4

After looking at it more carefully:

  1. So it looks like the 30 amp breaker with the 14 gauge wire is to the garbage disposal.
  2. The AC is wired the a double pole 20 amp with 14 gauge wire.
  3. The two single pole 15 amp on the bottom right (red and black) are spliced together (wire nuts) to two wires coming from the same metal conduit, two wires but are both black.
  4. Ground and neutral wires are connected to the same bus bar in the same slot. These things seem odd to me...

Image 1

Image 2 Image 3 Image 4 Image 5

Updated with more pictures. Image 6 Image 7

  • When you said garbage disposal, did you mean Dryer? Because I'd be afraid of a 30A garbage disposal... And are you sure about all the 14ga wire? That should only be used for 15A breakers. – JPhi1618 Oct 17 '17 at 18:20
  • 1
    I think the short answer to "is this wired correctly?" is no. You should review each of the breakers and find out what they power, then review the wire size connected to the breaker. It would appear that you have some higher amp breakers on incorrectly sized wire. Perhaps someone upsized the breakers after they kept tripping without consideration to the wire gauge. – Keith Procter Oct 17 '17 at 21:55
  • Can you give us a close-up of the wire-nut splice in question? Your description of it is unclear. Also, what are the nameplate ratings on the garbage disposal and A/C? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 17 '17 at 22:27
  • @ThreePhaseEel The splices are a nothingburger. You see where the surge suppressor is. The bottom two breakers used to be there, which is why those two wires are exactly the length they are. The installer Just Had To put the surge suppressor exactly there-- so he moved those breakers and put pigtails to extend. He used red/black pigtails because he sacrificed a foot of 14/3 to get them. – Harper Oct 18 '17 at 20:31
  • @Harper -- yeah, I agree that's what happened now that I have a picture in front of me, but I couldn't tell for 100% sure from his original written description what precisely the pigtails were doing – ThreePhaseEel Oct 18 '17 at 22:22
2

Easy. For each wire, determine if it's 10 AWG, 12 AWG, or 14 AWG wire. Then consider the following table:

  • 14 AWG, 15 amp breaker
  • 12 AWG, 20A breaker
  • 10 AWG, 30A breaker

Don't upsize any breakers. But if the breaker is bigger (in amps) than the wire in the above table, downsize the breaker. BR breakers cost $5 for a single and $10 for a double.

Any wrong-type breakers (looking at you Square D), replace them.

If any cables have 2 hots (e.g. red-black-white Romex) get a 2-pole breaker of appropriate amperage and land both hots on the 2-pole. Note a 2-pole is not a duplex. A 2-pole is twice the size of a normal breaker.

That's it. You're done.

After this, some loads may trip the breaker. If that's the case you'll have to follow the usual troubleshooting - too many loads on one circuit, too small cable needed, etc.

If a breaker serves only one motor load, ask a new question with the motor specs and ask whether you can use (size of wire you have) with (size of breaker you used to have).

  • When you said "Homeline" did you mean BR instead? – ThreePhaseEel Oct 18 '17 at 11:43
  • Thanks! Any idea on the wiring of the 2 bottom right 15 amp breaker? – Dan Oct 18 '17 at 14:38
  • @ThreePhaseEel quite right, I did. – Harper Oct 18 '17 at 15:04
  • @Dan amended to include advice on multi-hot circuits. Noting the lower right, I see the red wire but it looks like a pigtail. The guy just grabbed a random bit of wire. What matters is the original cable beyond it. Honestly it looks like the wires were extended and the breakers were originally located where the surge suppressor is now. – Harper Oct 18 '17 at 15:09
  • I updated the post with a close up picture of the bottom right wiring. – Dan Oct 18 '17 at 19:40
1

Ground and neutral being wired to the same bus is fine as long as this is the main or only electrical panel. If the wires that feed this panel come from another panel, they need to be separate - ground and neutral should only be connected in one place. Usually that place is inside the panel where the service comes in.

14ga wire can't be used on 20 or 30 amp circuits. That's a fire waiting to happen. 20 amps needs 12ga wire. 30 amps requires minimum 10ga wire.

I can't really make out what's going on with the red/black wires on the bottom circuit breaker, so can't comment on that.

  • 1
    Motor and AC circuits are 1 exception 30 amp sounds high on the disposal but 20 amp on 14 gauge wire may be correct. Looking at the name plate of the disposal if it draws 12 amps Fla #14 is the correct size wire, code allows for larger breakers on motor loads because they may trip the breaker on startup due to in rush current but be fine once started. There is no code violation in splicing the 2 wires in the panel, the contractor probably did cut himself short but th is legal. – Ed Beal Oct 17 '17 at 19:02
  • I just dont know why they the bottom two separate 15amp breaker wiring is confusing. – Dan Oct 17 '17 at 20:28
  • If I connect a subpanel in the garage and connect it to this panel, will I need to separate the ground and neutral out? – Dan Oct 26 '17 at 15:36
  • @Dan if the service is coming into this existing panel, and you run power from it to a new subpanel in the garage, you will need to keep ground and neutral separate in the new panel in the garage. – Grant Oct 27 '17 at 18:07

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