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I just upgraded another 2-prong circuit in our 1960's built house to 3-prong. At the first receptacle in each upgraded circuit I've been installing GFCI/AFI receptacles to provide protection downstream. Pretty straightforward with no issues. This is the fourth circuit I've upgraded in the house, but this time I encountered a situation that I've never run across before.

There are 7 receptacles on this particular circuit, along with 4 or 5 light switches, spread across two rooms and one hallway. In the process of locating the first outlet in the circuit I followed the same procedure as always: I turn off power at the panel, disconnect all the hot wires from each receptacle, turn the power back on, then test each hot wire with a circuit tester to determine which one is getting the power from the panel. That's where the new GFCI will be installed. Again, pretty straightforward.

However, when I followed this same process yesterday, two different hot wires at two different receptacles activated the circuit tester. One was a receptacle in the den and the other was in a receptacle in a nearby bedroom. I've never seen this happen before and cannot figure out why this would happen. The first hot lead was in the den. After identifying this one, I decided to go ahead and use the tester on the remaining outlets as well. This is when the tester lit up on a hot wire in one of the bedrom receptacles.

At first I thought maybe the bedroom receptacle was split, with power coming from another circuit on one half of the outlet. However, the tab was in place. And only the top hot wire at this outlet indicated hot, the bottom wire did not. When testing all the receptacles before starting this project I know everything is on the same circuit.

Any explanation as to why two different hot wires on the same circuit would show hot coming from the panel. Especially when each is located in a separate room? Now I am confused as to which receptacle I should install the new GFCI since I am not sure which receptacles are or are not "downstream."

Thanks for anyone's input. I've attached a small drawing for clarification.


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