Trying to organize the electrical box, help


Old 02-20-06, 11:03 AM
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Trying to organize the electrical box, help

My wife and I yesterday went through the electrical box to correctly label each circuit. The electrician that wired the house only labels a couple of them. We found out what each circuit is except for one, it's a 15-amp circuit. We've tested every light plug inside the house and outside, all appliances, you name it if it has power we've tried it. Can't seem to find what is goes to. Do you think the electrician would put a circuit breaker in the box if it didn't hook up to anything? The reason I want to know what every breaker is for is because last time I was tiling the backsplash, I shut off what was labeled kitchen and I got zapped by an electrical outlet and found there was another breaker for the kitchen. I don't want that to happen again. One thing that the electrician did was hook up a light switch in the hallway for a future lamp post if we wanted it, but I can see the box in the basement and the wires just end. And tips for trying to find out what this if for is much appreciated.
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Old 02-20-06, 11:35 AM
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It is good that you are doing this. Of course, as you have admitted, it should have been done earlier. But better late than never.

You can (if you feel up to it) remove the cover of the circuit breaker panel and see if the breaker has a wire tied to it. You can then (if the wiring is exposed in the basement) attempt to follow the wire. If you do this, be careful. I suggest turning off the main breaker before you remove the cover. Even then, be careful.

You can also turn the circuit breaker off. If it's in use then you will eventually find that something doesn't work. It probably not something you use all the time, or you would have found it when you mapped the other circuits.
Old 02-20-06, 02:11 PM
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Do you have a water heater which has electronic ignition and/or a blower on top. I noted that mine is a dedicated 15 amp breaker. If you weren't using hot water at the time you checked the circuits, this would be easy to miss.
Old 02-20-06, 02:25 PM
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Here are some ideas: hard-wired smoke detectors, sump pump, water softener or attic fan. It could be something seasonal too that you wouldn't check in the winter; maybe an outdoor receptacle.
Old 02-20-06, 07:41 PM
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Another thing to check is for a single clock outlet.
Old 02-21-06, 06:31 AM
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I removed the box and the #12 breaker has a red wire that is coupled with a black wire from the next circuit down #14 and they are both labeled dishwasher. #12 has been off now for a while and dishwasher runs fine. #14 turns off dishwasher.

Maybe they have an extra box behind the dishwasher for a garbage disposal, who knows. Also there was a plate in the kitchen for an outlet that was not placed in the best spot. It was half behind the stove so it was unusable and the electrician had a blank plate over it. When we tiled the backsplash we tiled over that outlet. Could that have been the single clock outlet?

The hot water heater doesn't have an electricity to it. No attic fan, no sump pump. Did check all the plugs outside, smoke detectors are into the main switch, the electrician said they don't want you to be able to shut them off.
Old 02-21-06, 07:16 AM
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It is likely that the box you tiled over is the other end of the wire on this breaker.

You made a mistake when you tiled over the box in the kitchen. It is against code to do so if the wires in the box are live.

My recommendation, and you aren't going to like it, is to remove the tile and uncover the box. You can then determine if the unused breaker does indeed power this box by checking the wires. If you determine that it does power the box, you can remove the wires from the panel and cut out as much of the wire as possible (whatever is visible in the basement), and then you can reinstall the tile.
Old 02-21-06, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by nicole12
smoke detectors are into the main switch - the electrician said they don't want you to be able to shut them off.
What is the main switch?
Surely he meant the circuit that supplies the living room lights, hall lights, or something like that.
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