When it comes to your home’s electrical system, safety should always be a top priority. One potential safety issue that homeowners may encounter is double tapped breakers. This occurs when two wires are connected to a single circuit breaker, which can lead to a variety of problems. Here we’ll explore what double tapped breakers are, why they can be problematic, and what you can do to fix them.
What are double tapped breakers?
Double tapped breakers, also known as double lugged breakers, occur when two electrical wires are connected to a single circuit breaker. This is usually done when there are not enough open slots in the electrical panel to accommodate all the wires that need to be connected. Double tapping is a common practice among homeowners, but it is not recommended by electricians or electrical safety standards.
Why are double tapped breakers problematic?
There are several reasons why double tapped breakers can be problematic:
Double tapping can overload the circuit breaker, causing it to trip more frequently. This can cause damage to the electrical system and potentially lead to a fire.Loose connections: When two wires are connected to a single circuit breaker, there is a risk of loose connections. Loose connections can cause arcing, which can damage the electrical panel and potentially start a fire.
Most electrical codes prohibit double tapping, so having double tapped breakers in your home can be a code violation. This can make it difficult to sell your home or obtain insurance coverage.
If you discover double tapped breakers in your home, it’s important to have them fixed as soon as possible to avoid potential safety hazards. Here are a few options:
1. Add a subpanel
If there are not enough open slots in the electrical panel, you can install a subpanel to create more space for wires. This is a more complex solution that may require the help of a licensed electrician.
2. Install a tandem breaker
A tandem breaker is a double-width breaker that fits into a single slot in the electrical panel, allowing for two separate circuits. This is a simpler solution that can be done by a homeowner or licensed electrician.
3. Hire a licensed electrician
If you are not comfortable working with electrical systems, it’s best to hire a licensed electrician to fix the problem. They can assess the situation and provide the best solution for your specific needs.
Double tapped breakers can be a potential safety hazard in your home’s electrical system. If you suspect that you have double tapped breakers, it’s important to have them fixed as soon as possible to avoid potential damage to your electrical system and home. By following the recommendations above, you can ensure that your electrical system is up to code and safe for you and your family.