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Breaker size?


blazenut
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Electric is not my strongest topic here... for two, 240 volt, 4.1 amp baseboard heaters, i was under the impression that i needed a double pole breaker for the 240 volts. The reason im asking (and just for my own basic knowledge) is that i have an unused (from my old well pump) double poled (2-15 amp) breaker that i was wondering if i can use for these two baseboard heaters, with nothing other than the two heaters on the circuit.

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1) Ok, so this may seem like a really stupid response here, but i have to ask you guys anyway. So, if amps are amps, and you have a 100 amp service, and at a moment more than a total of 100 amps are being used (central air, stove, dryer, coffee maker ect.) all at the same time, with each of the individual circuit still within their amperage breaker size, can you trip the main breaker?

Also

2) If you have a 30 amp double pole breaker (15 amp each), can you run 2 seperate 15 amp branch lines safely one from each (say like one for one baseboard heater and one for another in the same room), one from each side of the double pole breaker (each breaker), is that safe to do? Is a double pole breaker literally just two single pole breakers bridged together?

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1) Ok, so this may seem like a really stupid response here, but i have to ask you guys anyway. So, if amps are amps, and you have a 100 amp service, and at a moment more than a total of 100 amps are being used (central air, stove, dryer, coffee maker ect.) all at the same time, with each of the individual circuit still within their amperage breaker size, can you trip the main breaker?

If the 100-amp service has a main breaker (it doesn't have to), then if you pull more than 100-amps through it, it will eventually trip. How long it takes to trip will depend on how much current you pull and what the trip curve of the breaker looks like.

Also

2) If you have a 30 amp double pole breaker (15 amp each), can you run 2 seperate 15 amp branch lines safely one from each (say like one for one baseboard heater and one for another in the same room), one from each side of the double pole breaker (each breaker), is that safe to do? Is a double pole breaker literally just two single pole breakers bridged together?

Let's back up a minute. If you have a two-pole breaker with 15-amp breakers on each side, that's a 15-amp, two-pole breaker. Not a 30-amp breaker.

Next. if you have two 240-volt heaters, you'll need 240-volt power for each of them. That means you'll need to connect each one to both sides of your two-pole breaker. That's ok to do as long as you make up the connections properly -- don't put two wires under a lug made for one wire.

Yes, two-pole breakers are made from pairs of single pole breakers. But in many (most?) cases, they also have a common internal trip mechanism.

In my area, it's very common to see multiple small baseboard heaters installed on a single two-pole breaker.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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