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"Space Saver" circuit breakers?

dmarty's picture

I have a Challenger (Eaton Cutler Hammer) 200A load center in my home with 30  1" spaces (BR style breakers).  I have used up all available spaces and have a need for a few more circuits.  The panel is located in the attached garage which is currently unfinished.  I'm about to finish off the garage and have to decide whether I should change out the panel for a 40 space unit (much easier to do now before the drywall is in) or to use the "Space Saver" twin pole breakers.  I have never used the twin pole (2 breaker circuits in a 1" space) breakers.  What are the pros and cons?   The twin poles will give me enough circuits now and in the foreseeable future, but of course the 40 space unit will give me even more room for future expansion if I need it. What should I do?




(post #71722, reply #1 of 9)

I do not know much of anything about mini-breakers other then our electrians have used them when we need an extra space or two.

That said, why not install a sub-panel rather then change out the existing panel for a larger one?  Parts should cost less and labor would be a heck of a lot easier.



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(post #71722, reply #2 of 9)

I failed to mention that I have a 50A subpanel in the basement that is also maxed out.  I will need to use the twin poles in it or change it out for a larger one.

I'm just a little suspicious of the "two for one" breakers.  Seems too good to be true.  There must be a down side.

(post #71722, reply #3 of 9)

as long as they are made from the same manf. there would be no problem. they will protect just like a 1".larry

hand me the chainsaw, i need to trim the casing just a hair.

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #71722, reply #4 of 9)

Look at the label on the panel.

Panels are speced for both the number of postions and the number of poles that it can handle. In any case the max number of poles i 42, although it is rare to find one larger than 40 (in a single phase panel).

Your panel might be 30 positions and 30 poles in which case it would be against the code to install the tandem breakers.

Howver, 30 position, 40 pole ones are common. The lable will also indicate in which part the panel that you can use the tandems.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #71722, reply #5 of 9)

I don't think there's any inherent problem with using the space saver breakers, but if both your main panel and the subpanel in the basement are totally filled, you should probably take a look at how many amps you're actually using to make sure you aren't overloading things.  Chances are it's still ok (unless you're running every light and appliance in the house 24/7), but it's better to be safe than sorry.

(post #71722, reply #6 of 9)

Good points.  I just looked and it is a 30-40 panel, so I think I will be ok using the twin pole breakers.  I'm also not overloaded.  I just like to have everything on a separate circuit.  Also, I have two spaces used up for an outlet for a dryer, but am using a gas dryer.  I've left the circuit in place for possible (but unlikely) future use.

(post #71722, reply #7 of 9)

They wouldn't make double breakers if you weren't supposed to use them.

(post #71722, reply #8 of 9)

"They wouldn't make double breakers if you weren't supposed to use them"

They make LOTS of things are are safe and OK to use when used as APPROVED.

For example drywall screws are a good product when used to install DW. However, they are not when used to mount joist hangers, and yes they have been used for such.

Likewise as I mentioned earlier tandem breakers are only to be used in certain slots.

New tandems breakers and new panels have exclusion keys to only allow them to be placed in certain slots. Older panels don't have those. And because of that they also make tandem breakers just for the older panels. However, most stores only stock the older type of tandems.

Thus tandems can be used in panels in applications for which they are not approved.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #71722, reply #9 of 9)

Very helpful.  Thank you.