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Thread: Double pole breaker with 2-wire cable?

  1. #1
    Rob Guest

    Default Double pole breaker with 2-wire cable?

    With the new house construction progressing, I had my heating contractor install central air as well. The one thing that i noticed when he was done is that he wired the AC with 12-2 but tagged the wire for me to install a "20A Double Pole" breaker for my final connection. Is this right? How do I double pole a 2 conductor cable? Shouldn't it be a 12-3 instead? I'm guessing that he's trying to double up the ground to act as neutral/ground?

    My electrical rough-in won't happen for at least 3 weeks and I would want him to change it now rather than have this one thing fail my rough-in later.


  2. #2


    Most A/C units use 240V, no 120V. So a double pole 20A breaker will receive the two insulated conductors, and the bare remain ground. No need for a neutral for this type of equipment most of the time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Ontario, Canada


    A 240 volt device does not use a separate neutral. The white wire of the 12/2 is wrapped with some black electrical tape and connected to the breaker along with the black wire. The ground goes to the grounding bar.

    It's recommended to shut of the main disconnect before you connect the circuit breaker. Be aware that even with the main disconnect 'off' the main service wires feeding the panel are still LIVE.
    "If you think education is expensive - try ignorance." (Bok's law)


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