soldered double tap

If two wires are first soldered together before being put into a breaker would it still be considered to be a double tap or is it now considered to be a single wire at the soldered point?

I would say double tapped, there is still 2 feeds even though they
are soldered together.



I think I misunderstood the original post… I thought that the poster meant that the wires were soldered to a third wire and connected to the breaker… i thought this was more a question of the soldering…

If I am to understand correctly at this point, two wires were soldered and the soldered connection was placed in the screw terminal? This would be incorrect and should be repaired.


Its still two circuits being fed from one breaker. The breaker can’t tell them apart. One wire per breaker.

No! It is one circuit now. Double tap has nothing to do with what is downstream of the device, only with terminals having more wire connections than is intended!

The safety hazard of a double tapped connection is that the connection of multiple wires to a terminal designed for one can be unreliable and generate heat. There are some breakers manufacturered for the connection of 2 wires such as some Square D units.

The only issue with this is that if two circuits have been combined to form one, the load could be high and be more prone to nussance tripping. However, if the load is fine and the breaker never trips there is no problem at all.

By the way, the guidelines for soldered splices are defined in section 12-112 (1 and 2) of the CEC. You can check out Section 8 for various rules on doing load calculations to determine whether or not such a connection is too much load (actual or calculated).

EDIT: I misread the original post so this information is likely invalid. I corrected my first post. Sorry guys!

So in this case instead of calling it out as a defect…

“Circuit has two wires attached. It is not known what electrical devices and/or fixtures are connected to these 2 wires. Recommend a licensed electrical contractor calculate load on these 2 wires to determine if the circuit breaker in question is overloaded. Overloading of electrical circuits can be an annoyance and a safety hazard”

Well if that is the case, then why not put the two circuits pig tailed together in a junction box and pigtail a single line to the breaker?

By the way are you American? The Canadian Electrical Code maybe different, and the Electrical Safety Authority Inspector may not like the idea of a two wires soldered together, fwiw.

No issue as long as 8-104 is not violated.

Canadian. Check out 12-112. Soldering is perfectly acceptable given that they are
a) mechanically and electrically secure; and
b) covered with an insulation equivilant to that on the connectors being joined.

No-No on the soldering them together part…perfectly fine to take the (2) wires off a breaker and wirenut them together and take a pigtail to the breaker…it is a solution for double taps…However as stated the entire load total of BOTH branch circuits are now added together…

The NEC does not specify how many devices can be on a circuit but it gives you guidelines for determining this in the basic general lightning calculations based on square foot of the dwelling…then you use that to determine how many 15 A or 20 A branch circuits you need…but the NEC does not specify it.

Some breakers ( sq d- QO ) is listed for (2) wires but in most cases the wirenut splice option is the best for double taps…since most of the time we see this is in older panels anyway…for the most part.

Just remember that pigtail has to be the same size as the wires it is junctioned to…but long story short…it all becomes one branch circuit at that point…


Not to nitpick, but 12-112 only talks about splices of wires, it does not appear to address double taps or soldered double wires under the terminal screws. Rule 12-506 (1) states that joints may be made only in outlet boxes or junction boxes?

Is this enough cya…whether wire nut double or solder double…either one?

“Circuit has two wires attached. It is not known what electrical devices and/or fixtures are connected to these 2 wires. Recommend a licensed electrical contractor calculate load on these 2 wires to determine if the circuit breaker in question is overloaded. Overloading of electrical circuits can be an annoyance and a safety hazard”

The scenario in question DOES NOT constitute a double tap! There is nothing (as far as I am aware) that prohibits splices within a panel for the purpose of connecting to a device installed within the panel. The reason I brought it up is to indiciate that a soldered connection is allowed.

Unless… does he mean the wires were twisted and soldered THEN inserted into the breaker? I read the original post as the two wires being soldered to a third wire and that wire connected??


 Is really going to be hard for us electricians to tell the client that unless we place a amp probe on the lines but it it is safe to say the OCPD should protect both of these conductors in this case because they are now one circuit....Technically you could have 30 receptacles on a 15A or 20A circuit ( lord I hope NOT but could happen )....point is if the wires are double tapped on a breaker to begin with and it is not tripping...chances are when the "FIX" is made...probably wont trip either.....

But as you DID state.....while having it looked at anyway by an Electrical Contractor they can see if the overall panel needs to be upgraded or expanded to keep the people from doing more double taps...

Hope that explains it…

Thanks Paul…

My thoughts were that while the current owner may know that the addition on the rear of the home and bedroom 1 are tied together and avoid running 2 blow dryers, a cd player, and 2 heating irons at the same time…the new owners may not. After they move in and start popping that breaker…they hire an electrician…he comes in and says “why didn’t the HI mention this…”…and then you know what comes next…:slight_smile:

Just trying to avoid this sort of thing…thanks for your response.

Hey guys,

Sorry for mucking up the thread… I made a mistake reading the original post. I thought this was a question about soldering and not “soldered double taps.” Anyway, just to clarify… under the CEC soldering would be ok as long as the solder joint was properly taped and a SINGLE wire attached to the terminal… otherwise it’s wrong.

I had trouble invisioning someone soldering two wires and then putting the soldered joint under one screw… seems like a lot of effort to do something wrong!

I deleted my posts and hopefully the thread is ok now.

Just as a note…not sure to whom…yes, you can have spliced within the panel…

**312.8 Enclosures for Switches or Overcurrent Devices.
**Enclosures for switches or overcurrent devices shall not be
used as junction boxes, auxiliary gutters, or raceways for
conductors feeding through or tapping off to other switches
or overcurrent devices, unless adequate space for this purpose
is provided. The conductors shall not fill the wiring
space at any cross section to more than 40 percent of the
cross-sectional area of the space, and the conductors,
splices, and taps shall not fill the wiring space at any cross
section to more than 75 percent of the cross-sectional area
of that space.

(B) Splices. Conductors shall be spliced or joined with splicing devices identified for the use or by brazing, welding, or soldering with a fusible metal or alloy. Soldered splices shall first be spliced or joined so as to be mechanically and electrically secure without solder and then be soldered. All splices and joints and the free ends of conductors shall be covered with an insulation equivalent to that of the conductors or with an insulating device identified for the purpose.

Oh most certainly T-Man…and I would list anytime you see a jointed method as I explained above…since you are not physically going to know what is exactly controlled in this setup it is most certainly something you should make note of…let the Electrician sort it out.

I will say however…most electricians when they see it will know what it is…not what is controls…but what it is…and will know it was done because of no breaker space left in the panel…we have no problems figuring that part out…lol:mrgreen:

Joey…No problem fella…we got it back on track…YOU jump in anytime their fella…:slight_smile:

For the purposes of this discussion assume that the total load of the two wires falls within the breaker’s rating.


How is this different from one wire going from the breaker to a junction box just outside the panel and branching off to multiple circuits?

Yup! But it wouldn’t be the first time :wink:

Yes, we are talking about doing just that and then putting under the clamping screw of a breaker. Again, assume that the total load of the two wires falls within the breaker’s rating.

What is the underlying reason that double taps are a no no? My understanding is that even with the same guage wires, it is possible that the clamping pressure may not be equal. This may be from very slight difference in the manufactured wire diameter even though they are the same guage, orientation of the wire under the clamp, thermal differences due to load demands, etc. At any rate, if the clamping pressure is not equal on both wires the wire with less clamping force could come loose. Stranded wire does not have this problem because all the stands are bundled together with the insulation.

So if the two wires were soldered together, there is no chance of one coming loose without the other.

Would this be any different than stripping the insulation off in the middle of the wire, bending it over in two making a “U” and putting that under the clamping screw of the breaker? The ends of the U pigtail off the circuits.

If it wrong, WHY? Please not just “It wrong”

Hey Paul,

I can tell you this the main reason it is not allowed is because the code says the breaker must be installed in the manner the manufacturer intended it to be installed. Only certain breakers are listed for (2) conductors as stated above.

You will get alot of people saying…“BUT IT HAS WORKED FOR 40 YEARS WITH NO PROBLEM” as I hear it all the time…but tomorrow it may not and if something happens and the OCPD is connected or installed against the manufacturers listed requirements their will be issues.

Making a U shaped wrap around on the breaker terminal would also be considered not acceptacle because the NEC states the method for wrapping a wire around a terminal point or set-screw…I will come back and post the articles later if you wish…I am not in the office…but you have to remember most OCPD inserts are straight in and indented to accept the AWG size…not designed to wrap around the terminal.

As for the solder joints…thats fine…make the joint up by twisting…I personally feel that is mechanically held in my opinion…and then solder it and wrap it correctly…it is just like a wirenut to me…

I do know of some AHJ’s who do not accept soldered joints on anything…which I have to tell you I used to solder EVERY joint and never used a single wirenut…I like soldered joints myself…but it is old school and has to be done right…

In my area for example only (2) counties will allowed soldered joints now…so rather than hassle it…we just use wirenuts 100% of the time now…really depends on how your AHJ looks at soldered joints…