Terminating one hot from a MWBC

civ_IV_fanFebruary 10, 2014

My main electrical panel is full.

I found one breaker that controlled seemingly nothing.

Turns out it was one of the two hots in a multi-wire branch circuit -- it was the red wire. I located the red wire capped and unused in a utility room ceiling. The rest of the wire (black, white, green) is in use. Basically a 12/3 wire goes from the panel--with the red wire on one breaker and the black on a second breaker--to a junction box in the utility room -- at the junction box, the red wire is capped and the black, white, and ground move on to feed an upstairs bedroom.

Basically I want to abandon the red wire only. I see no future use for it and I want to free up that space in my circuit panel.

What I'm wondering is if I can cap the extra red wire in the main circuit panel or if I need to draw it out of the top of the circuit panel. The rest of the 12/3 wire is still in use.


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If space is needed in the panel, the red conductor can be disconnected and single pole breaker installed for the black only. Depending on the code in your area, the new breaker may be required to be AFCI.
I strongly urge that the red not be cut off or removed as it might be useful in the future. Tape the end to prevent contact with live power and tuck it back out of the way.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:06PM
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thanks! I was thinking maybe there was some kind of code issue with having abandoned wires in the electrical box. I have room to tape, cap and tuck it out of the away. I will do that.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:36PM
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