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#82328 - 11/05/02 08:59 AM different size breakers on multiwire branch  
jdevlin  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 402
welland ontario canada
This topic came up on another site. Is it permitted the have a multiwire circuit with a 15 amp on one branch and a 20 amp on the other branch. The neutral is a #12 wire.

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#82329 - 11/05/02 10:19 AM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
Redsy  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Bucks County PA
Never thought about it before, but I can't think of a reason not to.
(gut feeling says not to)

#82330 - 11/05/02 12:30 PM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
ElectricAL  Offline
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 597
Minneapolis, MN USA
I agree Redsy.

210.4(B) requires simultaneous disconnection of the ungrounded conductors that supply stuff on a common yoke. A listed handle tie would take care of that.

I see frequent examples of a 15 A and a 20 A circuit sharing a common 12 gauge neutral in residential systems based on EMT or Flex wiring methods. In this area, 7-county Minneapolis / St. Paul, the age of installation is most commonly 1950 thru the mid-70's. In 1975, the local "all metal" requirement was relaxed to permit NM.

Perhaps the most common configuration was running a general lighting circuit with the laundry circuit.

The slight economic incentive to save on material used is still available in NM if one uses a 12/3 NM homerun with one of the ungrounded 12s on a 15 A breaker, and the rest of the 15 A circuit beyond the 12/3 on 14/2 NM.


Al Hildenbrand

#82331 - 11/05/02 08:37 PM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
tdhorne  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 345
Maryland, USA
One word of caution would be that you might want to tag the fifteen amp leg of the 12/3 w Gnd in the panel to indicate that it supplies 14 gauge wiring. This is to prevent some follow on genius from supplying the 14 AWG from a replacement 20 amp breaker.

Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison

#82332 - 11/08/02 05:13 AM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
Matt M  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Laporte, MN, USA
Just curious, but are there any instances where you would ever want or need to do this? I could maybe see it for a multi-wire that serves a single piece of utilization equipment where it is possible that the loads on each leg are far from equal, but I can't see why you would ever need or want it on a multi-wire for general purpose branch circuits.

Where this would apply to general purpose branch circuits as you suggest, we're talking the difference in price of one single #14 conductor versus the price of one single #12 conductor? Why even bother?

#82333 - 11/08/02 07:14 AM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
It is not neccesarily the price of the materials that would drive this. I have done it because of the diffculty of running new circuits in an area. I have also used an existing wiring in remodel in this manner. For new construction I probably wouldn't bother.

#82334 - 11/08/02 01:56 PM Re: different size breakers on multiwire branch  
jdevlin  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 402
welland ontario canada
Never done it. Never even thought about. It is just something that came up on another forum.

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