In preping house to sell was running dedicated circuit to bathroom for
gfi socket as bathroom had no socket only only light switch.
discovered that all upstairs (bathroom and 3 bedrooms) were on 2 (two)
20 amp breakers that were ganged. Also found the old wiring was 14
gage. I will of course be replacing the breakers with 15 amp
breakers. Anyone have any idea why the breakers were ganged and when
replaced must I also use ganged 15s or just one for each of the two
There is a chance that those two circuits are sharing a neutral (an
Edison circuit). It is a good idea to keep them ganged so that no one
will accidentally but them on the same "phase" in the future.
"Normally" there will be a red wire to one breaker and a black wire to the
other. And "normally" they will trace to a common cable with a single
I suppose the acid test is to read the current going out over the two hots
and the current returning over the (presumably) single neutral. The neutral
current would be the difference between the two.
<uriah> wrote in message <uriah> wrote:
Trace the two wires back up the panel to where they enter and see if
you are dealing with on cable (two hots, one neutral and probably a
ground all in the same jacket) or two separate cables.
If you only have one neutral then it is an Edison and should be on a
ganged breaker but there is no requirement to do so. The reason it is
a good idea is that current on one leg balances out the current on the
other leg so if you have 15 amps running on one leg and 10 on the
other the neutral is carrying the difference of 5. If you
accidentally got both breakers on the same leg then the balancing is
gone and now you have 25 amps running back over the neutral which is
more than it would have been rated for.
Doesn't sound like these are heating circuits, but General purpose ones.
Either there's a shared neutral, or the wiring from both circuits goes into
a common junction box (which doesn't require ganging, but some people do for
safety), or someone was stupid -- after all they missized the breaker so
they could have mis-applied it as well.
If the two circuits are both going to the same outlet, then the breaker
should be ganged. (From what I have read) If not then someone probably
just used what was available. But I wouldn't ungang them unless you can
map out the circuit 100%.
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