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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it any wonder "electrical" is the most used thread on this forum! I live in Pa. and my house is approximately 100 yrs. old. I had an electrician install a 200A box back in 2007, when I bought the place, to accommodate a new stove, A/C, etc. All the wire throughout the house is romex. I believe the wiring was updated in the 70's. I just painted the LR and DR and now my wife wants different colored receps and switches to match the paint. I went to turn off the breakers to do this and found out that out of the 26 circuits we have, none of them turn off the LR receps. I looked everywhere for another box... there are none that I could find. What goes?
 

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Plug something in on the LR recept that you can either see or hear. Then start turning off breakers one at a time starting at the top of the panel and working downward until the circuit goes off. Note which breaker caused it to go off. Now turn all breakers back on and repeat the process but starting at the bottom this time. Again note which breaker causes the circuit to go off.

If those are two different breakers, then you have a problem that has been widely discussed here recently and I'll not waste time repeating what has already been covered. Post back when you have arrived at the point where you need that information and I or someone else will link you up or copy/paste it here..
 
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Surferdude2, you are 100% right. I must turn off two different breakers to turn power off to those receps. Excellent! What me do now?
Identify everything on those 2 breakers and start opening boxes to find where the 2 are cross connected.
 
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Turn both of them off. Remove the wire from one of them and also the white wire associated with it. Individually nut those two wires off for safety them out of the way. Mark that breaker as a spare. If you want to leave a note in the panel about this procedure, that would be a kindness to the next man.

That's the easiest solution. If you want to actually find where the wires are being double fed, it's a lot more work for likely no real reward. It will require taking the receptacles out and looking for the point where they are being dual fed. I wouldn't bother but it's your choice.
 

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Rather than taking everything apart, one easier way to separate the two feeds would be to estimate some point that you feel is the mid point of the loop and disconnect any feed-through wires from each other.

Using that method, you can leave everything as is in the panel, of course.
 

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Are the breakers connected to each other? This may be as simple as a multi wire branch circuit. If so no need to take anything apart.
 

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Keep in mind that any receptacle box you open on this loop or ring circuit will probably look the same as any other. Just go for the center as best you can determine and disconnect the feed-through wires. It doesn't matter if you aren't really at the center... no matter at all. The worse thing that could happen is that one circuit would have more receptacles than the other. Not a problem.

If you find that the above statements are not true and the isolation process I have described doesn't work, there is a possibility that another type of mistake was made in the wiring. That's not as likely but that is also correctable if you want to take the time and effort. Again, that will be your choice and not a safety issue. Let's wait and see if we need to resort to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Surferdude2, each of those feeds is on a 20A breaker. Does that mean there are 40amps powering that circuit. If so is it safe to leave it that way or should it definitely be on one breaker?
 

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Surferdude2, each of those feeds is on a 20A breaker. Does that mean there are 40amps powering that circuit. If so is it safe to leave it that way or should it definitely be on one breaker?
In theory, it isn't protected properly and could take 40 amps or more to trip the breakers. It's a parallel circuit, the likes of which the NEC doesn't allow at that current level and application.

Fix it one way or the other to be safely protected. I suggest separating them at the middle (leaving each side connected to its own breaker), if you are comfortable rewiring a receptacle as earlier outlined. If not, and you decide it's easier to do what was outlined at the panel to eliminate the dual feed (putting the entire circuit on one breaker), that's alright too.

It is not alright to leave it as is!
 
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Just so you and anyone later reading this thread understands clearly, let me make it clear that I iterated the possible fixes in their order of immediate importance and subsequently listed how to affect a complete fix.

Read the terms I carefully chose to use so you would understand that the initial fix was to get the circuit protection to a proper level. I said "I" (meaning you) wouldn't bother doing any further. That was to take the safest route for you since I didn't know your level of experience to go further on your own or be able to immediately call and pay for an electrician to fix it.

I next outlined one method of fixing it but you would have to decide if you were up to that based on your electrical knowledge and past experience.

Lastly, I indicated that it may even take more action than I had previously mentioned just to cover all bases so you could make a more informed decision.

Now, as Forrest Gump said, "That's all I've got to say about that." :smile: Just kidding.

Post back if you need any more help and by all means let us know how it goes.
 
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Now your cookin'. Test before putting it back together.

It it didn't deliver the correct results, put it back the way it was. Then decide if you would rather do the panel isolation thing or else take all those receptacles apart and search for the place where the wire have either been lumped together improperly in a j-box or where some feed my be looping to what should have been another circuit altogether.
 
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Are they next to each other top to bottom? Are the wires on the breaker black and red?
 
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