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Old 12-17-2007, 09:06 PM   #1
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Panel Full - Can I double up circuits


Hello,
I need to add an additional circuit to my panel but there is no available room for any more circuit breakers.... I have not exceeded my max amperage....
Can I just combine some lower useage devices like the garbage disposal and the refrigerator on to the same circuit? Both are 20amps and the garbage disposal gets used very little....
Please advise.
Thanks....

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Old 12-17-2007, 09:54 PM   #2
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Panel Full - Can I double up circuits


are you talking about landing 2 circuits(wires) on one breaker in the panel?dont do it.
if so you can buy tandem breakers they take up half the space.in other words you could remove 1 single pole breaker of same amps as new circuit install a tandem of same amp.and have 2 circuits.be careful in that panel especially fishing in that new circuit very easy to make contact with live parts.turn main off if possible. good luck

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Old 12-17-2007, 10:02 PM   #3
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Panel Full - Can I double up circuits


Yes...I was wanting to connect 2 wires to the same breaker.... So you say I can get a tandom breaker in the same space as the orginal? I guess each would have their own trip mechanisim and that would be safer.... Can I remove a single 20amp and put in a tandom (2-20 amp - total of 40amps) breakers in the same location as the original?
Thanks.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:11 PM   #4
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the tandem will give you 2 independant 20a circuits
were you wanting to add a 220volt circuit or a 110?
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:20 PM   #5
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Panel Full - Can I double up circuits


Some circuit breakers are listed and allowed to have two branch circuit hot wires connected to them....as an example square d breakers allow this......and the clamping lug breaker is designed to secure two wires. Modern Breaker panels are CTL so using tandems or doubling up won't create an overload problems. Here is an example of a circuit breaker that will accept two hot wires.....this is a square d QO.... very common in residential panels.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
Some circuit breakers are listed and allowed to have two branch circuit hot wires connected to them....as an example square d breakers allow this......and the clamping lug breaker is designed to secure two wires. Modern Breaker panels are CTL so using tandems or doubling up won't create an overload problems. Here is an example of a circuit breaker that will accept two hot wires.....this is a square d QO.... very common in residential panels.


great picture stubbie as usuall.how do you come up with all these so quickly?very impressive
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:41 PM   #7
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Great picture....I do have Square D and the breakers look like that. So I guess I am good to go to double up. Would it be ok in your estimation to double up like the garbage disposal and refrigerator? I would think each of these are dedicate with little chance to overload.....
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:05 AM   #8
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Panel Full - Can I double up circuits


I agree with you that these are two good ones to double up. Others may disagree. If you didn't have a breaker that would accept two wires, an easy option would be to take both wires off their breakers and add a pigtail (short section of spare wire) to them. This accomplishes the same goal.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:00 AM   #9
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is it always a good idea to shut off the main before changing a breaker or is that something most accomplished electricians don't do?
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:47 AM   #10
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Would it be ok in your estimation to double up like the garbage disposal and refrigerator? I would think each of these are dedicate with little chance to overload.....
Anytime you double motor driven appliances you want to carefully consider the load if the two are on at the same time. Especially when the refrigerator cycles. It is common however to have both the dishwasher and the disposal on the same breaker. Doubling a 15 amp breaker increases the risk of a trip as compared to doubling a 20 amp breaker... just common sense. I would suspect you will have no major problems with the disposal and fridge on the same breaker, however you must consider if the breaker trips and you are away from home then you will likely have your food in a spoiled state when you return. So it is rather uncommon to place the fridge and another motor driven appliance the same circuit.

Irish king

There is no good reason to work in a panel with the main breaker still on. Yes it is done quite often but isn't necessary and increases the opportunity for a mishap. The fact that you may need to reset a few clocks and other items isn't a good excuse in terms of your personal safety.

Last edited by Stubbie; 12-18-2007 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #11
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Irish king

There is no good reason to work in a panel with the main breaker still on. Yes it is done quite often but isn't necessary and increases the opportunity for a mishap. The fact that you may need to reset a few clocks and other items isn't a good excuse in terms of your personal safety.
Stubbie
I personally would always shut off the main especially after an electrical worker I know suffered a horrible mishap. while working on a panel wearing a 65%/35% polyester-cotton work shirt, it arced and ignited his shirt. He couldn't put out his burning shirt. The more he slapped at it with his hands and arms, the more he spread the fire of his melting shirt....the 'melt and cling' effect. He said it was like being in the Vietnam war with burning napalm dropped all over his body.

Last edited by Irishking23; 12-18-2007 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:12 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your input. I am definetly sold on turning off the main power and being safe.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:00 PM   #13
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*****Don't double up anything that has a RED wire.*******

Very often the DW/disp is part of a multiwire branch circuit.




I'd double up a lighting circuit instead of the kitchen stuff. The kitchen stuff is one of your biggest, most important loads.

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