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House electric questions #5333458 01/27/20 08:37 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Double tapping of breakers seems verboten, yet after looking at a breaker yesterday I noticed that it will easily take two wires. Why is that? Do some jurisdictions allow two wires on the breaker?

[I found that when I popped the panel off; right after my home inspection the PO had a radon system installed, and yep, they ran a second wire to a breaker. I'm ignoring for now, but know that I should fix some day.]

I put in some new outlets. Why is that they give you two sets of screws for hot and neutral, so you can daisy chain, but only one ground screw? I used up some of the fancy ground wire nuts I had (ok not fancy at all--it's just a nut with a hole in it) and then on the last one I remembered I had some Wago's that I'd rather use. I must have gotten the mid range outlets, despite having clamps for hot and neutral, the ground side was just a screw--maybe I just didn't pay enough.

Labeling wires every so feet ought to be a law... as is installing a chaseway from basement to attic!


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 201k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 157k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 223k, his
Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333466 01/27/20 08:45 AM
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hallstevenson Offline
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The 2nd set of terminals are technically there so you can have a switched outlet (after breaking the tab). Outlets are not "splicing devices". Do people do it, including fully licensed electricians ? Yeap.

Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333468 01/27/20 08:48 AM
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kschachn Online Content
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Two wires to a breaker is permitted as long as the breaker is listed for two:

[Linked Image from i.stack.imgur.com]

The Square D breakers in my house look something like this:

[Linked Image from abihomeservices.com]


1994 BMW 530i, 251K
1996 Honda Accord, 280K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 430K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: House electric questions [Re: hallstevenson] #5333470 01/27/20 08:52 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Two wires to a breaker is permitted as long as the breaker is listed for two:

[Linked Image from i.stack.imgur.com]

Did not know that--I had read through a few home inspection articles and came across double tapping a number of times, but nothing about it being allowed.

Originally Posted by hallstevenson
The 2nd set of terminals are technically there so you can have a switched outlet (after breaking the tab). Outlets are not "splicing devices". Do people do it, including fully licensed electricians ? Yeap.

Hmm, interesting. Is that prohibited by code or by convention? I mean, both outlets are rated for full load (not simultaneously of course), thus that tie bar has to be rated for full load--so it seems like a natural splicing device.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 201k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 157k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 223k, his
Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333473 01/27/20 08:54 AM
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KrisZ Online Content
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For the most part, a 15A breaker will be wired pretty much to its capacity, so that is why it's not a good idea to double wire a breaker. From safety perspective there is no difference. The breaker will simply trip, that's its job.



As for single ground, you are supposed pigtail the ground wires coming off of the cables, the outlet and then have one spare wire coming off of the pigtail connect to the ground on the box.
[Linked Image]


2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333477 01/27/20 08:55 AM
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kschachn Online Content
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Originally Posted by supton
Did not know that--I had read through a few home inspection articles and came across double tapping a number of times, but nothing about it being allowed.

Well local codes are free to be more restrictive than the NEC. But if the device is listed for that use then it is permitted unless otherwise prohibited. This type of connector is on a device that would not be listed for two (or three!) wires.The clamping force is not consistent on the wires:

[Linked Image from brightsidehomeinspections.com]


1994 BMW 530i, 251K
1996 Honda Accord, 280K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 430K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: House electric questions [Re: hallstevenson] #5333481 01/27/20 08:58 AM
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KrisZ Online Content
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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
The 2nd set of terminals are technically there so you can have a switched outlet (after breaking the tab). Outlets are not "splicing devices". Do people do it, including fully licensed electricians ? Yeap.


Makes no sense to me. If it were true you would need a separate cable and a separate breaker for each and every outlet.


2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: House electric questions [Re: KrisZ] #5333485 01/27/20 09:04 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by KrisZ
For the most part, a 15A breaker will be wired pretty much to its capacity, so that is why it's not a good idea to double wire a breaker. From safety perspective there is no difference. The breaker will simply trip, that's its job.



As for single ground, you are supposed pigtail the ground wires coming off of the cables, the outlet and then have one spare wire coming off of the pigtail connect to the ground on the box.
[Linked Image]

I don't get that drawing--a wirenut on ground makes sense, but then it uses one on neutral but not hot? Probably showing what is permissible I'm guessing.

Most the boxes in my house are plastic, save a few in the basement that are metal--those all appear to be pigtailed as you indicate. I replaced a couple of worn outlets and I think they all used the outlet as a splice--been a couple months--but as a modular/manufactured I'd assume what was in the walls was done to code. Then again, I think all the outlets are on 20A breakers with 12/2 wiring and using 15A outlets. shrug I should go inventory it all again.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 201k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 157k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 223k, his
Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333488 01/27/20 09:14 AM
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KrisZ Online Content
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Yeah, you're right, I didn't notice it. The hot wires should've been pigtailed as well. That's at least from what I've seen done.


2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: House electric questions [Re: KrisZ] #5333500 01/27/20 09:28 AM
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hallstevenson Offline
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Originally Posted by KrisZ
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
The 2nd set of terminals are technically there so you can have a switched outlet (after breaking the tab). Outlets are not "splicing devices". Do people do it, including fully licensed electricians ? Yeap.


Makes no sense to me. If it were true you would need a separate cable and a separate breaker for each and every outlet.

No, you use wire nuts or other proper splicing devices inside the box. The image you show shows exactly this but only with the neutral. You (can) do the same with the hot.

[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]

Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333505 01/27/20 09:34 AM
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quint Offline
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Originally Posted by supton
Then again, I think all the outlets are on 20A breakers with 12/2 wiring and using 15A outlets. shrug I should go inventory it all again.


If there is only one socket on that 20A circuit, then it should be a 20A socket. If there are multiple sockets on that 20A circuit, then you can use 15A sockets.

Aside from the fact that a single device that requires a 20A supply would have a 20A plug on it, which would not fit into a 15A socket.

I was told that 15A sockets and 20A sockets are mechanically identical, other than the 20A socket allowing the T-shaped 20A plugs to be inserted whereas a 15A would not. I don't know if this is true, I am not an electrician .

Re: House electric questions [Re: hallstevenson] #5333508 01/27/20 09:37 AM
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KrisZ Online Content
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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Originally Posted by KrisZ
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
The 2nd set of terminals are technically there so you can have a switched outlet (after breaking the tab). Outlets are not "splicing devices". Do people do it, including fully licensed electricians ? Yeap.


Makes no sense to me. If it were true you would need a separate cable and a separate breaker for each and every outlet.

No, you use wire nuts or other proper splicing devices inside the box. The image you show shows exactly this but only with the neutral. You (can) do the same with the hot.

[Linked Image from i.pinimg.com]


Ok, I see what you meant by splicing devices now. Thanks for clarifying.

Last edited by KrisZ; 01/27/20 09:38 AM.

2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333573 01/27/20 10:45 AM
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Donald Offline
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Most circuit breaker boxes are pretty full so adding more wires into it may not be a good idea. But if already there and not prohibited then I would leave alone.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
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Re: House electric questions [Re: supton] #5333585 01/27/20 10:58 AM
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zzyzzx Offline
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This is an easily solvable problem:
[Linked Image from do-it-yourself-help.com]

Re: House electric questions [Re: Donald] #5333587 01/27/20 10:59 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Donald
Most circuit breaker boxes are pretty full so adding more wires into it may not be a good idea. But if already there and not prohibited then I would leave alone.

I'll check the breaker but it does appear that I was wrong, this double tap is ok. I think they tapped the circuit for the bathroom lights, so it's not a big deal.

I added two more circuits and still have about 4 open. Nevermind that I could open up 4 more as we took out the electric range and the electric dryer.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 201k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 157k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 223k, his
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