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Old 09-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #1
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Adding 120 breaker to a box with 240 only


Hello, I'm sorry if this has been covered before, I couldn't find anything fitting with a search...

I need to add a 20A 120V breaker for dedicated circuit for my washing machine. I have a panel in my attic which services 2 a/c units in the attic, it only has 2 240V breakers inside and has plenty of open room. However, there is no neutral in box, only has two very large hots and ground coming in. Is it possible to get a 120V breaker in this panel? This wire run would be sooo much easier than coming from my main breaker box downstairs and on complete opposite side of house.

Another solution I am considering is to just add a receptacle for the washing machine by simply tapping into an existing 15A circuit nearby. Does anyone think I would be dumb for doing this? Does a washing machine really need its own 20A circuit?

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Old 09-19-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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Adding 120 breaker to a box with 240 only


There is no safe way for you to add the 120 circuit to a box that is 240 volt only. As you stated you do not have the required neutral.

The code also requires the laundry circuit to be dedicated to the laundry area and be 20 amps. You need to follow the rules.

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Old 09-19-2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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Adding 120 breaker to a box with 240 only


Bummer about not being able to use that panel!

And I realize I should follow the rules. Hypothetically speaking, does a washing machine really need its own 20A circuit? What is the reasoning behind that rule, what might happen if someone ran a washing machine on a shared 15A circuit, hypothetically speaking, of course?
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:49 PM   #4
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Adding 120 breaker to a box with 240 only


You could potentially overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip. Having a 20 amp circuit also allows for an iron or gas dryer to be used on the same circuit.
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