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Can anyone tell me if there is a handle tie available for the Siemens Type QAF breakers? I know they have them for the QP breakers but what about the QAF? The handle spacing seems like it might be slightly different. I want to tie these two single pole 20amp breakers which are both feeding an AC unit. enter image description here

Here is the ones for QP breakers but can anyone verify for sure that they work for the qaf's? https://www.menards.com/main/electrical/circuit-protection-power-distribution/circuit-breaker-load-center-accessories/siemens-reg-handle-tie-2-pole-qp-or-mp-t-breakers-10-pack/ecqth3p/p-1444442558718.htm

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    no one in my area Have you checked electrical supply houses or just Home Depot/Lowes? Jan 24, 2022 at 13:50
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    @FreeMan Are you Bach to that again? Jan 24, 2022 at 14:39
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    He'll have to add it to his Chopin Listz.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 24, 2022 at 15:15
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    @NoSparksPlease After more research,I've realized that what I wanted to do using the handle tie isn't necessarily goin to work and I'm not sure if it's technically up to code or not. Others have pointed out on other forums that a Handel tie *may or may not move the tied breaker into trip or off position if only one of the two breakers trips due to a fault. If I buy a double pole breaker, it will have an internal "common trip" mechanism that will guarantee they both trip. Therefore, I should really go the double pole breaker route. Just need to find one in afci and fork over the 100$ Jan 24, 2022 at 17:58
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    I have personal experience with handle ties not tripping both breakers, resulting in a shock (minor) to someone investigating the problem. This is not some theoretical problem. It's real, and it happens.
    – longneck
    Jan 24, 2022 at 18:07

3 Answers 3

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If this feeds only 240v receptacles I think the easiest solution is to replace the breaker with a two-pole, non AFCI breaker.

210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection. Arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection shall be provided as required in 210.12(A) (B), and (C). The arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by any of the means described in 210.12(A)(1) through (6).

I don't see any additional rule for 240v circuits.

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TLDR: Can't do that.

#1 Don't throw good money after bad! Old window A/Cs that are 240V are too inefficient to continue using. It's not about the environment, the electric bill will be so high it will actually be cheaper, all told, to buy a new one! Really. They're not serviceable either: you can't get the old freon, as it's no longer made. So an old unit is likely missing some gas and thus even more inefficient. Please - take it to where your city says to recycle air conditioners. A professional needs to vampire the freon out of it to keep it from damaging the atmosphere - and it will be re-refined into new freon (this is now the only source). That's Federal law by the way.

How is neutral going to work?

You have Plug-On Neutral breakers, so the neutral pigtail isn't in your face making you think about it. However the breakers still have neutral terminals, and you need to wire them correctly.

Most AFCI breakers, including these, have a "weak GFCI" section which is there to detect hot-ground and neutral-ground parallel arc faults (which also happen to be ground faults). Europe uses RCDs (weak GFCIs) for the same purpose. As such, you must follow "GFCI rules" for wiring.

Each AFCI will see normal machine current on the hot, but no similar current will not return on the neutral. So it will immediately trip. You cannot gang two GFCIs (or GFCI-using AFCIs) in this way.

GE has a GFCI that doesn't use neutral (except to power its own internals). It's designed for exactly this use case, but you can't use it in this panel. (you could get a 2-space panel and have the world's most expensive AFCI breaker).

Siemens also has (believe it or not) tandem AFCIs that don't use neutral, so you could get two tandems and handle-tie the "inners" in the normal way. (cost more than a new air conditioner LOL, talk about good money after bad!!!)

Siemens seems to have designed this breaker to reject any possible use of handle-ties. Makes sense, as the use-case to tie this type is extremely rare.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, you can handle-tie this

  • You can handle-tie loads which are 240V-only and do not receive a neutral.
  • You can handle-tie "Multi-Wire Branch Circuits" (MWBC, shared neutral) as long as all outlets are 120V-only.

You can't get common trip with a handle-tie. (that comes from an internal mechanism). Breakers "trip free" (if handle is locked "on") so handle ties wouldn't do that anyway (as Longneck attests in a comment). Handle ties assure maintainers turn off the whole circuit so they don't get bit.

Where you need common trip is when a circuit or device has 120V loads, but it also has 240V loads. (A dryer, or MWBC including 240V outlets, which is allowed). You need to trip together because if one phase trips the breaker, the 240V load becomes a resistor connecting the dead leg to the live one, energizing it again! (just like what happens when a house loses a hot leg from the utility, but the dead 120V side works when you turn the oven on.)

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Thank you all for the excellent answers. I agree not to use Handel ties. I ended up throwing on the 100$ afci double pole breaker, passed inspection with flying colors. 👍 The ac works fine untill it can be removed and replaced.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Siemens-20-Amp-2-Pole-Combination-Type-AFCI-Plug-On-Neutral-Circuit-breaker-Q220AFCNP/312276282?MERCH=REC-_-pipinstock-_-202253104-_-312276282-_-N&

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