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there are variations of this question out there but I haven’t seen this exact scenario. I am remodeling half of my home and I had an old 220 line running to a dry that we converted to gas.

Contractors guy is now splitting that abandoned 220 (junction in attic) and running 12ga wire on one 110 to a dedicated receptacle for our new fridge and the other 110 to an outlet in an area of kitchen that wasn’t covered.

This seems like it is okay practice but my concern is the 60amp breaker. Should it be replaced? The fridge is rated for 15 amp service (receptacle is 15 amp) and outlet will also service 15 amp appliances.

So what should I do here? any thoughts are appreciated.

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  • Can you post a photo of the actual breaker in question? Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 1:21

2 Answers 2

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First, dryer circuits are generally laid with 30A wire (#10 copper or #8 aluminum rarely) and are breakered at 30A. They are nowhere near able to handle 60A.

A 30A dryer breaker is a double-width 240V breaker with 30A on both handles.

Second, most older dryer circuits are "hot, hot, neutral" 3-wire, and have no ground (e.g. SE cable, which is black-black-bare, and due to the unique nature of SE Cable the bare can serve as neutral). These circuits cannot be extended or reused in any way.

If a dryer circuit is 4-wire, then yes, the circuit can be used - actually it can be split to two sub-circuits if it is wired correctly. However the 2 sub-circuits would need to be handle-tied in the breaker panel, so that is not ideal for a fridge. Sometimes, if one breaker trips in a handle-tied pair, it will accidentally trip the other breaker. Don't want that on a fridge circuit.

However, some dryer circuits went in illegally using 3-wire "/2 with a ground" cable; with black and white being used as hot wires, and the bare wire being illegally and improperly used as ground. In that case, they can re-task the cable to what it always was supposed to be, hot-neutral-ground.

It's always OK to use larger wires than minimum. There's only one rule: if the hot/neutral are bigger than is required, the ground must be enlarged in same proportion. 15/20A wiring has same size ground as conductors. A larger cable must too. 10/2+ground is alright since all are #10. But 6/3 also uses a #10 ground, which is not good enough.

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  • It is four wire. So the “double breaker” that has a 60 on both handles is actually 30/30, in which case the load from the 10ga wire is still a problem but not as much of an issue since the ground is sized appropriately? I am going to ask he just split the breaker to two 20A breakers that share a neutral. This sounds like the best solution - I think. Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 20:37
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Can only have 12 gauge wire with a 20 amp breaker. Need much larger gauge wire on a 60 amp breaker. Think 4 gauge.

The breaker is there to protect the wires from burning up.

12 gauge should burn up quite nicely inside your walls with a 60 amp breaker. Does not do the fridge or any other 15 amp device any good either.

Need to change the 60 amp breaker to a 20 amp breaker if using 12 gauge wires anywhere on the circuit.

If any 14 gauge wire on the circuit, then need to use a 15 amp breaker.

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  • Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for. Always reassuring when your licensed General Contractor does bonehead shit like this. 🤦‍♂️ Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 18:02
  • @user2188659 if you'll take the tour, you'll note that the appropriate way to say "thanks" is to click the up vote button next to every answer that was helpful to you, then to click the check mark next to the answer that helped you the most_.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 18:50
  • I tried that but it won’t let me up vote until I get 15 upvotes. Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 20:38

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