Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source: Waypoint Property Inspection
Circuit breakers come in different designs and structures despite the fact that all of them are used for the same purpose. They minimize the incidences of electrical damage in case of an overload or even a short circuit.
In this article, we will discuss double tapped circuit breakers and why you should avoid them.
What is a double tapped breaker?
This is a type of circuit breaker that comprises of two wires on one circuit breaker. So, how does a double tapped breaker work?
It is used for heavy duty appliances and equipment. The double tapped circuit breaker has two wires connected to one circuit breaker. The two wires are connected in series and this means that when the current passes through them, the current is divided into two equal parts. So, for instance, if a particular circuit has a capacity of 10 amps, then each wire should have a capacity of 5 amps.
In case any of the wires gets overloaded or develops some fault that might cause an overload, the circuit breaker will trip off.
What is the big issue with double tapped breakers?
The main issue with double tapping a circuit breaker is the possibility of having loose connections. This is because the two wires are connected to one circuit breaker. So, if there is a loose connection, then the circuit breaker will not trip off even if there is an overload. This might lead to a short circuit.
Another problem that could arise due to loose connections is the risk of fire sparks.
Also, some circuit breakers are not designed to handle current from two wires that are connected to two different circuits. They may end up tripping continuously if such a connection is created.
Does the same apply to a triple tapped breaker?
Just like a double breaker, a triple breaker comprises of three wires connected to one circuit breaker. This means that you are likely to face similar issues as those of double tapped breakers.
How do I fix a double tapped breaker?
The good news there are different ways of fixing issues related to the double tapped breakers. Here are some of them:
Create a pig-tail connection
Pig-tailing refers to the process of connecting two wires together to form a single wire. It involves cutting the two wires and joining them together using a wire connector. It is important to note that you should use wire connectors with sealed boots.
How to create pig-tail connection？
First, you have to cut the black and white wires of the double tapped circuit breaker. Then, strip off a bit of insulation from each side of the wires so that they are able to fit into each other’s connector. Next, connect one end of black wire into one side of the connector and the other end into another side of same connector. Then, take another wire connector and connect one end of the white wire into it and other end in the remaining free space in the first connector.
This way, you will get rid off the double tapping issue from your circuit breaker without replacing it with a new one. This method is not recommended for extreme situations as there is always a risk that your circuit breaker may trip off due to loose connection. So, only try this method if you are planning on doing some DIY projects at home or if there is no danger of tripping off circuit breaker due to loose connections.
Create tandem circuit breaker
The best way to solve double tapping issue permanently is by replacing your old double tapped circuit breaker with a tandem one that has been designed for this purpose only – Tandem Circuit Breaker . A tandem circuit breaker comes with more contact points than an ordinary single point wiring system so that it can handle more current without tripping off.
This type of circuit breaker is used to eliminate the problem of double tapping and overloading. Tandem circuit breakers are available in different sizes and ratings so you can select the one that best suits your need.
Upgrade your wiring system
If you are not ready to purchase a new tandem circuit breaker, then you can upgrade your old wiring system by replacing it with a more efficient and advanced type which will help you get rid off the problem of double tapping permanently.
You can replace your old wiring system with a newer one by simply removing it from the wall and then attaching the new one in its place. You can also hire an electrician to do this job for you if you do not have enough knowledge regarding electrical systems or if you think that there is a chance that something might go wrong during this process.
Add another circuit breaker
You can choose to install a completely new circuit breaker to eliminate this problem. This will ensure that you are not getting double tapping and overloading because of it. However, if you only have one circuit breaker, then you can simply install an additional one to ensure that you will be able to handle the current load efficiently.
Are Square D breakers allowed to be double tapped?
Very few circuit breakers are allowed to be double tapped. These are Square D and Cutler Hammer. However, take note that not all circuit breakers from these two major brands can be double tapped. Just a few select.
So, verify to find out if a particular model of your circuit breaker can be double tapped.
Where can I buy quality circuit breaker?
The surest place to buy is from reputable manufacturers and suppliers. This way, you will know that you are buying a product that is of high quality and safe for your building.
In case you are looking for reliable manufacturer in China, consider using the services of a sourcing agent. For instance, we at ICRFQ will help you find a perfect circuit breaker for your application.
Otherwise, you should avoid using double tapped breaker.
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