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Common Neutral questions

Posted by Alexander on July 30th, 1998 12:57 PM

For some reason, the one electrical outlet in my basement is wired with 14/3 (2 separate 15A breakers at the panel) and not connected to anything else. I am in the planning stage for finishing my basement, and I would like to run two duplex outlet circuits from this box. If I were to do this, both circuits would have to share the neutral.

For the purposes of load calculations, do I have one or two 15A circuits? In theory, it would seem that the neutral has to "carry" the load of both circuits back to the panel. The neutral wire is 14 gauge and thus rated at 15A. This leads me to believe that I can only really have a total load of 15A for both circuits.

If this is actually the case, then why would the builder (house is 2 years old) have brought 14/3 down to this outlet and essentially wasted a breaker at the panel? If the reality is somewhere in between, how many outlets can be wired with a common neutral?

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