I need to put some split circuit plug in in my kitchen and code requires
that both breakers be tied together. I don't have much room left on my
panel so I bought some 15A duplex breakers at Home Depot. They do not have
any tie bars there and the fellow tells me that they do not make them. I
don't think that is correct. They have a little hole on each toggle that I
believe can have a tie bar put through them. Does anyone know if there is a
tie bar for the Square d duplex breaker?
CAUTION!!! That tiny Sq D breaker is NOT suitable
for 3-wire ("split") circuits.
If you look closely, you'll see that there is only one
"stab" connection to the Bus bars. Both circuits will
thus be on the same "phase" and the Neutral wire can
As Jim says, to use a multiwire cable, the red and black wire MUST be on
different phases, which you can't get from the circuit breaker you have. The
safest thing for you to do is use a full sized double pole breaker for the
kitchen outlets and replace some two wire circuits in the panel with the
splits. Also note, kitchen circuits should be 20 amp
This is what I will do, use these duplexes I have to replace other single
breakers and then use the single breakers tied together for the split
circuit. The guy at Home Depot showed me a tie bar that ties 2 single
breakers together. (I also bought a few 15A double breakers in one unit
with one switch. Great ideas guys, this is a very helpful forum.
The guy at Homed Depot suggested that I get one of those split pins/shear
pins I think they might be called and cut it to size and hammer it into the
holes on the duplex breaker.
We run a toaster, coffee machine and the odd blender or mixmaster on the
counter. I would hope that would not cook the neutral.
Just wired up my moms kitchen to code and added 2 more outlets and split up
the wiring with more circuits. She just had new cabinets put in. She has a
large counter space with 2 outlets on it. She had those blocks on them that
divide the plug in into six outlets on each. That circuit ran the fridge,
range hood, 2 kitchen lights and the 2 outlets on the counter, one which had
a microwave on it that tripped the breaker on a regular basis. Oh yeah
there were 2 over the sink potlights with 120w floods on the circuit also,
and a garburator. House was built in 1970. The good thing was that the
house at least had copper and not aluminum wiring.
Not sure I understood how that worked but found this on the net.
If there are two separate groupings of white wires in the existing box,
do NOT connect the groups together or combine to make only one group.
There's several reasons. First is that by doing so, you'd conceivably be
putting two neutrals in parallel, and the paralleling of wires of the
size you'd be dealing with is against the code. Paralleling is permitted
only for conductors rated in the several-hundred-amp range and up, and
there are requirements that must be met for paralleling.
Second, you could be creating a fire hazard. The explanation is a bit
technical, but if you're interested, here it is:
A modern panel has two hot legs, a neutral, and a ground.
The hot legs are called L1 and L2.
Between L1 and the neutral, you'll get 120 volts
Between L2 and the neutral, you'll get 120 volts
Between L1 and L2 you'll get 240 volts.
You can get two circuits in a box several ways:
(1) you can run ONE 3 conductor (plus ground) cable from panel
(2) you can run TWO 2 conductor cables (both with grounds)
If you chose the ONE 3 conductor cable, the following would apply:
(1) One of the hot legs would be connected to a breaker on one
of the hot legs (say L1), and the other hot leg *MUST*
be connected to a breaker that's on the OTHER (L2) leg.
(2) The neutral conductor in that 3 conductor cable would be
the DIFFERENCE in currents at any point in time. For
example, if the hot leg from L1 was supplying 14 amps,
and the other hot leg, from L2, was supplying 11 amps,
the neutral current would be 14-11=3 amps
(3) If, by mistake, either during the installation, or years
later when you forgot how you powered the cable, you
inadvertantly moved wires around so that somehow
both hot legs in that cable were from the same side
(either L1 or L2), the neutral would no longer carry the
difference in current. Instead it would carry the sum.
For the example above, the neutral would carry
14+11+25 amps, and may start a fire.
If instead you ran TWO 2 conductor cables, each cable would have its'
own neutral, and it would not matter, not now, not never, whether both
cables received their power from the same side (L1 or L2) of the panel.
HOWEVER, you better not tie the neutrals from the two cables together.
If you did, either deliberately, or someday accidently, you could end up
with one neutral carrying a lot more current that the other, which could
cause a fire.
FWIW I have a couple of Square D 'double' 15 amp breakers. These are
doubles (Not double pole).
By that I mean these are two 15 amp single pole breakers, both on the same
'leg' (or incorrectly called 'phase' side!);
BUT they fit in the same SINGLE SAME PHYSICAL SPACE as a normal 'single' 15
amp single pole breaker.
This allows the use of one of these 'doubles' to 'crowd up' say a couple of
#14AWG 15 amp lighting circuits. That saves one space which then allows the
placing of a proper double pole breaker, of the appropriate rating, which in
adjacent spaces spans both of A and B legs to give 230 volts.
I can look at the Square D type number if you wish.
Interesting (sensible) post and answers IMHO.
That is what I bought in my original post and the guy at home depot told me
I could tie them together with a split pin. A big no-no. The lady at
special services said he was an electrician. Now that I know that for
certain, I am going to get some more of them to make spaces for some single
throw double poles that use up two spaces to get hot from each side of the
Our code here says each kitchen counter outlet must be split and each
adjacent plug must also be on a separate service with a maximum of 2 plugs
per 14/3 circuit run. In my reno I put 5 plugs in my upstairs kitchen and 4
in my basement kitchen. This means that I need 10 spaces of my 32 spaces
just for kitchen counters. And at inspection time code says that I must
have 2 vacant spots for future use. So I have only 20 spots left to play
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