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Thread: Double neutrals

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  1. #1
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Default 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 by Ian Gills; 11-29-2007 at 07:54 AM.

  2. #2

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    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. #3
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Thanks..........................................

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    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. #5
    DIY Senior Member BrianJohn's Avatar
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    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. #6
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    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 by Ian Gills; 11-29-2007 at 02:29 PM.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    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.

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