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Old 12-03-2009, 03:27 PM   #16
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


It is a black and white and bare copper ground.

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Old 12-03-2009, 03:44 PM   #17
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


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It is a black and white and bare copper ground.
One of each? If so, you have some hunting to do.
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:36 PM   #18
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


You might look in your circuit breaker box to see if you have a white wire attached to one of the breakers. The white wire should never be attached to a breaker. The white is a neutral and should only be attached to the neutral bus bar which is sometimes used for the ground wires also.
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:53 PM   #19
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


Wires to breaker are red and black- I have checked both lugs on the spacesaver breaker and they are indeed both hot if only one is off so you must be right that there is a back feed. I also tried the lugs with no wires on them and it works as it should, so it is not a faulty breaker.
Now i have to try to find where these wires could be joined.
Thanks for all the help.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:13 PM   #20
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


You might check the voltage of each wire at the wall socket. I had a similar problem which was determined to be "phantom" voltage. One wire read 110V and the other was about 75V when it was turned off at the circuit breaker. The two circuits were wired next to each other on wafer, or space saver type breakers. The fix was to span both breaker switches like a 220 volt breaker so that when you turn off one the other would also be turned off.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:53 PM   #21
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


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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.
This is what you are going to have to do. This was probably a multiwire branch circuit at one time that has been screwed up (as ScubaDave pointed out). With both breakers off, determine what other outlets are off and start looking for the red wire.... most likely the red and black are on the same receptacle somewhere in the kitchen. Post back on what you find.

Sluggermike: this problem does not have anything to do with phantom voltage.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:32 PM   #22
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


Yup. Someone probably tied two circuits together somewhere and the ended up on the same phase. It may have been that way since it was built. I've seen it more than once

You need to

A) disconnect one wire and clearly lable it as "backfed from circuit # whatever"

B) map out the circuits and start taking stuff apart, find out where the cross up is and disconnect/label it.



EDIT. OK. Forget that....new info.

Quote:
Wires to breaker are red and black-
Find the "homerun" jbox (the first box after the panel). The circuits are probably tied together there. Split them up and put the red/black on different phases!! (not on one tandem breaker)

Last edited by 220/221; 12-03-2009 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:35 PM   #23
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


I believe from my limited experience that 220/221 is on the right track in that they are on the same phase which could cause the problem using the space saver type breakers.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:55 PM   #24
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


It does sure sounds like a double fed circuit. I almost did it myself when removing and changing a large circuit in my basement. This can get really confusing to troubleshoot especially with closed walls. Start to determine what goes off when both breakers are off, and check at each device. Could be at a light fixture or something where two blacks are together and should not be.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:43 PM   #25
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


Problem solved- when I switched both breakers off I found that all outlets in
kitchen were off. I proceeded to remove every duplex form the wall and check them. They all were split wired red /black. The very last outlet in the kitchen was the one without the tab removed. I broke the tab off and now everything is as it should be. This 40 year old problem is now gone! I will still run a new 15 amp dedicated circuit for the fridge.
Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:22 PM   #26
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


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Problem solved- when I switched both breakers off I found that all outlets in
kitchen were off. I proceeded to remove every duplex form the wall and check them. They all were split wired red /black. The very last outlet in the kitchen was the one without the tab removed. I broke the tab off and now everything is as it should be. This 40 year old problem is now gone! I will still run a new 15 amp dedicated circuit for the fridge.
Thanks again for all the help.
Not quite done yet... you need to now remove the tandem "space saver" breaker and replace it with a double pole breaker (this may require rearranging the other breakers), placing the red on one screw and the black on the other. This will put each wire on opposite legs of the service. If you do not do this, you will be overloading the neutral to as much as twice the existing breaker rating.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:32 PM   #27
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


I can do that- so what do I do about the circuit near the sink that has to be changed to a gfci? Should I just use one leg of the circuit and cap off the other?
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:57 PM   #28
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


You can not use a split wired receptacle on a GFCI. You can leave it as grandfathered or replace it witha 20 amp ciruit or buy a double pole gfci breaker.

Are you from Canada? This sounds like Canadian kitchen wiring. I don't think they ever used this in NEC code.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:07 PM   #29
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


I am in Rochester, NY. I was saying for just the 2 outlets near the sink I could install a GFCI on just, say, the red wire and not make it a split receptacle for those two. When you say to replace it with a 20 amp circuit do you mean to make it a single 20 amp circuit and just not use the red wire?
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:19 PM   #30
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Why do I have to turn 2 breakers off to cut power to fridge?


Problem #1 is both circuits on the same leg
Simple explanation:
Normal - each hot "cancels" each other & very little current flows on the neutral
IE 14a on circuit 1, 10a on circuit 2 = netral carries difference = 4a

In your case - wired to the same leg they ADD
So 14a on circuit 1 & 10a on circuit 2 = 24a on the neutral
This is really bad...IF each circuit carries close to 20a then then neutral will be carrying close to 40a & could start a fire

I'd look at a double pole 20a GFCI breaker - could be $60
But better then a fire

2nd option (to me) would be rewire as 2 seperate circuits without a shared neutral
This depends upon access to rewire

Moving the fridge to a dedicated circuit is a good idea

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