Three wire to two outlets

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  #1  
Old 07-30-07, 09:31 PM
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Three wire to two outlets

I am attempting to complete the basement work that was started by the previous owner. I ran across some wiring where a three conductor wire leads to a junction box attached to a ceiling joist. Leading from the box are two separate two conductor wires, each going to a separate dual receptacle outlet. One outlet has its black connected to the red wire and the other outlet has its black connected to the black of the three conductor wire. All three wires have their neutral tied together as are the ground wires.

My question is, I want to remove one of the outlets entirely. Can I just cap the red wire and tuck it back into the junction box? Is this to code? I will be using suspended ceiling so the box will be accessible.

Thanks,
Ed
 
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  #2  
Old 07-31-07, 04:24 AM
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This is a multi-wire circuit. You (hopefully) should have noticed at the main panel that either a 240 volt circuit breaker was used and/or that the panel legend was clearly marked to indicate that a multi-wire circuit was present.

Yes, you can safely abandon one of these circuits by capping the unused hot wire.

But I will ask why? I strongly suggest that the lights be on a separate circuit from the receptacles, and that you have enough power available for your needs and then some. It seems to me that having two circuits available would be a good thing.
 
  #3  
Old 07-31-07, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
This is a multi-wire circuit. You (hopefully) should have noticed at the main panel that either a 240 volt circuit breaker was used and/or that the panel legend was clearly marked to indicate that a multi-wire circuit was present.
I'm an electrical newbie, so I was only able to trace the wire to where it entered the panel.


Originally Posted by racraft View Post
But I will ask why? I strongly suggest that the lights be on a separate circuit from the receptacles, and that you have enough power available for your needs and then some. It seems to me that having two circuits available would be a good thing.
I'm not sure what the previous guy was doing, but both lines went to outlets. No lights are on this particular circuit (as far as I can tell). Moreover, removing the second circuit is for aesthetic purposes. This receptacle is mounted about 5 feet off the floor and the romex is looped several times by a twist tie and hanging beside the ceiling beam!
 
  #4  
Old 07-31-07, 02:19 PM
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I can understand your not wanting to open the panel, but surely you already know the details about the circuit breaker.

My advice remains as I said earlier. Use BOTH portions of this circuit so that you have twice the power available for basement receptacles. Eventually you will regret your decision if you don't.
 
  #5  
Old 07-31-07, 02:44 PM
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Dependingon the size of the basement, builders are usually required by code to install one or two circuits to serve it. This is very often done by a multiwire circuit to a box in the ceiling, exactly as you have. I would guess that this much was provided by the builder. The previous homeowner just added onto it, correctly it appears.

As long as the junction box is still accessible, you can cap the red wire and push it back into the covered box if you want. You can always change your mind later.

But I'm with Bob when he wonders why you would want to not use half of your available power. Everybody needs more power.
 
  #6  
Old 08-01-07, 12:02 AM
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Thanks for the clarification and recommendation, all. I will see what I can do about making things neater.

Ed
 
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