Double Taps in Cutler Hammer Panel

I know that Cutler Hammer allows double taps on low amp breakers. I thought is was allowed if the wire is the same gauge and the breaker has a double clamp to allow the second wire. I am correct?


Those are not allowed…

This is what you want to look for:

twowirebreaker (Small).jpg

Thanks! Larry. That type of connection is not present.

The Cutler Hammer breakers that allow two wires are the CH series. You can recognize them instantly by the tan colored handles. They also fasten to the bus differently than the BR series, (which are the ones in your picture) and will only fit a CH series panel. They are Cutler Hammers premium product.

This has got to be a horizontal pic of a vertical connection point… Square-D has a similar connection.

Looking at Buck’s original post, the branch circuits are of the same gage and same type. (both solid conductors and estimating 14 ga). Can’t read the fine print.

Yup. If it doesn’t have the special w-retainer, it’s a double tap.


I have two conductors going to a single lug on a Cutler Hammer BR115 breaker. Therefore, would this be considered a safety issue?

Please advise,


Does it have the “W”- retainer?
Insulation is nicked 2 wires above the one in question
Wish I could have been more help

Not sure if they had the W lugs or not. I’ll have to take a closer look some of my other photos. I also noticed that the insulation on that one wire was damaged. Do you typically report that as a safety concern as well?

Please advise,


That wire does not look burned. Unless copper is showing through I would not report it.

BR breakers are not allowed 2 wires.


Be careful when you are calling out a single double tap. This particular tap could be supplying a doorbell transformer (which is low voltage). I see this in 95% of the panels I inspect. If you call these out, you will be wasting your time.

Lets explain double taps for a second. The HI has to use their own good judgement on this because while it may be a code violation it may not present such a hazard that it gets elevated on a report in a manner that can cause great concern. Yes, it is a violation of the National Electrical Code unless the device is designed to handle it and yes, even if it was allowed they should be of the same conductor sizing.

Now, Eaton ( Cutler Hammer ) indeed does make breakers that are designed to handle two conductors and it does not look like the Square D version being shown here. Typically their version is a “V” pattern that when torqued down will sandwich the conductors in a tight format and those will say on the side that they are rated for (2) two conductors. As you see in the images Schneider ( Square D ) also has devices that are rated for (2) two conductors and will be listed as such on the side.

If in the entire electrical inspection you run into a single double tap on a breaker that is not designed for being double tapped, call it out on the report but I would not elevate it beyond the aware status unless it has different size conductors this is being done with, it has conductors rated less than the breaker being double tapped ( except in the allowances of 240.4(G) ) and so on.

This is a simple fix for an electrical contractor. Remember, if the breaker is double tapped with (2) 14 AWG conductors onto a 15A breaker the loads is still limited to 15A and if it comes loose the only real issue is the circuit will not function. Yes, it is a violation of the National Electrical Code and the manufactures listings (110.3b) but if this is the only thing you find I would not elevate it to critical status…save yourself alot of grief and recommend it be corrected at some point but most certainly I am a fan of color coding your critical list…this would not be a RED classfication to me…

While I am a codeist…I am not an alarmist and many HI’s need to understand the different when reporting on issues. Now, if the list GROWS…then you indeed have reported on it and it should be corrected when other issues are corrected.

This may sound a bit naive, but do you actually flip the breaker in question and go test the door bell to verify? I’ve not seen any breaker panels yet (not looked at that many yet either) that call out the door bell as part of the marking in the box. I guess my concern with flipping the breaker would be if there was a receptacle on that same circuit that might have a home PC plugged into it that might be on at the time.

Please advise,


The doorbell tranformer will be right there at the panel. If located elsewhere, you will not see it double-tapped. The transformer has soft, stranded copper leads, less likely to be a problem, but still not allowed in some areas.

How long have you been inspecting SE panels? Obviously not long enough. Why would anyone flip a breaker to see if a wire leads to a doorbell transformer, when this type of double tap would be clearly visible?

While the dead front panel cover is “Off”, you’ll literally follow many solo double taps right to the doorbell transformer, which is located within inches of the breaker that it is tapped into. 85% of Electricians double tap this low voltage wire on a daily basis.


Thanks for the helpful information. I thought that I had mentioned my lack of experience in my original post. Anyhow, I’d like to see a picture of an example of what you are referring to if anyone on this message board wouldn’t mind sharing. I’m actually just starting out in HI’s. I still have to submit the rest of my Mock-up inspections to NACHI to fulfill my membership requirements. Anyhow, that is where I stand at the moment, which might explain all of my questions. I apologize for not being as familiar with the electrical stuff as most here.



I don’t re-read posts, so I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

This is a doorbell transformer…

On the other side of this panel attachment (inside the panel), you’ll see this low voltage wire double tapped into a breaker, in most installations.

Here are a couple more photos of the Service Panel that I had taken.