3

Home Inspector reported two 20 amp breakers are not allowed in electrical panel per manufacturer (Eaton MB1212L200BTSA). He said there must be single bar over both breaker to connect together? Is there a clip that I can attach to make both breakers trip at same time? Here is pic from inspection report.
Image of breakers

See the red arrows, he said these two 20 amps must be tandem and a clip connecting both switches?

One 20 amp powers a GFI receptacle the other 20 amp powers a platform lift. I need to keep power separate for 110 volt. I do not want 220 volt. Do I need a double-pole 20 amp that has handle ties?

The electrical panel was installed in 2012. Is it correct to install a BR220 and use it for two 110 volt circuits? Going out to purchase BR220 breaker, anything special to know about attaching wires from the two single points to double poles?

  • What do the breakers in question power? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 5 '17 at 0:03
  • Why? Normally the inspector quotes the rule, or at least gives an indication of which rule applies. Did he say anything like MWBC or Multi-Wire Branch Circut? Or another reason. This so far seems to be the second half the story--or the resolution, but not the first half of the story--or the cause. – Tyson Oct 5 '17 at 0:53
  • @Tyson -- this isn't a MWBC problem, but a Rule of Six problem, really... – ThreePhaseEel Oct 5 '17 at 2:07
  • The rule may be true today but when installed it may have been totally legal. What year was this panel installed? Many inspectors call a violation based on current code but in years past this was totally legal it is called a multi wire branch circuit. – Ed Beal Oct 5 '17 at 2:08
  • @ThreePhaseEel yep, we can see that now. I was making a guess from the cryptic question before the edit, trying to draw out a cause. – Tyson Oct 5 '17 at 2:09
7

One throw too far

Your meter-main was designed to use a set of smaller sub-main disconnects instead of a single main disconnecting means, in accordance with NEC 230.71:

230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.

(A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No.1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard or in switchgear. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location.

For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means installed as part of listed equipment and used solely for the following shall not be considered a service disconnecting means:

(1) Power monitoring equipment

(2) Surge-protective device(s)

(3) Control circuit of the ground-fault protection system

(4) Power-operable service disconnecting means

(B) Single-Pole Units. Two or three single-pole switches or breakers, capable of individual operation, shall be permitted on multiwire circuits, one pole for each ungrounded conductor, as one multipole disconnect, provided they are equipped with identified handle ties or a master handle to disconnect all conductors of the service with no more than six operations of the hand.

However, the pair of single pole breakers in the lower-right that the inspector complained about means that you need 7 breaker throws to turn all the power off, which is one too many.

Evict the aliens!

Furthermore, the culprit breakers are a violation by themselves as they are GE THQLs, which are not listed to go in an Eaton BR panel. At this point, you might as well get a BR220 from the nearest supplier and have it slapped in in place of the culprits, killing two violations with one fix.

And yes, a two pole breaker can feed two completely separate 110V circuits

There is nothing in the NEC that prohibits a two pole breaker from feeding two independent branch circuits from the opposite legs it provides.

1

Really, it's time for that Rule of Six panel to go.

Fit a nice big subpanel inside at a suitable location. Identify a 240V load you can live without for awhile, e.g. air conditioning in the fall. Relocate that to the new subpanel to free up 2 breaker spaces. Fit a new breaker there, same amperage as your service (e.g. 60 or 100A). Wire that new breaker to supply the subpanel, leaving enough slack to move it to the upper left. Of course this work can be interrupted, and everything will still work...

Light up the subpanel and you're back in business.

As convenient, move one load at a time to the new subpanel.

You finish with one (1) 2-pole breaker in your now- "Rule of One" panel. It feeds the "new main" subpanel... and 10 blank spaces, which you cover with listed covers. This puts you in the modern league with a single main breaker shut-off, and none of the taint which made rule-of-six panels illegal.

This also makes it easy to be safe doing DIY electrical, since you can fully de-energize your "main" sub panel. Most people with main panels can't do that.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.