1/2" vs 1" GE breakers

I have a GE service panel in my home that accepts both 1/2" and 1" breakers. As I add circuits to this box, is there any advantage to using 1" breakers over 1/2"? I'd rather use 1/2" since that will allow me to add twice as many circuits. Obviously, there's the potential to overload the box, but, for the sake of discussion, let's assume that I'm smart enough not to do that.
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On Sun, 1 May 2005 17:21:22 -0500, Mike Hartigan

I do not have a ge panel, but I know what mini-breakers(tandom) are. The question that comes to mind before thinking about getting around the limitations of your panel size is, do you have enough researve amps?
You mentioned you are assuming you will not overload the box, but what are you basing this on? Have you done a service calculation? Just saying, if you are trying to cram more breakers in a 100 amp panel, and you have a service calc of 95, you might want to bite the bullet and upgrade to 200a.
So, can you add more?
later,
tom @ www.FreelancingProjects.com
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The Real Tom wrote:

I have a GE panel. They are rated for being fully packed with those 1/2" breakers. They are not tandom breakers, they are individual 1/2" breakers, or 1" wide 2 pole breakers.
The service load calculations are a totally separate issue.
Best regards, Bob
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Actually, some (maybe all, I don't know) only allow some of the breakers locations to use the 1/2" units. On mine, which is 32 years old, 4 of the locations cannot use the 1/2" breakers. The rest of the locations, maybe 10 or 12 more can use either size. BTW, there are "double" GE breakers that span the 2 buses (for 240 volt application) in both wide (2 1" breakers) or narrow (2 1/2" breakers) and I have even seen a double breaker with 2 individual breakers/handles that go on one bus for 2 separate 115 volt applications. They are 2 different animals.
zxcvbob wrote:

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wrote:

The OP mented about not overloading the pannel, so I would check the calc first before adding any new breakers for new branches.
So, IMHO it's not a seperate issue, but the first issue to address.
later,
tom

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I threw in the comment about overloading the panel not out of concern that I might inadvertantly do so, but in an attempt to minimize the predictable rash of responses admonishing me:
    1. not to use 1/2" breakers     2. leave it to a professional     3. just be satisfied with what I've got     4. [insert your favorite non-responsive bit of advice here]
It's not that I don't appreciate your valid concern, but that's not what I asked.
Let me re-phrase the question: 1/2" and 1" are both available and my GE load center will accept both. Is either one better (safer, more reliable, etc.) than the other? 1/2" has a clear advantage over 1" in that I can install a smaller box without sacrificing capacity. Do 1" breakers have any advantages over 1/2"? 'MC' pointed out that "1/2 inch breakers will use a slightly less contact surface to the main buss bar". Is this significant? Perhaps this holds true internally as well? Presumably, these things would not be sold if they didn't meet some industry accepted standard for safety. Nevertheless, intuition tells me that there would be no market for the size-disadvantaged 1" breakers if they provided no benefit over 1/2".
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Aren't the half-high ones more expensive?
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snipped-for-privacy@mail.uri.edu says...

Locally, 15 and 20 amp 1" breakers are $2.75, 1/2" are $2.95. So yes, the 1/2" are more expensive, but, frankly, I'm not going to sweat 20 cents.
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Mike Hartigan wrote:

According to GE, the 1/2" breakers do not have less contact area. I believe they actually have slightly more contact area. (the contacts are a different shape)
IIRC, the 1/2" breakers are not rated for 25000 amp interrupting capability for industrial applications and the 1" breakers are. Also, the 1/2" and 1" have different ratings when used in switch duty. Neither of these differences should make any difference to a homeowner 99% of the time.
Also, the 1/2" breakers are only available up to 50A, and the 1" are commonly available up to 60A -- and if you really look for them you can find 70A and 100A 1" breakers.
The 1/2" breakers cost insignificantly more than equivalent 1" breakers.
My panel has mostly 1/2" GE breakers in it, and a few 1" breakers. The top slot on each side of the panel will only accept 1" breakers. All the other slots will take either size.
Find something else to worry about :-)
Best regards, Bob
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says...

I'm only interested in 15 and 20 amp.

Sounds like good advice.
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You can't put to many breakers in that panel. GE panels use "T" slots for their mini breakers. Your panel will only have as many of these slots as they want you to be able to install breakers. Some folks prefer full sized breakers and some half. Use whatever you're comfortable with. At some point if you install to many circuits in the panel for the size of the service, your main breaker will trip letting you know it's time for a service increase. HTH

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On Sun, 1 May 2005 19:05:19 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

Oops, no lights.
Well one too many.
:p

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There is no difference between 1/2" and 1" breakers.
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Yes there is. The difference is 1/2".
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toller wrote:

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The GE 1/2 inch breakers will use a slightly less contact surface to the main buss bar, I recommend keeping the usage to no more than 20amp services, use the full size 1 inch breakers for larger loads.
MC

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