Thoughts on dual overcurrent devices

This is the first time I’ve seen this setup with all dual breakers installed. Is this a defect? The first point of disconnect :sunglasses: is outside at the meter. Looking for why or why not this should be called out. Thanks.

It’s fine. There are no “dual breakers” as you described. The service disconnect breaker does not have to be in the same box as the distribution breakers, and there is not a second service disconnect shown. There may be other issues; just looking at your question, that is not a defect.

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Thank you Nick, Is it correct to call them Tandem or mini overcurrent devices?

what are you referring too? the single breakers? they are not mini or tandem.

Sure thing, happy to help!

You might be over-thinking it. They’re not tandem or mini. You can think of it like a typical (what I see most often) panel where the service disconnect (Main Breaker) is in the same panel as the distribution breakers. In the pictures you have, it is simply the service disconnect (Main Breaker) in it’s own panel, and the distribution panel is separate, where all the individual circuits have their breakers. In my area, that is most commonly found in condominiums, apartments, and some duplexes/quads. There’s nothing wrong with that configuration and no defect having it setup that way. Hope that clears it up.

Ok , so these are slimline breakers, so far what I’m reading is that the slimline can be used to add more circuits but in doing so they share a neutral, may also be prone to overheating and may not be allowed in some juristictions. I commonly see a double stuff ( tandem ) here and there but I haven’t run across a panel full of slimline before, The panel looks like it’s rated for 24 poles maximum. So It may actually be OK? Looking for a bit of advice…

Is that a GE panel and breakers?

Hey Nick, sorry we’re posting at the same time…I’m not concerned with the service disconnect, I was thinking that they put too many breakers in the panel , they installed slimline "thin " breakers. At first I thought they were the tandem , double stuff, piggy back type. but they are all individual.

Yes all GE

Yes those are “twin” breakers (call them what you like). Standard GE CB’s are 1" wide, the single pole CB’s shown in the photo’s are 1/2" wide and two breakers are used in one full size slot.


Ah, I see. Sorry, I wasn’t paying that close attention to the distribution panel. I suppose it really comes down to what you are comfortable saying. We don’t inspect for code compliance, especially not for local codes as each AHJ has their own and they vary widely. In my narratives, and verbal description to clients when they are with me, I do not comment on codes. If I have knowledge of something that is a code violation or might be, I may verbalize that it may not meet a “current” code, but it may have at the time of construction. If they are concerned about it, they can seek further evaluation by a city/county inspector or in this case, possibly an electrician.
Otherwise, with your particular situation, I can’t definitively say there’s anything wrong. Mini breakers, are certainly ok IF the panel and breakers are compatible. If the panel and breakers had different manufacturers, I would call it out. If the panel isn’t rated for the breakers, I would call it out. The panel label should clearly specify the number and type of circuits it is designed for. If it’s missing, you could try looking it up by the panel model #. As long as the breakers and panel are compatible and it’s installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s label, I wouldn’t be concerned about it being overloaded but I would also recommend paying close attention to the conductor sizes and ratings on the breakers to make sure they are all sized appropriately.

Yep wire sizes etc was all good, And I’m with you on not calling codes, I just haven’t ever seen so many all at once and had an “I’m going to phone a friend moment”…Looks like they may be prone to overheating and neutral sharing… , I am recommending a Licensed electrician for some missing GFCI & ungrounded outlets in the home so he can verify the slimline breaker installation while he’s there… Thanks for everyone’s time & input, I’m just running on empty today and needed some confidence in what I was looking at…Cheers!

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I agree with your call. Breakers don’t touch neutrals (at least they’re not supposed to!), but if the neutral conductors were sharing lugs, that is a defect and should be called out. When in doubt, you’re never wrong to recommend further evaluation by a properly licensed professional in that field. I would just try not to do it too much as it may appear to some clients that you are recommending someone else come behind you and inspect everything again. (That’s a bit extreme, but I have seen some inspection reports that recommend further evaluation so many times it made me wonder if the inspector actually knew anything at all, or if they were just being lazy.)
In your situation, I think you are definitely making the correct call. Rest and relax!

The tandem breakers do not share a neutral, they still serve individual circuits, with only the hot conductor attached to the breaker. The neutrals still terminate individually on the bus bar, like any other circuit…
The main problem just comes down to overloading the panel, if it is not rated for that many breakers. I believe they also have a rating for the amount of tandems allowed. (if at all)

Look for this label in the cabinet and you will be fine, if followed:


GE twin breakers can be used for 240V circuits due to the way they are designed & one has to look carefully at how a GE panel was wired before calling out for a possible neutral problem. Now obsolete Challenger, & Crouse-Hinds, panels had the same ability, to get 240V in a Siemens, SQ D Homeline, or Eaton BR, requires a quad breaker, & improper wiring of a twin in those panels could result in a overloaded neutral, SQ D QO, & Eaton, formerly Cutler-Hammer, CH, do not have a quad, & type CH twins are only allowed in a limited number of panels, the vast majority of CH loadcenters were never listed to accept them, but will plug in anywhere.