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Old 03-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #1
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Puzzle... can you solve?


I need to install a new 20A circuit. My 200A panel seems quite full. Here is a picture


Rotate head to your left

At the bottom left, there is an unused 50A breaker, taking up 2 spaces. Can I use that, or should I leave that alone? What is it even there for? A subpanel?

Next question:
I have 2 switches in the walls at separate locations that SEEM to serve no purpose, though they are wired. They don't SEEM to control anything. Here are the pictures:

Sorry all pictures at the bottom - having trouble spacing our my post correctly. Anyways..

The first picture, the switch on the right controls a ceiling fan. The removed one does .......?

The second picture, same thing, except switch controls hallway lights (1 of 3 switches that control those lights). Removed switch does.....?

I have 1 - 15A breaker (bottom right of panel) that has 12/2 connected to it, and goes .... somewhere..... but for the love of God I have no idea what it does if anything. House panel labeled poorly (by others). I was thinking maybe it had something to do with those mystery switches, but I couldn't get any reading with my MultiMeter on the 2 mystery switches (not sure if I even am using it correctly however).

Any ideas? Any help at all would be wonderful!





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Old 03-10-2013, 03:40 PM   #2
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I can tell you you should not have the Square D breakers in the GE panel.

The first switch is a 3 way.

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Old 03-10-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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Yes I see the different breakers in the panel now. Ok, that must have been done by the previous owner.. Thanks for pointing that out.

The first switch only controls a ceiling fan. The one hanging out is a mystery....

Thanks..
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Does your ceiling fan have lights on it ?
If not, the switches might be a 3 way set up to control lights on a previous ceiling fan.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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If the 50a breaker is not connected to anything you can pull it out and put in your 20a. May have been for a subpanel, welder, stove....

Your extra switch could be for a light in the fan. Just a wild guess.

Turn the mystery breaker off and eventually you may find something doesn't work. It took me 10 years to figure out that a mystery switch controlled an outlet I never used.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
Does your ceiling fan have lights on it ?
If not, the switches might be a 3 way set up to control lights on a previous ceiling fan.

Hmmm.
No lights on the ceiling fan, and I believe the fan is original with the house, built in 2001.
Very basic, white, plain jane fan. Don't think previous/original owner picked that out and put it there, 15 feet in the living room.... pretty sure its original.

Thanks for the reply...like I said, its a mystery!
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
If the 50a breaker is not connected to anything you can pull it out and put in your 20a. May have been for a subpanel, welder, stove....

Your extra switch could be for a light in the fan. Just a wild guess.

Turn the mystery breaker off and eventually you may find something doesn't work. It took me 10 years to figure out that a mystery switch controlled an outlet I never used.

I think I will do that...
I was just hoping to USE it for the new circuit and not take up the 50A spot just yet if I didn't have to. But I'll definitely turn it off for now...

Thanks for your reply!
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Keep in mind that if you remove that double-pole 50 amp breaker to install your 20 amp circuit, you will need to buy a blank filler plate to fill in the blank space in the panel left by one of the breakers.

It is quite likely your "mystery switches" are for an optional light on the fan. I see it done frequently.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:42 PM   #9
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The mistery switches what it is there that is common used for lights with the ceiling fans and I have done that pretty often.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle_in_rure View Post
Keep in mind that if you remove that double-pole 50 amp breaker to install your 20 amp circuit, you will need to buy a blank filler plate to fill in the blank space in the panel left by one of the breakers.

It is quite likely your "mystery switches" are for an optional light on the fan. I see it done frequently.

I can see that as a possibility for the one switch like that, but there are 2 like that. And the other has no ceiling fan on that circuit, just lights (hallway, controlled by 3 total switches... The mystery switch in this case is in the same box as one of the switches that control these hallway can lights).

Thanks for the electric panel guidance and your advice!
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rxotik View Post
The first picture, the switch on the right controls a ceiling fan. The removed one does .......?

The second picture, same thing, except switch controls hallway lights (1 of 3 switches that control those lights). Removed switch does.....?
What switch on the right? I only see switches on top and bottom. Cant you go back and rotate your photos so they are in the correct orientation. At least the one of the panel.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:53 PM   #12
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Any other lights in the rooms with the mystery switches? If not they could be for switched receptacles
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dierte View Post
Any other lights in the rooms with the mystery switches? If not they could be for switched receptacles

I've checked for switched receptacles. No luck, all receptacles powered regardless of the position of the switch..

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
What switch on the right? I only see switches on top and bottom. Cant you go back and rotate your photos so they are in the correct orientation. At least the one of the panel.
Sorry,

I can't seem to get the photos the right orientation....
Turn head to the left

Or turn computer monitor to set on its right side!
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #15
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Pull the 50A....put in two 20a breakers...that way you have a spare breaker.

Have you pulled down the ceiling lights/fans to see if there is a spare wire tucked into them?

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