Double neutrals

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Ian Gills, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Shared neutrals

    I was hoping to install some AFCIs on my panel and found two shared neutrals covering four circuits/breakers.

    Any opinions on whether it is worth running new wire on these circuits to have their own neutral? Are there any benefits other than being able to use AFCI breakers?

    One shared neutral is for all receptacles and the basement lights (two circuits).

    The other shared neutral is for the kitchen receptacle and the disposal (two circuits).

    All of the wiring is accessible (unfinished basement).

    Oh, and there was one other problem. In trying to disconnect the neutral for my lighting circuit, the lug will not move and I have stripped the screw. Am I allowed just to cut the neutral near the lug, strip it and place it in another lug? Again I hope to attach an AFCI to this circuit, that's why the issue arose.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  2. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    The AFCI will not function on the 3 wire circuits.

    I don't think it is worth the effort to rewire.

    You can cut and move the neutral. Be SURE all breakers are off and be SURE to make a good connection. If you lose the neutral at that point, with the power on, you are likely to get 240 volts to some 120 volt outlets.
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks..........................................
  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The AFCI has a history of false trips and many pros consider it an immature and lousy product pushed by the manufacturers. The 2005 code requires it in 120 Volt bedroom circuits. The 2008 code requires it in all 120 Volt 15 and 20 Amp circuits.

    It would be a little like repacing your Toyota with a Yugo.

    Do a search on AFCI at www.mikeholt.com
  5. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    I do not do residential and have little experience with AFCI's. IMO in principle they are a good idea. I installed all GFCI on all my branch circuits when I wired my house for safety, 4 kids 4 dogs all worth the extra cost. So ask yourself "Whats my family worth?"
  6. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Here's one solution that might work. The basement lights circuit does not draw much power (3 CFL bulbs). Would I be allowed to wire nut this hot to the receptacle hot in the panel, remove two circuit breakers and install one AFCI i.e. pigtail the hots in the panel?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  7. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    It is permissible to make a junction in the load center. Many new circuit breakers have terminals that are designed and listed for two conductors. There is a small clamping part under the screw head that accepts a wire on each side screw.
  8. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,780
    Location:
    USA
    Yes, my ordinary Square D breakers have this, but my Square D AFCI only has room for one hot wire under the clamp (half of the clamp is covered, I assume on purpose). Consequently I will need to pigtail two hots before connecting to the AFCI, if this is an acceptable way of getting round my problem with the shared neutral.
  9. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I would say.......yes.

    Unorthodox but it will work.


    Is it a code violation???? Could be somehow/somewhere.
  10. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    The clamp part is not supposed to have two wires. Strangely you have to wire-nut the hots together first.

    As for AFCI, I've found RC Snubber circuits keep them from tripping.

    Best of all RC Snubber's can just be plugged in and thus do not fall under the UL requirements....

    I wonder how long before they start selling them to reduce false trips.

    Edit: Another option is to get a 240V AFCI.
  11. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    NOT TRUE depends on the manufacture.


    Hopefully never

    An easier solution than rewiring but costly.
Similar Threads: Double neutrals
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Can I use 2 single pole 30 amp pushmatic breakers as a double pole set up May 28, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Double 14AWG wiring gauge Sep 10, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Double Pole Single Throw Switch Jun 4, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Double Tap Question Apr 10, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog SPDT double-throw switch Dec 27, 2010

Share This Page