What's this cage around the breaker?

anniel89May 21, 2014


Can anyone tell me why this cage is around the breaker in this picture?

It's the breaker for my furnace.

I have a 15 amp tandem breaker with an open spot. I would like to put the furnace on that to free up the space but I don't know why the cage is there?

If the cage is necessary, can I move the existing breaker (and cage) up to the top of the panel where tandems are not allowed? This would free up the space where it currently resides for a tandem.


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It's so a lock can be put on it to lock it on or off.

YES, the breaker can still trip if it is locked on.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:20PM
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Ron Natalie

Yes, it's a lock out. Usually it is done when that breaker is the maintenance disconnect for some piece of equipment but it is not "in sight of" the equipment it is controlling. I've got one in my townhouse because this county thinks the wall ovens need one (the other big loads like the water heater, furnace, A/C compressor, all have disconnects located right at them).

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 7:32AM
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Thanks. I called my inspector and he told me it was not necessary. He couldn't figure out why the lock was there in the first place on the furnace.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 5:24PM
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Ron Natalie

If your furnace doesn't have another disconnect and you can't see this breaker from the where you work on the furnace, then it needs to have a lockout provision.

Otherwise, it's spurious/

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Yep, that was it. Turns out there is no shut off at the furnace (I never even noticed!). Seems weird that they didn't install one.

I put the furnace on the tandem circuit and I'm just going to put the lock on there too.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Ron Natalie

Or just put a switch or pull-out disconnect at the furnace. Despite what the code permits, I like to be able to see my disconnect when I'm working on things.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:11PM
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Does not the furnace require its own dedicated breaker?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:00PM
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It's on a dedicated breaker, just a tandem now instead of a solo.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:18PM
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