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Old 04-08-2019, 11:22 PM   #1
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Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Our panel has several breakers paired together with handle ties, but the individual breakers do not service the same piece of equipment. It looks like they ran 4 conductor romex to these, so these tied together breakers share a ground and neutral wire. I assume they did this to reduce the total number of lines they had to pull.

We have 5 of these pairs:
  • Dishwasher and Disposal
  • Fridge and Kitchen GFCI #1
  • Washing Machine and Laundry GFCI
  • BR1, BR2, Loft, and 2nd Bathroom Lighting
  • Master BR and Master Bath
Do these breakers really need to be tied together? I've been trying to identify all of the loads on each breaker, but with these paired breakers I haven't been able to do that.

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Old 04-08-2019, 11:35 PM   #2
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


If you only turn off one and use the other there will be power on the neutral so that is the danger. so when you are doing your shut off list, list them all together with both breaker numbers.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:35 AM   #3
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Yes code requires handle ties on the circuits in question.

To do as you want, turn the breaker off, disconnect the wire on one pole and restore the breaker.

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Old 04-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #4
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Interesting note, handle ties would not be required for those circuits in Canada. Only if both circuits are for the same device or piece of equipment.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:16 AM   #5
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by eddy current View Post
Interesting note, handle ties would not be required for those circuits in Canada. Only if both circuits are for the same device or piece of equipment.
The NEC started requiring handle ties (or 2 pole breakers) for MWBC some time in the 90s. Reason is if only 1 breaker is off the neutral can still nail you.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:11 AM   #6
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by eddy current View Post
Interesting note, handle ties would not be required for those circuits in Canada. Only if both circuits are for the same device or piece of equipment.
I have never seen them with out a tie, so I would question that statement. Nope, you are right. son of a gun.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:43 AM   #7
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


The CEC does require that neutrals in MWBC's be done in such a fashion that
any device can be removed without opening the neutral, ie tails.
When done this way there's little to no of chance of a shock from the (grounded) neutral.
Open neutrals are of course another matter.

As far as the op's original question: I'd suggest following @rjniles advice in post 5.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:37 PM   #8
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
If you only turn off one and use the other there will be power on the neutral so that is the danger.
That makes sense.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
so when you are doing your shut off list, list them all together with both breaker numbers.
I am a bit OCD. However, in the grand scheme of things, since the breakers are tied together, all the loads can be listed for both. I wish they would have just run individual lines, as that means securing loads in areas that I am not working in.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:30 PM   #9
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
To do as you want, turn the breaker off, disconnect the wire on one pole and restore the breaker.
Well, my OCD got the better of me. I went ahead and did just that. Now I know what is on each particular breaker.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


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Originally Posted by gpraceman View Post
Well, my OCD got the better of me. I went ahead and did just that. Now I know what is on each particular breaker.
So now when you you change out a switch, you will just turn them both off
anyway.

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Old 04-09-2019, 03:26 PM   #11
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


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Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
So now when you you change out a switch, you will just turn them both off
anyway.

Right. lol


Well, if I ever do any rewiring, it would be handy to know what particular loads are on each breaker.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:32 PM   #12
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


It would be unwise to remove the handle ties. This could give the false impression these are individual/independent 120vac branch circuits. Someone juggles breakers around in the future and could get both of these breakers onto the same phase thus overloading the neutral.


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Old 04-11-2019, 04:35 PM   #13
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Re: Circuit Breaker Handle Ties


Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
It would be unwise to remove the handle ties. This could give the false impression these are individual/independent 120vac branch circuits. Someone juggles breakers around in the future and could get both of these breakers onto the same phase thus overloading the neutral.
Since it is code to have the handle ties there because of the shared neutral, I do not intend to take them off.
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