Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's The Small Details Of Home Inspection That Can Find Larger Problems

Electrical Double Tap?
electric panel
 
   
WHAT THE HECK IS A DOUBLE TAP?
 
In order to perform a proper electrical evaluation, home inspectors must remove the electrical panel covers on every accessible electrical panel box. Besides other concerns, inspectors look for breakers that have two (or more) wires attached.
 
 Electrical Double Tap
 
The problem with multiple wiring is that additional wiring could put a substantial electrical demand on the breaker. Breakers will "nusiance trip" if excessive amperage passes thru them - this prevents overheating and reduces the chance of fire. Also, most breakers are NOT designed to have two wires screwed under a single wire clamp. This could result in loose connections, overheating at the connections and electrical arcing at the screw connection.
 
The solutions - Add another overload protection device so each wire has it's own breaker or, add a
Pig Tail
Example only - not proper gauge wire
special tandem breaker with two screw clamps. Usually the easiest and best repair is the "Pig Tail".  Theoffending wires simply get disconnected from the circuit breaker, connected to a single wire with a wire nut, and that single wire gets connected to the circuit breaker.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "What's so tough about that?"  The answer is nothing. 
 
**Double tapped wiring is ok if the circuit breaker is designed for two wires. If a circuit breaker is designed for two wires, it will say so right on the circuit breaker, and the terminal of the circuit breaker will be designed to hold two wires in place.  

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