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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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UAW SKILLED TRADES
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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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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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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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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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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