What’s a “Double Tap”?

As a licensed home inspector part of my job is inspecting the electrical system of each house I am hired for.  That involves popping the panel and looking on the inside.  It is my favorite part of the job.  I get excited to see what is under there.  A dirty, crowded and messy panel can indicate other issues throughout the house.  However, a nice clean, organized and neat panel with everything labeled correctly is great to see and inspect.

What is a “double tap”?  This is an issue that I see in 90% of the houses that I inspect.  A double tap is simply 2 branch circuit wires that are connected to the same circuit breaker.  This can create too much load going into the breaker and cause the breaker to trip.  Each circuit breaker is supposed to have only one wire.

See it in the picture above?  It’s hard to see but here it is up close.

double-tap-blog-pic

However, some breakers are specifically designed to have 2.  It depends on the manufacturers instructions.  Also some “double taps” are perfectly fine.  A lot of the time it is just the doorbell wire, a low load wire that needs to get juice from somewhere and doesn’t over load the breaker.

The only way to know if you have a “double tap” is to take the panel off of your electrical box and take a look.  Do NOT do this if you do not know what you are doing.  Any licensed electrician can do this for you and let you know what is going on in there.

As for fixing a “double tap”, hire a licensed electrician to take a look and they can let you know your options.  Sometimes it is fine, and sometimes they may need to add a new breaker to correct it.

For more info or to talk about Home Inspections contact at Knoxinspect.com

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