What is a double tapped breaker? Is it safe to have a double-tapped wire in your circuit breaker?
Double tapped circuit breakers are breakers that have two wires on one breaker. It is unsafe to have double tap breakers because it may cause circuit overloads. This means that the breaker trips because it cannot handle the demand coming from two different circuits.
However, some brands of circuit breakers are designed to have a double-tapped connection in your electrical system.
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What is a Double Tapped Breaker and Does It Bring Danger to an Electrical System
It isn’t recommended to double tap a circuit breaker that is not designed for the act. This is because it could cause the connection to loosen over time—producing excess heat and might even cause a spark. Furthermore, this type of connection may not pass muster with the city inspection engineer.
In addition to that, if the breaker cannot handle the load of two circuits, it will trip continuously. This will cause your breaker to overheat and eventually become faulty.
If you suspect your home wiring to have a double-tapped breaker, these are three easy ways to fix it.
How to Repair a Double Tapped Circuit Breaker
Note: Before starting any electrical work, ensure that your main breaker is off or the primary power source is disconnected. If you’re not sure, it’s best to consult with a professional electrician before making any moves.
1. Make a Pig-tail Connection
The first way is pig-tailing. To make a pig-tail connection, you need a short wire and a wire knot. Disconnect the two wires in your double tap circuit breaker, connect those two wires with your short wire and cover it up. Now you have one wire to connect with your circuit breaker.
This way, it prevents loosening by connecting it tightly in one connection. However, if your breaker constantly trips, you need a higher-rated one to go with this pig-tail connection.
2. Use a Tandem Circuit Breaker
The second way is by using a tandem circuit breaker. There are manufacturers like Square D and Cutler-Hammer making tandem circuit breakers. This type of breaker combines two circuit breakers but only takes a single space on your panel board.
Some examples of this tandem circuit breaker are the Square D Electric HOMT3020CP and Cutler-Hammer Twin Plug-on CHT2020. You can find this product easily online or at the neighborhood hardware store. This is an excellent solution to prevent double-tap connections, especially for those who have no space for a new breaker on their panel board.
To use this tandem circuit breaker, you need to disassemble your existing circuit breaker and replace it with this new one. Put the two wires into the separate terminals, and you’re done!
However, consider the third option if you’re on a budget and have an extra slot on your panel board.
3. Add a Circuit Breaker
The third and most convenient way to replace a double tapped circuit is to install a new circuit breaker. This is the best option, especially if you have extra space for a new circuit breaker.
Through this method, all you need is to plug in a new breaker, run one wire from your double tap circuit, and you’re done! It’s a straightforward procedure—no wire cutting, splicing, or any other complicated procedure.
You can do any of these to replace your double-tapped circuit, even if you are not a professional electrician. For more precise instruction, watch this video by Instructure Tech Home Inspection.
However, if you are not comfortable working in an electronics system or unsure about any step, it’s best to consult a certified electrician. That way, you can ensure that you and your home will remain safe.
A double-tapped circuit breaker is not recommended for any electrical system. It can cause problems like overheating or constant tripping. If you think you’re suffering from this problem, you should look at your panel board and inspect each breaker.
If you see a double-tapped connection, you can refer to any of the steps above to solve the problem. Don’t let it slip by! Your home’s safety should always be a top priority.
So, did you know what is a double tapped breaker? Were you able to solve your double-tapped circuit breaker problem? Which of the steps here did you take? Let me know in the comments below!
I am Andrew Wright. I established this blog after eight years of experience designing, installing, and maintaining electrical power systems. I love my job, and I have always wanted to offer others the necessary help so they can take care of their houses.