I have two 20 amp double pole breakers stacked in the breaker box that control my heat. When the bottom 20 amp double pole breaker is in the on position it causes a hot neutral in the 2 circuits directly across from it. When in the off position everything is normal in the opposite circuits. Furthermore, when it is in the on position causing the hot neutrals, if I touch the metal ears on any of the receptacles it returns it to normal as long as I'm touching it.

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    Picture of the panel? Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 3:04
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    Can you post photos of the panel please? Are the neutrals for the affected circuits in their own screw terminals, or do any of them share a neutral lug/termination? Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 3:09
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    How are determining that the neutral is hot?
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


I'm going to assume that these two wires are routed together from the panel to the HVAC system.

In that case you have PARALLEL CONDUCTORS and you get an INDUCTION of voltage on one from the other. If you measure with a high-impedance VOM/Multimeter (most are 1M Ohm or greater) there is not enough load on the parallel circuit to drop the induced voltage.

If you hook up a load, even a relatively small one (25W more or less) and measure again, you will find that the voltage is now in the mV range.


This sounds like a multi wire branch circuit and the reason code was revised to require handle ties.

If a multiwire branch circuit this is a common issue as the circuit that is still energized has power returning on that neutral.

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