductor terminal positions and each only has one conductor in it.

    =I was told that wire nuts, used in a main panel, should point up. This is important in existing construction where electrical repairs or remodeling may be takening place.(like when a home is changing ownership).

    Why? When some one at an outlet,new switch or fixture pulls on a wire to take up slack and make a fresh connection. Two things rarely ( but can) happen -a) The splice under tension pulls apart. Leaving an exposed hot
    b) The wiggling and jiggling of wires can cause a poor wire nut connection to loosenIf nut is facing "down" it can fall off leaving an exposed hot and an exposed splice.( in a worse case senario, the exposed splice jiggled again, makes contact with the panel box and energies it...Waiting to zap the next person touching the panel
    If wire nuts need to be turned up for that reason, the electrician should be fired.

    The connection is required to be made up properly, and if made up properly that is NOT necessary, and if it is not made up properly - take it apart and do it again correctly.

    Anyone relying on gravity to hold a wire nut in place is risking more than just a loose connection, they are risking fire, electrical shock, electrocution, etc., for someone else. If you (not you as in "you" singular, but as in the plural meaning anyone) are not sure you are doing it right: a) do not do it; b) do not do it; c) try to pull it apart; d) do not do it.

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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Isaacson View Post
    Some thoughts:

    =I was told that wire nuts, used in a main panel, should point up. This is important in existing construction where electrical repairs or remodeling may be takening place.(like when a home is changing ownership).

    Why? When some one at an outlet,new switch or fixture pulls on a wire to take up slack and make a fresh connection. Two things rarely ( but can) happen -a) The splice under tension pulls apart. Leaving an exposed hot
    b) The wiggling and jiggling of wires can cause a poor wire nut connection to loosenIf nut is facing "down" it can fall off leaving an exposed hot and an exposed splice.( in a worse case senario, the exposed splice jiggled again, makes contact with the panel box and energies it...Waiting to zap the next person touching the panel
    I've never heard this... it sounds far fetched at best. Pulling a junction in the panel from a fixture or switch? If you've ever pulled much electric cable you'll remember how "sticky" it is and how hard it is to pull around one bend. Let alone all the clamps and staples that should be in place.

    Also, if a hot wire falls against the panel case it will short out and the breaker will shut off.

    I don't see any problem with aiming them up but the reasons given seem a bit off. Can you site a source?


  44. #44
    Walter Bancroft's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    I've never read anything in the 'bible' about pointing wire nuts up. But Matt is correct...wire clamps are required to secure and protect the wire from just this sort of happening.

    Don't let this guy give you any advise on what stock to buy.


  45. #45
    Stephen Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Thanks to all who replied to my dilema regarding wire nuts inside panel. I had no idea how many scenarios could be created! But yes, to Ken Horak, old wiring was lengthened due either to the installation of a new panel or alterations of circuits. The double tapping information was new to me. Now I know what to look for.

    Thank you.

    Steve Clausen


  46. #46
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    If I'm going to splice several wires in a panel due to the wires being too short I'll use crimped butt-splices and heat shrink tubing. It makes for a neater job with less chance of loose connections.


  47. #47
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I don't see any problem with aiming them up but the reasons given seem a bit off. Can you site a source?
    The reason you haven't heard of this is that the aim wire nuts up rule is for the south hemisphere only. In the north you should aim them down, otherwise the rotational forces of the earth will eventually loosen the wire nut.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    If the wires have any chance of coming apart, then the splice was not done properly. After a properly done splice is completed, it is IMPOSSIBLE for those wires to come apart. I don't care if you hang from them. up to four or five #12 wires can be properly spliced together with lineman's plyers.

    Only after the splice is correctly completed should the wire nut go on. You can't just place two wires side by side and twist on the wire nut and expect that to hold.


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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post
    Only after the splice is correctly completed should the wire nut go on. You can't just place two wires side by side and twist on the wire nut and expect that to hold.
    Oh no.... here we go. This is fuel for another 20 pages. Wasn't there a thread awhile back about whether to twist first and install the nut or just twist the nut? Maybe it was another board.... I remember it going round and round for awhile.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    There was much discussion about taping the wire nut with electrical tape.

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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    up to four or five #12 wires can be properly spliced together with lineman's plyers. Only after the splice is correctly completed should the wire nut go on. You can't just place two wires side by side and twist on the wire nut and expect that to hold

    Gabe, that is not compleatly accurate.
    (Bold added)
    GB WingGard wire connectors
    Instructions
    1 Strip wires5/8"
    2 Align frayed strands or conductors
    3 Hold stripped wires together with ends even (lead stranded wires slighty) pre-twisting unnecessary
    4 push wires firmly onto connector; screw on

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

  52. #52
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Usually the "twisting before wire-nutting" requirement is in the specs of a job and is not a requirement from the manufacture. Sometimes the specs also call for soldering all joints.....like in a hospital.


  53. #53
    Jim Port's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post

    Only after the splice is correctly completed should the wire nut go on. You can't just place two wires side by side and twist on the wire nut and expect that to hold.
    You might want to read the instructions on the wire nut package. Look for something like "No pre-twisting required." Properly installed, without pre-twisting, will look the same as a pre-twisted connection.


  54. #54
    Gabe S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Sometimes these manufactorers will write anything to get someone to buy.

    When you hold two wires side by side and twist five times (even past the unstripped part of the wire one or two times) the only way the wires can come apart are by untwisting with linemans plyers.

    there's no way a wire nut can produce the same result.

    Listen, someone might do it and it may hold (not sure about what the code says about it) for a while, but will never be as secure.


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post
    Sometimes these manufactorers will write anything to get someone to buy.

    The manufactures " writing" is part of the ul listing of the product. It must perform as the installation instructions in order to obtain the UL listing. It's not just something written to sell the product

    When you hold two wires side by side and twist five times (even past the unstripped part of the wire one or two times) the only way the wires can come apart are by untwisting with linemans plyers.

    there's no way a wire nut can produce the same result.

    Take 2 #12 aeg stranded wires and try it- you will find out that the twisting motion involved in installing the wirenut will twist those wires together. - I always used linemens pliers myself first

    Listen, someone might do it and it may hold (not sure about what the code says about it) for a while, but will never be as secure.
    The NEC will not say anything as to the installation of the wirenuts because it is not an installation manual


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Wire nuts inside panel

    I think I will give it try. I'm just curious how well it's going to twist the wires. Only problem is, when I untwist it to look at it, I'm hoping it won't undue any sort of splice that was created.

    Didn't realize that the NEC doesn't specify things of that nature. It's surprising to me that they don't, since it's a huge safety concern.


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