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Old 09-10-2011, 04:04 PM   #1
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


I recently bought a home in Brooklyn, NY, and in the process of changing out a receptacle, I noticed that I had two 20 amp circuits sharing the same neutral.

It's my understanding that this is fine as long as the 2 circuits are on different phases. What I don't know is whether my circuits are on different phases. They are circuits #12 and #16, meaning that they are in the same column in the panel, with one breaker (#14) in between.

If this means they are on the same phase, am I OK leaving it as is? The circuits get a very light load. If I switched the 20 amp breakers to 15 amp, would that help minimize any risk of overloading the neutral?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 09-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #2
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


most residential panels are odd and even. Move breaker to to 13 or 17, install a handle tie or use a two pole breaker, group circuits in panel with tape or a ty wrap.

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Old 09-10-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


What brand is the panel? Most likely it’s as Code05 said, but if it’s a Push-o-matic one of the breakers will have to go to the left side, and will require a 2-pole breaker to be compliant with code.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Measure voltage across the 2 breakers, if it measures 240 they are on opposite legs of the service. If it measures 0 they are on the same leg.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:21 PM   #5
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05
most residential panels are odd and even. Move breaker to to 13 or 17, install a handle tie or use a two pole breaker, group circuits in panel with tape or a ty wrap.
Shouldn't they be on 12 and 14.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny B. View Post
Shouldn't they be on 12 and 14.
Probably, yes.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:27 PM   #7
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by brric
Probably, yes.
So in other words, sometimes that's not the case?
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:09 PM   #8
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny B. View Post
So in other words, sometimes that's not the case?
Depends on the panel, the most common arrangement is

Left side Right side
A B
B A
A B
B A
etc etc
Format is not working for me, the first column is the left side, second column is the right side.

But some panels are all A leg down the left side and all B leg down the right side.
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Last edited by rjniles; 09-10-2011 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:39 PM   #9
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles

Depends on the panel, the most common arrangement is

Left side Right side
A B
B A
A B
B A
etc etc
Format is not working for me, the first column is the left side, second column is the right side.

But some panels are all A leg down the left side and all B leg down the right side.
Wow!! So how would you put a 2 pole breaker on that?
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


The breaker bridges across the left and right side.

Here is an old Zinsco panel with a 2 pole breaker

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Old 09-10-2011, 06:54 PM   #11
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles
The breaker bridges across the left and right side.

Here is an old Zinsco panel with a 2 pole breaker
Wow. Thanks for enlightening me
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


A more typical arrangement is A A
B B
A A
B B.
This allows a 2 pole breaker to grab the opposite legs.

A common numbering scheme has the odds on the left and the evens on the right, for example 1 2
3 4
5 6 etc
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:27 PM   #13
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port
A more typical arrangement is A A
B B
A A
B B.
This allows a 2 pole breaker to grab the opposite legs.

A common numbering scheme has the odds on the left and the evens on the right, for example 1 2
3 4
5 6 etc
This is what I'm familiar with. The other panel is what had me lost.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:34 PM   #14
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Slight modification for your picture RJ.
Attached Thumbnails
Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral-zinsco14-burnt.jpg  
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:43 PM   #15
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Two Circuits Sharing a Neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny B. View Post
Shouldn't they be on 12 and 14.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brric View Post
Probably, yes.

Okay, I had a brain fart, it happens.

Yes I meant any 2 slots directly above or below each other.

10 and 12, 12 and 14, 14 and 16, 16 and 18, etc.

Unless it is one of those Pushmatics mentioned.

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