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Old 08-19-2008, 09:58 AM   #1
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


I have a Square D Homeline HOM3040L200TC breaker panel (200 amp, 30 slots), I have one open slot left, and I'm in a small ranch. To figure out why I have so many breakers I found the finished basement is set up where each room in it has it's own breaker for the lights, and another for the outlets. 6 rooms in the basement = 12 breakers. That's a lot of breakers for 6 small rooms.

I saw previously someone mention that, you can't attach 2 wires into a single breaker unless it's designed for it and they've only seen that with Square D. I have Square D Homeline panel and when I look at the breakers for it, their breakers do have a clamp to attach 2 wires... one on the left and one on the right. Can I combine some of the circuits in my basement so each room takes say only 1 breaker instead of 2 (I know to stay away from the bathroom circuit, and all the rooms & lights down there are all on their own 15A breaker).


Last edited by Piedmont; 08-19-2008 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Yes the Homeline breakers can accept 2 wires under the screw clamp.

I would pick 2 lightly loaded circuits and give it a try to see if problems occurred. If any multi-wire circuits are involved you would need to avoid changing any of those. You could double the current on the neutrals.

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Old 08-19-2008, 11:53 AM   #3
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Jim, Good call on the square d panels. I did not know you could double up.
OP: Since you refer to your residence as a ranch, you may need more room. Panel spaces. You could mount a small sub panel right next to the one you have or somewhere convenient. Then you could use two spaces in your main panel and use your sub panel for the extra breaker slots you need now and in the future.
One spare breaker slot is not going to allow for much expansion even if the circuits are lightly loaded. You may free up some space with the basement circuits, but when your house was built, the contractor would not have pulled as many home runs. IMO, I would look at installing the sub panel.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:27 PM   #4
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Don't forget, you have a 30/40 panel. You can install twin (skinny, tandem, etc) breakers in the bottom 10 spaces if you need more room.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


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...If any multi-wire circuits are involved you would need to avoid changing any of those. You could double the current on the neutrals.
This is true and not true. It will work if both of the ungrounded's of the same multiconductor circuit are hooked to the same breaker. It may not work if only one of them is used. While it is true that the neutral will have to carry the combined current of both of the ungrounded conductors, if both of the same multiconductor circuit are attached to the same breaker the breaker will trip when the current reaches its setting, thus the neutral won't have to carry more than the setting of the breaker. For example, a 12/3 circuit with both of it's ungrounded's on the same 20 amp breaker...the neutral only has to carry 20 amps...which it's rated for anyways. I'm not saying it's the ideal thing to do, I'm just saying it won't hurt the neutral of a properly wired circuit, even if it's a multiconductor. It won't work with say 12/4 (yes, I've seen 12/4) but it will with 12/3, etc. with the proper size breaker.

Last edited by SD515; 08-20-2008 at 05:10 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #6
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Being a "newbie", you guys are starting to confuse me with the Multi-wired stuff....does that mean don't combine a 2-pole breaker to one that is split? that wouldn't work anyhow, right, because the split breaker only touches one of the buss bars and in a multi, doesn't that mean you need V and both busses? or are you talking about 3 way switches??? the only way I can think of a situation where you might use 12/3 or 14/3 is either in a V application or in a V app that utilizes multiple switches - single phase, of course. Can you tell I am trying to learn about electricity but don't really know all that much now????
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:44 PM   #7
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Can not install 2 wires under the same screw (except ground wire limit 2) in any panel so says the National Electric Code.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:15 PM   #8
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


The code does say no more than one grounded conductor (neutral)(408.41), but it does not put a limit on grounding conductors. The manufacturers do this.
Most new panels are up to three of the same size.
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Last edited by Speedy Petey; 09-29-2008 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


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Can not install 2 wires under the same screw (except ground wire limit 2) in any panel so says the National Electric Code.
Code reference?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:08 PM   #10
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


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Originally Posted by Piedmont View Post
Can I combine some of the circuits in my basement so each room takes say only 1 breaker instead of 2 (I know to stay away from the bathroom circuit, and all the rooms & lights down there are all on their own 15A breaker).
Yes, Yes, Yes, a thousand times YES. 12 breakers for the basement is absurd. You said you had a small ranch, let's say 1200 square feet.

1200 x 3va = 3600 VA
3600 VA / 120 volts = 30 amps
30 amps = 2-15 amp circuits

You say you have 12? And they are probably 20 amp at that.

Forget about the subpanel you have more than enough space in your panel. Don't worry about it.

Double them up!!! Piggyback them, whatever, have a ball
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:02 PM   #11
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


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Yes, Yes, Yes, a thousand times YES. 12 breakers for the basement is absurd. You said you had a small ranch, let's say 1200 square feet.

1200 x 3va = 3600 VA
3600 VA / 120 volts = 30 amps
30 amps = 2-15 amp circuits

You say you have 12? And they are probably 20 amp at that.

Forget about the subpanel you have more than enough space in your panel. Don't worry about it.

Double them up!!! Piggyback them, whatever, have a ball
Only if the breakers are listed to support two wires. These usually have a small metal plate/washer under the screw with two indentations (one on either side) of the screw where you can put one wire on either side. If it is simply a "V" or "U" shaped hole where the screw tightens down on the wire then these are only listed for one wire. You can still do what you want with this type, only you'd need to use a wire nut and a pigtail to do so.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:57 PM   #12
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
You could double the current on the neutrals.
Just enlarge on this, the neutral current
could double if the hot wires (red-black)
happened to get connected to two breakers of the same voltage side.
If its connected to breakers of opposite sides, no problem as the current will flow through the breakers if the loads are equal.
Neutral current will never exceed the breaker rating, whatever variations of load occur.
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


Square D QO and Homeline breakers form 10 amp to 30 amp are UL listed to accept 1 or 2 #14 to #10. If you look at the side of one, it'll show the method of attachment. 35 amp and higher are good for 1 wire only.

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Old 09-30-2008, 03:35 AM   #14
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


I'm sorry and stand corrected. It is not NEC but our AHJ won't allow it under any circumstances and it has been that way so long I thought it was NEC. Did some checking last night and as I said I stand corrected.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:28 AM   #15
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I can "double" the wires to each breaker in my breaker panel right?


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Originally Posted by mjsparky363 View Post
I'm sorry and stand corrected. It is not NEC but our AHJ won't allow it under any circumstances and it has been that way so long I thought it was NEC. Did some checking last night and as I said I stand corrected.

Tell your inspector to "go pound sand" next time

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