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Thread: Double tap at breaker panel

  1. #1

    Default Double tap at breaker panel

    Hello, all, I'm new on the board w/a question. I'm in the process of buying a house. Had a home inspection done and the inspector noted that one of the breakers (identified as outlets and lights) had two wires coming into it. Evidently this is contrary to the NEC. Not sure why this would have been done, as there are three empty spaces in the box, an additional breaker could have been added. The house was built in 1985, with some significant renovations in 1987. The current owner tells me that he has had no trouble with electrical, and I believe him. So the question for you who are wise in things electrical is, how big a deal is this? Should I insist that it be corrected prior to purchase?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2


    There's apparently a prohibition in the code against stuffing more wires into a termination than it's designed to accept. A single-pole breaker is normally designed to accept only one solid or stranded wire. The fix, as I've read elsewhere in this forum, is to wire-nut the two circuits together with a short pigtail to the breaker. This is apparently legal within a main service rated panel, unless I've misread the discussion. You could also add a breaker to the panel since you have open positions and just terminate each circuit separately, but the wire nut is the cheaper fix.

    This is not a deal-breaker. Let me suggest what a deal-breaker would be: a belly in a sewer line under the house. I've got one under my slab foundation that's gonna cost better than $2 Large to fix.

  3. #3


    The issue is that the breaker termination can only be used within its UL tested configuration. Most 1pole circuit breakers are listed for one conductor termination. As suggested, you can add a breaker and reterminate one of the wires, or splice with a wire nut and terminate one conductor on the breaker.
    Or, maybe the breaker is listed for two conductors to terminate on it, but usually not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    welland ontario


    While this may not be to code, it is not a dangerous situation and should take less than 5 minutes to fix with a wire nut and a pigtail.

  5. #5

    Default Reply

    This is definitely not to code, but how unsafe it is is somewhat debatable. Each breaker is designed to only tighten fully and correctly on one wire. This is simple to fix but it shows that someone who is/was a bozo has been DIY on your wiring. I would say it is a red flag to make sure there isn't bozo stuff thoughout the house (not necessarily so easy to fix)

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