Were double-taps ever "legal"?

I was just wondering if double-taps were ever within the rules of the NEC. The reason I’m asking is that I, like every good home inspector, call out any double-taps I find and recommend that they be further evaluated by a qualified electrician and/or repaired. Mostly, the double-taps are lighting circuits.

When the electrician checks it out, the feedback I get from the sellers and/or buyers falls into two categories:

  1. The electrician says that it definitely is a violation of the current NEC and should be changed immediately and offers to repair it, etc…

  2. The electrician says that it definitely is a violation of the current NEC, BUT says that since it is original wiring and was done under previous code regulations, it not required to be changed at this time. He does add that if the breaker, at some point, needs to be changed then the double-tap is required to be repaired. He, of course, recommends that it be repaired at this time but does not push the issue.

I, personally, have heard electricians say the same thing about GFCI receptacles in kitchens: they are not required to be changed unless the receptacle needs to be changed, then it must be replaced with a GFCI receptacle or a GFCI breaker installed. They do, of course recommend GFCI’s as a matter of safety.

I live in an area where aluminum wiring was used - Henry Kaiser development in the '70’s. I have heard the same argument regarding the wiring: it should be replaced with copper or properly spliced (Copalum) with copper pigtails, etc… However, it is not required to have every resident in the area do this.

My inspection reports always say I recommend further evaluation of double-taps, etc., by a qualified electrican, and that I recommend installation of GFCI equipment for safety. I do not say it is required to be repaired/replaced by code. Should I be saying that - or more correctly, CAN I be saying that.

Thanks for any replies!

Regardless of code, past - present - future, double taps are unsafe and should be called out, IMO.

Do not refer to code in your reports unless you want to be held accountable for any code violations that you may have missed.

Additionally, it is not unusual to have 3 AHJs looking at the same concern and not making the same ruling. A “violation” to one is okay to the next. You are safer to stay away from referencing it, altogether.

Some panels and breakers are made to take two same sized conductors (Square D for example). And since they are made for two condictors it is not considered as “double tap” or defect.

Good advice. I have not been quoting code of any sort just for that reason. In retrospect, I was probably asking the question more for my own understanding. I’m an electrical engineer by education - which in no way qualifies me as an electrician - and that engineering curiosity just has to be satisfied…:wink:

Yup, I know about the Square D breakers. I was wondering about a regular breaker with just the screw and no plate where double-tapping is clearly not within code regulations.

I would explain it to my customers just exactly like you did in your original post. Then I would still refer it (in my report) to a licensed electrician to make the final determination and if they decide not to correct it, recommend the buyers get that in writing for their records. You have then done your job and the homeowners have assumed the responsibility to going the extra step and you are out of the loop on the decision.

Double taps like these?

SUC50987 (Small).JPG SUC50990 (Small).JPG

This was in an old duplex I inspected yesterday, with all this they still only got 120V to the range upstairs, and left dangling HOT knob and tube in the crawl space.

I’d red flag the paint contamination of that panel and its overcurrent devices. That alone, would be good cause for me as an electrician to replace that panel.

Same problem exists with neutral wires


As Richard stated above … double lugging is a no no

I assume you know that you’re looking at a Federal Pacific Stab-lok Load Center? As Marc indicated, this is one that should be replaced. . .

FPE panel link;

Here is one from today, old sq D split bus that has been modified to a sub panel, there is no single disconnect in house. We won’t ever talk about what the attic wiring looked like. POS