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I am in the process of renovating my kitchen. My house finished construction in 1969 and has Murray branded circuit breaker panel with Murray breakers (not sure if panel and breakers are original). To my understanding, almost all the breakers in the panel are Quadplex, with the exception of a regular 240V breaker of the AC that I had installed when I moved in.

Can a Quadplex breaker be used for 4 separate 120V circuits? I ask because I know that it can be used for 2 240V circuits. If it can, do I have to use MWBC on the two 240V, or can I make four individual circuits from the breaker?

Thanks!

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It's vitally important you know what a MWBC is and how to recognize one, when you are doing things with existing circuits and quads/2-poles. Placing both legs of an MWBC on the same pole Is Very Bad and can start a house fire.

That said, yes, 2-pole breakers in general can be used for two independent circuits.

However, in renovations you typically need to build to modern Code. It's very common for people to do a reno and go "Aw, I'll just re-task the original wires that came here". Nuh-uh. Your kitchen reno needs to comply with modern Code, and that includes wiring, and that includes AFCI/GFCI breakers as required. And where AFCI/GFCI breakers are required, that precludes use of double-stuff breakers. Which is going to be a problem in a tight panel. Code says "too bad; upsize or subpanel".

And yeah, that may be a good idea. If you can find a suitable mounting point (e.g. facing a pathway so that nobody ever blocks the working space), adding a subpanel to the kitchen reno makes a lot of sense. A well-powered kitchen needs 8 circuits or so. That lets you remove all existing kitchen circuits from the overstuffed main panel and substitute with just 1 2-pole.

Now, we strongly recommend wildly oversizing any panel; so if you just heard "8-space panel" what we meant you to hear was "30-space panel". Spaces are dirt cheap when you're buying the panel. And they save you a fortune later when you need to add spaces.

Not lightly do I spend your money, but please - spend $60 extra on another 20-30 spaces. It's the best investment you can make in electrical, bar none.

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I would seriously consider having your electrical service updated by a qualified electrician. A panel installed 50 years ago will not have enough free space for all the additional circuits now required in a kitchen/modern home. Also while half sized breakers are a common way to add additional circuits there is often a limit to how many can be installed in a panel.

In answer to your question, yes, a Quadplex (four half size breakers) can be used for four circuits, or 2 circuits and a 240V circuit with the appropriate tie bar installed. I do not think two 240V is an option.

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  • You don't need a full-fledged service upgrade to add a subpanel for more space.... – ThreePhaseEel Jun 19 at 0:45

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