Double tapped breakers are a common circuit breaker defect — but they are also one of the easiest electrical problems to correct.
What Is a Double Tapped Breaker?
A double tapped breaker occurs when two conductors are found connected under one circuit breaker lug or when two conductors are connected at the neutral bar under one screw. The problem with a double tapped breaker is that circuit breakers aren’t designed to hold these two conductors together. While they might feel secure and seem to be working fine, these conductors could loosen up leading to arcing, overheating, and safety hazards, including fire.
A double tapped breaker can also occur if your electrical work has been done by someone without correct electrical experience. This can be bad news for your home’s safety and for future building permits!
How to Identify a Double Tapped Breaker
Sometimes, a circuit breaker can be designed for two conductors. In this case, there will usually be a label saying so. However, a double tapped breaker can also be a defect if the breaker isn’t designed to hold two conductors. If there is no label but there are two conductors, there may be an issue with the electrical connection requiring a repair by an experienced electrician.
How to Fix a Double Tapped Breaker
There are a few ways that double tapped breakers can be corrected; these include the following:
- Install a double circuit breaker – One option is to disconnect the current breaker and install a circuit breaker that’s actually designed to hold two circuits. Before you do this, however, you will need your electrician to make sure your panel can hold the new breaker.
- Add a circuit breaker – If your panel has enough room, you may want to install an additional circuit breaker and split the current double tapped breaker.
- Install a tandem breaker – A tandem breaker could also be installed. However, your panel has to able to hold tandem breakers. You will need to read the information on the inside of your panel to see which breakers can safely and properly be installed.
If you have no experience working on an electrical panel, it is a good idea to have a licensed electrical contractor complete the work for you. Playing with electricity without proper experience could be dangerous to yourself and your home!
Contact the Professionals for Electrical Repairs in MD, VA & DC
Kolb Electric has a team of certified electricians who offer a full range of electrical services to home and building owners in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. We have been working in the DMV area for over 95 years and provide our customers with affordable, quality electrical repairs, whether they have a double tapped breaker in need of correction or any other electrical issue.
Contact us today for a free estimate on your home’s or office’s electrical work. We offer same-day service, seven days a week!