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I'm trying to add a 240V circuit to my breaker box. It looks as though there are enough "slots" on my breaker (2), but the metal doesn't extend all the way down. Do I have the space to do this?

EDIT: Adding additional pictures as requested.enter image description here Breaker Box

EDIT 2: Picture of the whole breaker box Breaker3

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  • Can you get us a photo looking at this situation from below? Also, how big is this service/feeder, and how large is this 240V load you're adding? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 22 '17 at 15:49
  • Not sure what the whole breaker box is rated for. Trying to add 2x1500W 240V (12.5 amps total) to this circuit. – user264087 Apr 22 '17 at 17:41
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Read my answer here that talks at length about what "spaces" are and how duplex breakers work.

It appears that you have one space left. Any 2-pole (240V) breaker needs to sit in 2 spaces so something special will have to be done. The article I linked should give you plenty of ideas, e.g. using a duplex breaker for two 120V circuits to free up a space.

If you expect to add any more circuits in the future, you may be better off just adding a sub-panel.

Lastly while you're in the panel you might look at a few minor problems. First, some of the white wires going into breakers are not neutrals. They should be taped or marked at both ends to indicate they are not actually neutrals. Second, it looks like too much bare wire is exposed on most of the wires going into the breakers, probably too much insulation was stripped (there's a "how much to strip" guide printed or embossed on the breaker.) It can be easily trimmed back.

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  • Thanks! It appears a couple circuits are already duplex breakers (see the picture I've added above). One additional question: I don't see any main power switch anywhere on my breaker box, nor outside near my meter, though I haven't tried opening the meter up (there are a couple "one-way" locks -- not sure what the proper name for them is.) How should I go about shutting off the main power to do these replacements? – user264087 Apr 22 '17 at 18:00
  • Sorry, one additional question -- will the duplex breaker reduce the amount of load the two combined circuits can handle (i.e. previously, each circuit could handle 15A, now combined they can only handle 20A)? – user264087 Apr 22 '17 at 18:03
  • I see no duplex breakers at all. I see two AFCI breakers which need to also take neutral. All your breakers take 1 space except six 2-pole breakers which take two spaces obviously. This is a subpanel, notice how the neutrals and grounds are separated. There must be a main panel inside this building somewhere, if you can find the grounding rod/pipe strap, follow it! Don't break any meter seals, it's not there. Those breaker lugs that the breakers clip onto are obviously good for at least 60A... so a 15/15 will be able to draw the 30 it needs no prob. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 23 '17 at 1:05
  • So it turns out that the main switch is on the outside of the house next to the meter. Does this mean that this is indeed a subpanel and the difference between ground and neutral is important? – user264087 Apr 23 '17 at 1:53
  • Also -- I've been trying to figure out which duplex breaker to buy. All of my current breakers are Siemens type "QP". I've heard of people saying that the Siemens Q2020 doesn't seem to work in their box. How would I be able to tell if mine accepts tandem breakers? – user264087 Apr 23 '17 at 4:50
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You only have a single space left, but you need two adjacent spaces to get 240V.

What you can do is replace two of the single-pole 15A breaker with a tandem 2-pole 15A breaker

enter image description here

This fits in a single space, but is two separate circuits.

  1. Replace the bottom two 15A breakers on the left side with a 15A tandem
  2. Move the 30A 240V at the bottom left up one space
  3. Install a new 240V circuit in the bottom two spaces

enter image description here

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