I would like to clean up my circuit breaker panel

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slamdunk

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I have 200A service. 20 years ago, I placed each room on it's own CB using 12AWG wire; approx 4-5 outlets per breaker. A few years ago, we added three rooms to the house. I just recently discovered that the electricians placed 13 outlets and two ceiling fans/lights on one 15A breaker. I was ultra conservative, they were very liberal but I don't think anyone did it wrong. I have never tripped a breaker with either configuration. The panel is short, maybe 16 spaces. When the 200a service panel was installed, the house was only 800sqft, we didn't have a dryer, Central air, a sub panel in the attic plus a lot of other things that comes with modernization.

My problem is, I am out of spaces in my box and have resorted to double breakers per space. My question is, can I use a junction box near the circuit breaker panel to combine two rooms and run 1, 12awg wire from junction box to a circuit breaker? would the one 12 gage wire be the correct size?
 

Reach4

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My problem is, I am out of spaces in my box and have resorted to double breakers per space. My question is, can I use a junction box near the circuit breaker panel to combine two rooms and run 1, 12awg wire from junction box to a circuit breaker?
It's not what you asked, but you might consider mounting a subpanel next to the existing main panel. It could be fed with maybe a 30 amp, 40 amp, or 60 amp breaker in the main panel, and have smaller breakers in the subpanel to the various circuits. Easy expansion later. Usually a subpanel would be fed with a 2-pole breaker.

The subpanel could be chosen to use the same breakers as the existing panel, or you might choose one that uses different breakers.

You would then have lots of available breaker spaces.
 

wwhitney

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I'm assuming the circuits are not AFCI or GFCI. Then you can put (2) #12 Cu 20A circuits on a single 20A breaker by just using a wire nut (or WAGO 221) to connect the (2) #12s ungrounded conductors to a #12 jumper to the breaker, inside the panelboard enclosure. No need for a junction box.

In fact some brands of small breakers are designed to take two equal sized wires (most are not); I know Square D QO breakers do, and I think there's at least one other brand. You can tell because the lug has two grooves in it for the two wires, plus the side of the breaker is printed with the allowed sizes.

As far as using tandems, check your panel label, they may only be allowed in certain spaces. I don't necessarily see the use of tandems as a negative, I'd probably prefer to use more tandems than to combine circuits.

Cheers, Wayne
 

slamdunk

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It's not what you asked, but you might consider mounting a subpanel next to the existing main panel. It could be fed with maybe a 30 amp, 40 amp, or 60 amp breaker in the main panel, and have smaller breakers in the subpanel to the various circuits. Easy expansion later. Usually a subpanel would be fed with a 2-pole breaker.

You would then have lots of available breaker spaces.

Quick response! thanks. I have added a subpanel next to the main panel for eight additional spaces but I would like to remove it too. It just screams: "Lack of planning ". When I did my wiring, I had three conduits. Over the years, romex was used and the panel now looks like Medusa. I would like to clean some of that up too. It would be ideal if I could just us a longer panel but I have a space limitation vertically. .
 

WorthFlorida

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All electrical breaker panels have maximum limit size based on it's ampere rating. Looking around the web, a general consence it to use 1.5 amp figure per outlet. Therefore, a 15 amp breaker would be 10 outlets, 20 amp would be 13-14. Just remember the breaker protects the wire, not the fixtures plugged in. With today's LED lighting and LED TV's, they are fairly light loads, even today's refrigerators only run about 400 watts per hour. Usually, the heaviest loads is a vacuum cleaner, an electrical heater and window air conditioners.

There's no limit to the number of receptacles that can be on a circuit in a residential dwelling. Code does specify a minimum number of receptacles required in a room (NEC 210.52(A)), based on the length of the walls. The code does not, however, limit the number of receptacles per circuit.
 
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