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Old 01-16-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
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quick question about a breaker


hi, hopfully this will be a easy answer I have searched forever and cannot find any info.

I ran 120volt 50amp service to my detached garage. Everything is hooked up except at the service panel in my house. In the service panel (at the house) there is a double pole 50 amp breaker not being used. Since I only have 1 hot leg going to the garage, can I hook up to one side of this double breaker and just leave the other side empty? I was going to buy a single pole 50 amp breaker but come to find out the do not make them for my box.

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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hi, hopfully this will be a easy answer I have searched forever and cannot find any info.

I ran 120volt 50amp service to my detached garage. Everything is hooked up except at the service panel in my house. In the service panel (at the house) there is a double pole 50 amp breaker not being used. Since I only have 1 hot leg going to the garage, can I hook up to one side of this double breaker and just leave the other side empty? I was going to buy a single pole 50 amp breaker but come to find out the do not make them for my box.
Why did you run only 120 to the garage? But yes, you can use one side of the double pole. 50 A single poles are hard to come by. Make sure you are using the right wire size for your application.

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:52 PM   #3
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Do not do it. It will work but there are a lot of safety issues involved in this type of wiring. Since you are running it to the garage, may want to consider going to GFI.
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:53 PM   #4
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Do not do it. It will work but there are a lot of safety issues involved in this type of wiring. Since you are running it to the garage, may want to consider going to GFI.
How much more safe is it to run 240 to the garage then?
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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what exactly do you mean going to gfi? Im pretty new to this stuff.

why I only ran 110 to the garage, I really dont have a answer to that. The wire that I was sold only had 2 conducters (2 wires total) so i just used 1 for hot and 1 for neutral, and drove a ground rod at the garage. The wire is a number 2
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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everything works fine, I have the hot for the garage on one side of the double 50 and the other side has nothing connected to it right now. I am just a little concerned about flipping the breaker on and leaving it on. That is were I seek advice.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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What do you mean that you only have two wires? Do you not have a ground wire as well? Driving a ground rod is NOT a ground!
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:06 PM   #8
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there are 2 wires total. 1 wire is going to the breaker of the house (the double 50). Inside the breaker box (at the house) all the nuetrals and grounds are connected together on the bar(the one with all the set screws). The second wire is connected to that same bar and goes to the garage. It is hooked up to the garage panel. The nuetral and grounds are also connected inside the garage panel in the same manner. Not sure if i worded that right........
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:20 PM   #9
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Pictures would really help. What kind of wire did you run?
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:20 PM   #10
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there are 2 wires total. 1 wire is going to the breaker of the house (the double 50). Inside the breaker box (at the house) all the nuetrals and grounds are connected together on the bar(the one with all the set screws). The second wire is connected to that same bar and goes to the garage. It is hooked up to the garage panel. The nuetral and grounds are also connected inside the garage panel in the same manner. Not sure if i worded that right........
Boy oh boy. What you have is a technically legal setup under the 2005 Code an earlier. If your area is under the 2008 Code, then it is a violation. But, yes, one side of a double pole breaker will work for your situation. Make sure to use GFCI receptacles inside the garage and use the proper size breakers for the wire you use on your branch circuits.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:27 PM   #11
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the inside of the garage has 12-2 maybe 12-3 romex, cant remember but There is a black, white and bare wire all in a yelow sleeve.(defenitly 12 though) I currently have 15 amp breakers inside the garage. 1 for lights, 2 for outlets.

so if i replace all the outlets inside the garage with gfci outlets, im safe to kick that double breaker on and enjoy my garage?
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:29 PM   #12
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Remi, you REALLY need to have someone out there who know about this stuff check things out.

Do not get offended by this, but you have no idea what you are doing and are just winging this whole thing. Someone is going to get hurt.



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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:31 PM   #13
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I'm not an electrician but when i installed a sub panel in my garage i had to run 4 wires to the garage from the main panel, Hot-Hot-Neutral-ground. Also i had to use two ground rods by the garage. And also in the sub panel the neutral and grounds had to be separate-which you would not be able to do. I'm not sure about your codes but this was code in my area and what everyone said i had to do in order to be safe.

How did you hook up both phases of your sub panel with only one hot coming from the main panel?
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:35 PM   #14
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the panel in the garage has 6 spaces. 1 phase runs the 2 centers the second runs the 4 corners. I only have 3 breakers inside the garage. 1 for light, 2 for oulets. I put 6 breakers in the box, only 3 are hooked up. the other 3 are just for looks i guess So the hot wire is just going to the phase that controls the 4 corners. There is nothing on the other.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:17 PM   #15
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I wouldn't flip that switch
I ran a 60a sub to my pool cabana (trenched) under NEC 2005
Inspected & passed rough & final

4 wires required, 2 hots, white neutral, insulated ground
Not sure about running only 1 hot for just 120v
I'd never run just 120v to a garage
I needed 240v for a pool pump & who knows what I may want to connect in the future?

Sub requires grounds & neutral on a separate bus
I was required to run 2 ground rods
Garage is required to have GFCI protected circuits

I agree with Speedy
You really need to get this connected correctly before you energize

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