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-   -   2 breakers with black and red hots for only 2 plugs in kitchen. Y so many? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/2-breakers-black-red-hots-only-2-plugs-kitchen-y-so-many-159807/)

Runestone 10-12-2012 12:27 AM

2 breakers with black and red hots for only 2 plugs in kitchen. Y so many?
 
I have a 1979 Fleetwood mobile home. In the kitchen behind the countertop i have 4 receptacles. 1[X] 2[X] [Sink] 3[X] 4[X] --->[Panel]. I wanted to change the two receptacles by the sink (2 and 3) to gfci plugs. When i went to the panel i found four 15amp breakers with 2 of the switch handles connected together for each. It was labeled "kitchen 1A" connected with "kitchen 1B" and "kitchen 2A" connected with "kitchen 2B". Kit 1 controls plugs 2 and 4. Kit 2 controls plugs 1 and 3. Weird eh? When i pulled plugs 3 and 4 i found what appears to be wiring for a 3way control (14-3 i believe its called?) There were bare copper grounds, white neutrals, black hots and red hots. All running thru the 2 and 4 boxes going to 1 and 3 boxes respectively. I pulled off the 2 covers that connected the four breakers and found that "kit 1A" and "kit 2A" both controlled their respectable red hot whites. To simplifying things i disconnected and capped the red hots and shut off both "kit A" breakers. I installed the gfci plugs on the "kit B" breakers and everything works correctly, but cant help wondering what the purpose of the extra breaker was for 2 circuits with only 2 plugs each?

md2lgyk 10-12-2012 06:50 AM

Code today requires two 20-amp small appliance circuits for a kitchen, even if each supplies only one receptacle. But I cannot explain why your trailer is wired as you describe. If I had to guess, I'd say the top and bottom halves of each receptacle are (or were) separately powered.

AllanJ 10-12-2012 08:14 AM

You could have connected the new GFCI receptacle in one outlet box to the reds and the GFCI receptacle in another outlet box to the blacks. This would let you draw power from both breakers and therefore let you use more appliances without tripping a breaker.

Runestone 10-12-2012 08:39 AM

The two gfci plugs are already on separate breakers. I dont know if i would have been able to do that on one circuit though because with the one breaker comes only the one red hot, no neutral or ground. I wouldve had to share the neutral and ground with the other breaker. Unless that is possible to do. Then i would have 4 plugs on 4 separate breakers.

AllanJ 10-12-2012 02:48 PM

If Romex cables are used and you notice that the red wire and a black wire and a white wire go into the same cable before leaving the outlet box, and you have 120 volts between that red and that white, then you can use that red and that white for a receptacle.

Runestone 10-12-2012 02:55 PM

But not the black and white for a receptacle?

AllanJ 10-12-2012 09:44 PM

... you could use red and white for one receptacle unit and use black and white for a different receptacle unit.

Runestone 10-12-2012 11:06 PM

Ok so u could share the neutral and ground between breakers?

AllanJ 10-13-2012 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runestone (Post 1029794)
Ok so u could share the neutral and ground between breakers?

Yes, provided that the neutral and ground are in the same cable as the (red and black) hot conductors.

The most up to date code requires that the two breakers for the red and black be in the same unit that spans two slots in the panel, positioned to have 240 volts (not 0 volts) between them, and have their handles tied together. An older installation with two separate breakers must have 240 volts between the two breakers.

The neutral and ground are attached to the neutral bus bar and ground bus bar respectively in the panel. The most up to date code requires that each neutral have its own hole and screw in the bus bar.

Runestone 10-13-2012 08:04 AM

Oooook. Awesome thank you very much.

andrew79 10-13-2012 10:36 AM

The original wiring is exactly as it should have been. It was wired for splits. Just throwing gfci's on each circuit seperate would only give you 15a gfci's. This is not to code they have to be 20a which would require a #12 wire. The only way to legally do this would be to replace the wire with 12/2 and use 20a receptacles or to replace breakers with two pole gfci's and leave wiring as is. Of course its legal to begin with so why change it at all.

Runestone 10-13-2012 04:52 PM

Ok ill put the original plugs back in and put gfci breakers in. I dont see how it couldve been to code if receptacles must be gfci if theyre within a certain distance from the sink. 3 ft is the distance i believe? I have a gfci breaker for the outdoor receptacle

md2lgyk 10-14-2012 05:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runestone (Post 1030191)
Ok ill put the original plugs back in and put gfci breakers in. I dont see how it couldve been to code if receptacles must be gfci if theyre within a certain distance from the sink. 3 ft is the distance i believe? I have a gfci breaker for the outdoor receptacle

Your trailer is 33 years old. No telling what code was when it was built. And I don't know if GFCIs have even been around that long.

k_buz 10-14-2012 07:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runestone (Post 1030191)
Ok ill put the original plugs back in and put gfci breakers in. I dont see how it couldve been to code if receptacles must be gfci if theyre within a certain distance from the sink. 3 ft is the distance i believe? I have a gfci breaker for the outdoor receptacle

You will need a 2 pole GFI breaker, not two single pole GFI breakers.

andrew79 10-14-2012 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Runestone
Ok ill put the original plugs back in and put gfci breakers in. I dont see how it couldve been to code if receptacles must be gfci if theyre within a certain distance from the sink. 3 ft is the distance i believe? I have a gfci breaker for the outdoor receptacle

Code changes on a regular basis. There's no way to police it when a new amendment is brought out so houses are required to comply with the code at the time of building until you make changes. At that point your required to comply with current code. Changing devices isn't considered a renovation and wiring can remain the same. Your code at the time of building would have been 15a split receptacles on the countertop.

I'm not sure on the current code rule in the u.s but here we can use either two pole gfci breakers at 15a or 20a single pole circuits. Either way unless you want to rewire the breakers are your only option to get gfci's in there and meet code unless the current wiring is #12 awg.


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