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-   -   Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/why-do-i-have-turn-2-breakers-off-cut-power-fridge-58397/)

bonsainorm 12-02-2009 11:54 PM

Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?
 
I need to move my fridge to the other side of the kitchen and went to cut
power to it and found I have to turn both breakers on a space-saver type
Murray-Siemens breaker for it to go off. Is it wired wrong or is something
broken? House was built in 1969 so wiring is all romex. Circuit is a 20
amp but I will put in a 15 amp if I have to run a new dedicated line. I hope
someone has some ideas.

300zx 12-03-2009 12:09 AM

What kind of voltage tester are you testing with ? Is it a non- contact voltage tester ? If so i would say it's phantom voltage.

bonsainorm 12-03-2009 12:20 AM

Fridge is 120 volt, it is plugged in and running but if I switch either of the two (space saver) breakers off it stays running. If I turn them them both off then it will finally shut off. I have not put a meter on anything.

kbsparky 12-03-2009 04:19 AM

You could have a double-fed circuit there, with both circuits connected to the same tandem-type breaker. Can you take a close-up photo of your panel with the cover removed, showing this breaker, and the wire(s) connected to it?

What else besides the fridge goes off when you turn these breakers off?

sluggermike 12-03-2009 04:43 AM

I also suspect that you have phantom voltage. You could go to Harbor Freight and get a cheap voltage meter for about $5. If your are running two hots to the wall plug you would be getting 220 volts--110 from each side.

HouseHelper 12-03-2009 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sluggermike (Post 360528)
I also suspect that you have phantom voltage. You could go to Harbor Freight and get a cheap voltage meter for about $5. If your are running two hots to the wall plug you would be getting 220 volts--110 from each side.

Phantom voltage would not make the refrigerator keep running. He has the two circuits crossed somewhere.

Scuba_Dave 12-03-2009 08:15 AM

Messed up MWBC (multi wire branch circuit) ?

jerryh3 12-03-2009 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave (Post 360574)
Messed up MWBC (multi wire branch circuit) ?

A non-broken tab?

joed 12-03-2009 09:53 AM

You have two circuits cross connected somewhere.

bonsainorm 12-03-2009 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sluggermike (Post 360528)
I also suspect that you have phantom voltage. You could go to Harbor Freight and get a cheap voltage meter for about $5. If your are running two hots to the wall plug you would be getting 220 volts--110 from each side.

I checked the wall outlet and it's 110 volts only. I pulled the panel box cover and see there is only one wire under each breaker screw. I could try a picture but I don't think the problem is in the panel box.

jerryh3 12-03-2009 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonsainorm (Post 360636)
I checked the wall outlet and it's 110 volts only. I pulled the panel box cover and see there is only one wire under each breaker screw. I could try a picture but I don't think the problem is in the panel box.

Take the cover off of the outlet and see how many wires(and colors) are connected to the receptacle.

bonsainorm 12-03-2009 10:55 AM

I checked w/a contact meter for the 110 volt and there are only 2 wires coming into the box.

jogr 12-03-2009 12:18 PM

You're going to need to trace the hot wires coming from both breakers and somewhere you'll find them connected either directly or by both being connected to a common device.

sluggermike 12-03-2009 01:11 PM

Just for curiosity sake, what are the colors of the wires going into the box? Is it a black and white and one ground, or is it two blacks or a black and a red? If it is two black or a black and a red, you have two circuits. It should be a black and white and one ground.

Stubbie 12-03-2009 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bonsainorm (Post 360646)
I checked w/a contact meter for the 110 volt and there are only 2 wires coming into the box.

Then you have two circuits tied together. If you are still uncertain and want proof then turn one breaker off and test its load lug to ground or neutral. It will be hot because it is being backfed from the other breaker that is tied to the circuit. If you are uncomfortable inside the breaker panel then I wouldn't do this. It is only suggested as a proving method that you have crossed circuits. You have eliminated all other possibilities with your testing and only two wires in the box. But it may give you peace of mind....:)


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