Double Taps–What Does it Mean, and How Severe of an Issue is it

Getting a home inspection before a home purchase is supposed to bring clarity to issues and help a buyer feel better about their purchase. Often times though, when the Inspector is reviewing their findings, there is a lot to take in. It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose.

When it comes to the electrical panel many people get really uncomfortable and have no idea what an inspector is talking about when they use terms like double tap, oversized breaker, or aluminum wiring.

At Home Partners we place a high value on education.  So, in this post we want to educate you on the term Double Tap. What is it? Why is it an issue? What does it look like, and what are some possible solution?

double tap is two electric lines going into a circuit breaker intended for only one line.  Square D and Cutler Hammer do makesome single circuit breakers that will allow for two lines. However, there are indicators we look for to determine if two wires coming in acceptable. It is important to understand that some of these circuits manufactured allow two wire entry–most do breakers do not. Included in this blog are pictures of what a double tap looks like.

Now that we know what double tap is let’s try to understand the issue. When adding an additional wire to a breaker designed for a single wire you run the risk of a connection concern. A loose connection could lead to intermittent power issues on the circuit or even a fire concern from arcing. It could also pull more from the breaker than what it is designed to handle.

Consider this.  If you have two circuits going in, that are both asking for 15 amps each, or 30 amps total, on a breaker that is only designed for 15 amps, you are asking too much from that breaker, and overheating may occur. If and when a breaker begins to overheat, the fire risk increases.

Solutions can be relatively easy and inexpensive if if the panel has adequate room. We would recommend having a licensed electrician take care of these issues for you. The can let you know what fix would be best for your situation. They may be able to add another breakeror install a split breaker that takes up only a single breaker slot to accommodate your needs.  

Thank you for coming to our blog to learn more about Double Taps.  Please know that Home Partners is Kansas City’s best Home Education Company.  If you have ideas for blogs please share them with us at RyanN@HomePartnersKC.com.  To schedule an inspection for a home you own, are getting ready to sell, or are buying please call our office at 913-390-3376.

 

Article provided by Eric Zuelke from Home Partners in Olathe, KS.