enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereHave an older CH panel with a double tapped single pole breaker. The neutral wires are separated though. Should or can they as well be put together under one screw on the bar, since both hots go to one breaker? Thank you.

  • Most neutral buses are one screw, one wire. I think this also goes with most breakers. The label/s on your panel should say something about this. Usually only the ground bus can have more than one wire per screw. There are probably other code no-nos that the experts will mention.
    – crip659
    May 29, 2023 at 17:25
  • 1
    Thank you. The breakers are labeled for up to two wires with different torque specs. I just wasn't sure on the bar. Thanks again!!
    – Brad
    May 29, 2023 at 17:32
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    From the new label picture, can only double up ground wires in the unused neutral holes/screws. If used for neutral wires then it is one screw one wire, no doubling up. This has to do with neutral wires carrying current(and heating), but ground wires are for safety only and do not carry current, except for shorts which the breaker should stop fast.
    – crip659
    May 29, 2023 at 19:34

4 Answers 4


See ThreePhaseEel's answer.

If you're out of spaces on the neutral bar...

then since the 2 hots come from the same breaker, their neutrals can be pigtailed down to 1 wire with a wire nut, Wago, etc. and landed on a single neutral spot.

However, running out of neutral spaces is rare unless your panel is Eaton.* If you need neutral spaces, first double or triple up grounds up to the limits stated in the panel labeling; then buy accessory ground bars to move the grounds off to.

Eaton is a problem because when CTL (limits on number of circuits) was abolished, they went to UL and got every one of their panels retroactively certified for tandems/quads in all spaces. Heroic, pro-consumer move, but now Eaton 4040s can suddenly accommodate 80 circuits. You can always make 2 circuits "MWBC in the panel" by landing their 2 hots on tied breakers; then you can pigtail their neutrals to one.

  • Thank you very much, Harper! I appreciate the info. It's a Cutler Hammer panel, btw. Eaton I suppose, now... I know you probably don't care to hear the story, but it started with ceiling lights. All of the ceiling lights (6 of them total) were on a single 15 amp circuit and I found where there were 2 porch lights and 1 carport light (only) on another single circuit. Our local contractors said they put all lights on one circuit, since most if not all are using LED, now. That's when I thought of putting the run with the 3 remaining porch lights on the circuit with the ceiling lights.
    – Brad
    May 29, 2023 at 23:44
  • @Brad that's reasonable; however there's a gotcha. If the fixtures are still capable of taking incandescent lights (still have Edison sockets) the circuit must be provisioned as if they will still be used. May 29, 2023 at 23:47
  • I feel the same way and even our inspector let's em roll on around here..........dunno why. I keep and kept thinking "you all" are building new houses and I know of two that have like 32 LED can lights and all of the same circuit.........I'm like, what if someone wants to go backwards......?............they assume it's all LED from now on, I guess..............I do appreciate your help, though. I really do.
    – Brad
    May 29, 2023 at 23:52
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Over here in the EU, it is apparently legal to sell fixtures with an ordinary E27 thread plus a sticker saying "LED bulb only, maximum 10 W" (or so). Even Ikea can get away with selling loads of those. Would such a sticker fly in the US? (In the spirit of similar hacks like "no equipment ground".)
    – TooTea
    May 30, 2023 at 11:57

You can't double up neutrals on a bus bar unless the instructions say you can. The hots should not be doubled up on the breaker either unless specified OK to do so. If a 20 amp breaker, check for #12 AWG on both legs.

  • The instructions can't say you can, because NEC prohibits it. Not true for grounds; UL is the decider there and the labeling will say 2 or 3 typically. May 29, 2023 at 21:24

Use separate neutral holes

You'll need to use two separate spots on the neutral bar for the two homeruns fed from this breaker, as per NEC 408.41 and the instruction label on your loadcenter.

  • Yup, mandatory per NEC. If OP has 2 neutrals fed from the same lug on a breaker (or the same MWBC), they can pigtail the neutrals to one neutral terminal since sum of netural current won't exceed breaker. May 29, 2023 at 21:24
  • Harper, you lost me on that one. Two neutrals fed from same lug on a breaker.......can you break that down for me? I mean there are two hots on one lug of a single breaker and they both go to the ceiling lights....so the 2 neutral wires can or can't go to one terminal.....?...I'm just dumb I guess. my apologies for asking so much.
    – Brad
    May 29, 2023 at 21:59

They are separate circuits and each needs its own neutral, just as it is wired per your question. They are both on the same phase so the separate neutrals are to keep from overloading it.

A tandem breaker has two switches. I have what appears to be an identical breaker and it will also take two wires but it is one breaker where the total for both wires if 15 Amps. Shown below is what CH calls a tandem breaker.

enter image description here

  • 4
    This is not a separate circuit. It's not a tandem breaker, it's a single one-pole breaker listed to have two hot wires connected to it (if they are copper between 10 and 14 AWG, only.) My QO breakers have similar language.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 29, 2023 at 17:42
  • Does the neutral separation still apply in a case like this?
    – Brad
    May 29, 2023 at 17:44

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