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double tap


John Dirks Jr
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I found my first double tapped breaker lug. I know there is debate over where double tapping is acceptable.

Most of the breaker lugs on this Cutler Hammer panel had the square flat washers with notches on both sides of the screw. This indicates that they can accept two wires, correct?

The double tapped 20A GFI you see pictured had a different lug. It was more of an encasement type lug where the screw comes down on top of the wires. It looks like the lugs you see on neutral/grounding busbars. The panel listed this breaker as serving the master bathroom. Interestingly enough there was two dead outlets in the master bathroom.

I did my best to try and describe the different types of lugs. If someone can provide a better way of identifying or describing styles of lugs, please do.

Any opinions on this particular double tap? Sorry about the poor quality photo. I forgot to set the cam on closeup.

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Originally posted by AHI

I found my first double tapped breaker lug. I know there is debate over where double tapping is acceptable.

There may be some debate about reporting double taps in the context of a home inspection. However, I really hope there's no debate about whether or not they're acceptable. Double taps are only acceptable if the device is listed for them. It's a very simple and straightforward requirement and it's been in place for a long, long time.

Most of the breaker lugs on this Cutler Hammer panel had the square flat washers with notches on both sides of the screw. This indicates that they can accept two wires, correct?

No. That's wrong. Those breakers are only listed to serve a single wire.

The double tapped 20A GFI you see pictured had a different lug. It was more of an encasement type lug where the screw comes down on top of the wires. It looks like the lugs you see on neutral/grounding busbars. The panel listed this breaker as serving the master bathroom. Interestingly enough there was two dead outlets in the master bathroom.

I can't see the lug very well in the picture, but the only Cutler Hammer breaker that I know of that can accept two wires is the type CH, 15-amp breaker. The one is your picture is not that breaker.

I did my best to try and describe the different types of lugs. If someone can provide a better way of identifying or describing styles of lugs, please do.

See the attached pictures of the only Cutler Hammer breaker (that I know of) that will accept two wires.

Any opinions on this particular double tap? Sorry about the poor quality photo. I forgot to set the cam on closeup.

It's wrong.

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I can't see the lug very well in the picture, but the only Cutler Hammer breaker that I know of that can accept two wires is the type CH, 15-amp breaker. The one is your picture is not that breaker.

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Cutler Hammer lists all current CH type breakers, 10 thru 30 amp, one and two pole, for 2 #14-#10 conductors. Obviously, you can't actually use 2 #14s on a 30-amp breaker, but the terminals are identical on that range of amperages and are "listed" the same.

No doubles on GFCIs.

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Terminals for more than one wire must be specifically identified for this purpose, either within the equipment instructions or on the terminal itself [reference NEC 110.14(A)]. For example, some Square D and Cutler Hammer circuit breakers rated 30 Amps or less are permitted to have two conductors under each lug and have a special clip built in to the breaker for this purpose.

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

Cutler Hammer lists all current CH type breakers, 10 thru 30 amp, one and two pole, for 2 #14-#10 conductors. Obviously, you can't actually use 2 #14s on a 30-amp breaker, but the terminals are identical on that range of amperages and are "listed" the same.

Maybe I'm mis-reading the chart you've posted, but it looks to me as if the 15-amp breaker is the only one that's rated for two wires.

As I read it, the 20-, 25- and 30-amp breakers are rated for only a single wire #14-#6.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Richard Moore

Cutler Hammer lists all current CH type breakers, 10 thru 30 amp, one and two pole, for 2 #14-#10 conductors. Obviously, you can't actually use 2 #14s on a 30-amp breaker, but the terminals are identical on that range of amperages and are "listed" the same.

Maybe I'm mis-reading the chart you've posted, but it looks to me as if the 15-amp breaker is the only one that's rated for two wires.

As I read it, the 20-, 25- and 30-amp breakers are rated for only a single wire #14-#6.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Hi Jim...

I've been down this road before with a certain individual on another forum. I was certain I was right but, to finally convince him, I ended up getting and posting confirmation direct from the horse's (manufacturer) mouth. The upshot is that you don't read it that way. ALL wire size ranges within a row's box apply to ALL amperages within that boxed row. Look at the 40 thru 150 amp breakers. If you read it your way then 50-amp breakers can only take 3/0 wire!

To reitterate...all 10 thru 30 amp, type CH, 1 and 2 pole breakers are listed for (1) #14-8 or (2) 14-10s. (All 10-30, 3 poles are listed for (1) #14-6)

I agree that it's a little confusing, but it doesn't make sense if you just read straight across for each amperage. I can't seem to find the damn e-mail right now, so you'll have to trust me, or you could contact Cutler Hammer yourself.

But, on this one at least, I know I'm right.

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

. . . The upshot is that you don't read it that way. ALL wire size ranges within a row's box apply to ALL amperages within that boxed row. Look at the 40 thru 150 amp breakers. If you read it your way then 50-amp breakers can only take 3/0 wire!

OK, I see what you mean.

To reitterate...all 10 thru 30 amp, type CH, 1 and 2 pole breakers are listed for (1) #14-8 or (2) 14-10s. (All 10-30, 3 poles are listed for (1) #14-6)

Yes, indeed. That's what the chart says. Thanks for the explanation.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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