combining circuits

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by beekerc, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    i have two rooms in my newly remodeled basement. i ran two separate 20A circuits in each room (one circuit to the south and east walls, one circuit to the north and west walls). in case your wondering, one is an office, one is a small A/V room (it falls short of a "home theater" in terms of devices and complexity). this puts four 20A breakers in the main panel servicing two rooms. based on loads that i have in each room, it seems overkill to service each room with two circuits, where one would do. The reason i want to consolidate is so that i can put all the outlets in each room onto a generator circuit. at present, i only have two available generator slots, so if i combine each room into one circuit, instead of two, then i can put each full room onto the generator and not have to worry about which walls will be active when the gen kicks in and which walls will be dark.

    the obvious solutions seems to tie the two black wires from each room together, plus a third black pigtail wire, nut them together (although i prefer the push in style) then run the pigtail to the lug in the breaker.

    here's my questions.....

    is it okay to do this in the circuit breaker panel?
    from a common sense, a physical, an NEC Code compliance perspective
    is there a minimum length for the pigtail?
    is there a need to tie and pigtail the white and ground wires as well, or can i leave them tied into the common bus as they are now?

  2. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Newnan, GA
    You can do what you want. I would also do the neutral and ground wires just to prevent confussion in the future.
  3. iminaquagmire

    iminaquagmire DIY Senior Member

    You could put them both on the one breaker possibly. Square D QO breakers can accommodate 2 wires. You could also use a tandem breaker if you still want them separate.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I once had an inspector tell me that the circuit breaker panel was NOT a jucntion box, and would not accept wire nut joined wires inside the panel.
  5. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    North Carolina
    312.8 Enclosures for Switches or Overcurrent Devices.
    Enclosures for switches or overcurrent devices shall not be used as junction boxes, auxiliary gutters, or raceways for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other switches or overcurrent devices, unless adequate space for this purpose is provided. The conductors shall not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 40 percent of the cross-sectional area of the space, and the conductors, splices, and taps shall not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 75 percent of the cross-sectional area of that space.
  6. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer


    thanks for the NEC cite.
    i'll give my electrician acquaintance a call and have him look it over with regard to space.
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