Can't turn off power to dishwasher

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  #1  
Old 08-03-07, 07:23 PM
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Can't turn off power to dishwasher

I started to uninstall my dishwasher in preparation of installing a new one.

I'm having trouble with step 1: turning off the power to the dishwasher!

I've already removed the wire nuts to the black and white wires under the dishwasher.

I live in a condo unit, and the fuse panel is in our garage. No matter what breaker I switch to "off," the copper wire (in black insulation) to the dishwasher is still "live" (according to my cheap circuit tester, and according to my hand at one point - ouch).

So far, I've turned to "off" breakers labeled "dishwasher," "kitchen," "kitchen," "garbage disposal," and "laundry." Even with the garbage disposal one switched to off, I can still run the garbage disposal. Am I a complete idiot or am I missing something obvious?

Also, my circuit tester lights up when if I put my finger on it while putting another finger over a small metal piece on the end. I assume this is supposed to happen? When I test the wire, should I cover up this metal piece with a finger? My cicruit test is just like this one: http://www.awsperry.com/sperry/catalog?item=st-401a

Thanks for any help.

Kurt
 
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  #2  
Old 08-03-07, 07:32 PM
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First you are using the wrong "tool" for the job. Second do you own the condo or lease? If you don't own it you can't do electrical work. If you own maybe you can do your own work but if the units or connected by a shared wall not so sure.

You need to get an analog (not digital) multitester or a simple neon test light. You also may want to pick up a basic book on home wiring before you go any further.
 
  #3  
Old 08-04-07, 12:21 AM
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Condo's huh? Turn off all breakers and see what happens first.If your condo is joined to another, I bet that dishwasher is being fed from your neighbors' panel. There's nothing wrong with using a voltage tester to warn you of a prescence of voltage at any amount..Hell I wouldn't care if a monkey jumped out the cabinet and told its on, believe it. A lot of condo's kitchen's are back to back and circuits are easily misplaced this shouldn't happen but it does. Have this corrected. You're reading continuity through your fingers.
 
  #4  
Old 08-04-07, 06:28 AM
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If you really and truly have turned off your circuit breakers, then I bet that your neighbor is paying for you to wash dishes and grind food. Make sure that you do not have any further panels.

If your neighbor is paying for your electricity then you and he need to sort this out, probably with the aid of an electrician.

Do NOT work on this or any circuit live.
 
  #5  
Old 08-04-07, 10:23 AM
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

I've narrowed down the problem a bit more. It seems that many of the breakers (in the fuse box) are not properly labeled. For example:

- If I turn the breaker labeled "garbage disposal" to off, the power in the garage goes out and the garbage disposal stays on.

- If I turn the breaker labeled "upstairs lighting" to off, the power goes off to most of the living room AND the garbage disposal (which is in the kitchen, adjacent to the living room). (Maybe the dishwasher goes off, too?) BUT, the kitchen ceiling light and other outlets in the kitchen remain on.

This will take some time to properly relabel everything. The condo is about 20 years old. Is this kind of mislabeling and seemingly random wiring pattern common? Perhaps the condo was wired by someone who was wired at the time.

And I do own the condo, am allowed to do wiring, and the condo has adjacent units (above and to one side). The dishwasher wall, though, is not connected to a shared wall. I will also go out and a buy an analog multitester.

Kurt
 
  #6  
Old 08-04-07, 12:27 PM
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Carefully read your OP, and this jumped out at me:

You said you switched off every breaker. But you did not say that you had every breaker off at the same time. (Have you tried that?, or turned off the main?, to see if it goes off then?) IF - it goes out then, then what you might have is that someone junctioned a wire from one circuit to 2 separate breakers. You then can have happen what you are experiencing.
 
  #7  
Old 08-04-07, 12:45 PM
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It is quite common for breakers to be mislabeled or even not labeled at all.

Never ever trust the labeling unless you yourself have done the labeling and the mapping.

Let me repeat that. Never ever trust the labeling unless you yourself have done the labeling and the mapping.

Even if the house is brand new, do not trust the labeling. Whenever you move into a house apartment, condo, whatever, you need to completely and thoroughly map out what is on each and every circuit.

There are many reason that the labeling may be wrong or missing. It may never have been done in the first place, or it circuits may have been added or changed. Unfortunately very few electricians and others working on the wiring take the time to properly label the circuits (and it does take time) and the legends provided are usually never large enough for all the labeling that would be needed anyway.

Whenever you move into a house apartment, condo, whatever, you need to completely and thoroughly map out what is on each and every circuit. THe goal is that know everything that is on each circuit and also that you can quickly and effectively turn off the right breaker.

When a problem occurs on a circuit you want to know, without any doubts and without any guessing, EVERYTHING on the circuit that is having the trouble. Furthermore, under the right circumstances the information could save your life.

Ideally within a short time of moving in you want to take the time to do this necessary mapping. Once you start setting up your own electrical equipment and using it, you may cause a problem that requires this information.
 
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