December 6, 2011

What were they thinking?

From the "Inspection Nightmare" file...

"Double Lugged" many wires can you fit in one breaker?

One of the most common electrical issue we find during a home inspection…we normally call a “Double Lugged” breaker. In this case…we can call this more than double lugging!

What is a double lugged breaker? Simply stated it is a breaker that has two wires connected to a single breaker connection. Some breakers may be rated and/or designed to hold two circuits. However, if a circuit breaker is not specifically rated or designed to accommodate two wires then it is considered to be double lugged. This could cause the breaker to trip if both circuits are used at the same time.  Hot spots have also been known to occur at the breaker connection due to improper contact or torque because of the size of the second wire, this can lead to arcing within the panel.

Some electricians offer a few methods of correction for an improperly double lugged breaker.  If there is additional space in the electrical panel an additional circuit breaker can be installed for the second wire, sometimes a mini-double breaker can be added to replace a full sized breaker. If no room is left in the panel for an additional breaker, a single wire (pigtail) can be attached to the breaker and the other two wires attached to that connection with a wire-nut. Whichever method is used, you should ALWAYS use the services of a qualified and licensed electrical contractor. 

So...What's inside your electrical panel?

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