Neutrals on breakers?

Inspection last night.
Built in 1920.
Some K & T still in place.
Updated service panel.
Electrician was recommended to evaluate entire service due to dozens of no no’s throughout.

My question is that of the main panel.
Notice the white neutral wires going to breakers toward top left.
Look like double poll breakers…correct if wrong.

Any reason for this?
Ok in any circumstance?

Please take it easy on a newbie.


Fused neutrals would be a serious safety concern, however, in this case, these appear to simply be mis-identified, ungrounded conductors (hot).

White wires used as ungrounded conductors are required to be permanently re-identified.

Could be feeding 240 volt equipment like an Air Conditioner.
Was there a label telling what it fed .
Most sparkies tape the white black so it does not confuse a non electrician.

Roy Cooke sr.

In this case both white and black go to breakers and ground goes to ground/neutral bus.

If romex comes into the panel, sheath and all, and both black and white wires are used as “hot”, then what acts as the neutral?

Is this setup possibly due to the Romex and K&T hybrid that this house is?


The white conductors are on the 240 volt (two-pole) circuits. They are “ungrounded (hot) conductors,” and are required to be permanently re-identified.

A 240 volt circuit does not require a dedicated neutral to operate properly.

Looks like I need to freshen up on my bookwork.

thanks to all

Hi to all,

I would have to agree with the principle behind your comments Jeff, but as this system has been upgraded in recent times it may well be that it should have been brougt up to a modern wiring standard at the time. The fact that this is an upgrade to a K&T home bothers me quite a bit.

I am glad that the whole thing has been defered to an electrical contractor.



Hey All,

I am not overly concerned on the White wire going to the breaker…yes it needs to be re-identified.


[/size][/FONT]**© Circuits of 50 Volts or More.
**The use of insulation
that is white or gray or that has three continuous white
stripes for other than a grounded conductor for circuits
of 50 volts or more shall be permitted only as in (1)
through (3).

(1) If part of a cable assembly and where the insulation is
permanently reidentified to indicate its use as an ungrounded
conductor, by painting or other effective
means at its termination, and at each location where the
conductor is visible and accessible.

The other parts of that article apply to the travelers and so on in 3 way and 4 way switches and so on…but the basic still applies…it MUST be indentified at BOTH ends…

However as Gerry has so well stated…what we CAN’T see is the problem…where are these K&T wires terminated, are they in a junction above the panel…are they done correctly…are they supported correctly and so on.
Yes, Agree 100 % to defer…defer…defer…