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Old 09-09-2007, 10:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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two wires on one circuit breaker

On a regular 120v house circuit breaker (I use Square D breakers) where the hot wire attaches to the breaker (see photo) there are two indentations for wires. Are you allowed to hook up two wires to two separate circuits on one breaker? I just want to know if this is allowed per the NEC.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

"Are you allowed to hook up two wires to two separate circuits on one breaker?"

YES.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

Yes you are allowed. No, its not a good practice.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

as long as the total circuit does not exceed the NEC requirements. Will it work YES is it smart NO

Excerpt from the Fester academy of electricity::

If it doesnt spark,blow up or melt, it is no good........
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

There is nothing wrong with it but both wires have to be rated to carry the full current of the breaker.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fine69</div><div class="ubbcode-body">No, its not a good practice. </div></div>

Could you elaborate? I am curious.

I have a 15A breaker in the garage that feeds only an outside motion-detecting light (2 100W bulbs). I would like to add another similar light on the backside of the garage. The CB sub-panel in the garage is midway between the two lights. So I figured the easiest way to hook up the new light is on the same breaker rather than running wiring between the two lights or adding a junction box between the two runs. I could add another breaker but the sub-panel isn't that large and I don't want to go to those two-in-one-slot breakers.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

that would be fine as long as you do not start adding more and more to it
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

...and as long as you ascertain the only existing circuit/load is the 2-100 watt lamps. There are many 'sneak circuits' that will suprise you when you find them.
BTW: the 'piggyback' or 'halfdeck' or 'duplex' breakers are very suitable for single slot replacement.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: shimonmor</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fine69</div><div class="ubbcode-body">No, its not a good practice. </div></div>

Could you elaborate? I am curious.

I have a 15A breaker in the garage that feeds only an outside motion-detecting light (2 100W bulbs). I would like to add another similar light on the backside of the garage. The CB sub-panel in the garage is midway between the two lights. So I figured the easiest way to hook up the new light is on the same breaker rather than running wiring between the two lights or adding a junction box between the two runs. I could add another breaker but the sub-panel isn't that large and I don't want to go to those two-in-one-slot breakers. </div></div>

The reason I say its a bad practice is I've seen too many breaker screws loosen due to high current flow. I've had inspectors make me change existing installations that my guys didn't install. The inspector said, while yes, it is legal by code, he would rather see a splice in the panel where you take the 2 wires off the breaker, splice them onto one wire, then land that wire on the breaker. Basically, he just said it was a bad habit to get into. Before anybody says you shouldn't splice in panels, yes, I think that is a bad practice also, but again, perfectly legal as long as all the conductors being spliced have the same rated ampacity. So to answer your wiring question. If I were you, I would just run a new wire to the new location, using the same size wire as the old light, and make a splice in the panel. Again, be sure to use all the same size wire, which for a 15 amp circuit is #14 copper.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

You can run two conductors to one lug but that is max. I try to keep it to one unless I cant help it.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: shimonmor</div><div class="ubbcode-body">On a regular 120v house circuit breaker (I use Square D breakers) where the hot wire attaches to the breaker (see photo) there are two indentations for wires. Are you allowed to hook up two wires to two separate circuits on one breaker? I just want to know if this is allowed per the NEC. </div></div>

Isn't that called "Double Lugging" and is a big NO-NO?
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

i ve been told in the past that a service panel is not to be used as splice/conjunction box.... only in case s of service upgrade requiring wires to be lenghtened to reach circuit breakers.

i d have to agree, double lugging is not a good practice.

all up to the local inspector s i guess.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: hapaschold</div><div class="ubbcode-body">all up to the local inspector i guess. </div></div>

Yes, it's up to the inspectors. I had a new 200A main breaker panel installed when I moved in and the electrician had to extend a lot of the wires in the panel because the old panel was a lot smaller so there are numerous splices in the new panel and the inspectors passed it. I actually don't see why splices or connections in a CB panel would be any different than in a junction box.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

Lots of pontificating on here but I am certain the code addresses this subject specifically, I just cannot find it. For neatness purposes I would rather have two wires under one lug so long as it was made for that, than to have a wire nut in the panel if it was not necessary. From practical experience it will work fine so long as the wires are equal size. Do not even think about it if one is a 14 and one is a 12. The square "washer" will cock on the screw and might not give correct clamping pressure to the smaller wire; if they are the same size it will be more or less level and not have this problem.

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Old 09-11-2007, 11:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: two wires on one circuit breaker

You can also replace the single breaker with a "piggy back" which gives you two breakers in one space. These are used to increase your breakers with out having to buy another panel.
Your idea will work, but if one lite should short out, it could take out anything down stream of it (2nd lite). With the "piggy back" only one side (lite) would trip. Not all inspectors will approve of your idea or mine. Technology moves faster than code books.
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