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Sizing the breakers in your panel

by Lauterborn Electric on May 3rd, 2011

Are the breakers in your panel sized properly?

Electrical wiring comes in different sizes and breakers must be sized accordingly. 14 gauge wiring requires 15 AMP breakers, 12 gauge wiring requires 20 AMP breakers and so on. Some wiring manufacturers have simplified the identification of smaller wire sizes. White is 15 AMP, yellow is 20AMP, and orange is 30 AMP.

The image below shows the different color wires properly bored through framing members. Wiring done by Lauterborn Electric.

If an over sized breaker is used, “for example” a 30 amp breaker controlling a 15 AMP circuit, the breaker would allow over twice the amperage rating of the wire before an overload or short circuit is detected by the breaker. This could cause a possible overheating or failure of the wire. Breakers are designed to only have one wire connected per set screw. Many unqualified electricians violate this rule when a panel is full by doubling up on one breaker. Multiple tapped breakers could lead to potential overheating in your electrical panel.

The image below depicts a panel with multiple double tapped breakers. Installation by unknown.  Click on Images to enlarge.

If you have double tapped breakers, or to make sure your breakers are sized properly,contact your licensed electrical contractor Lauterborn Electric.

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