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How can I have power to receptacles and lights when breakers are OFF?

How can I have power to receptacles and lights when breakers are OFF?


Old 09-26-11, 06:49 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1
How can I have power to receptacles and lights when breakers are OFF?

I have brought power from garage to basement subpanel. After wiring the subpanel and breakers still in off position I realized that there is power to the receptacles and lighting. I admit that I have not looked very hard yet for the reason (this happened today before I went to work). I assume that I have common in the wrong place. Thought I would see if anyone had some ideas or advice on something I overlooked that would save me some time. Thanks.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:23 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,259
You have something connected where either it shouldn't be or you don't think it should be.

It's hard to really give you any troubleshooting info since there's really not much info there.

You can either trace the wiring back to where it started, or start by turning off each breaker in your main to see what circuit is actually powering what you're having trouble with.

Be careful though, if some hots got crossed, you could have a live wire where you don't expect!
Old 09-26-11, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,391
Did you use three black conductors for your two hots and neutral? If so, if you inadvertently ran your neutral to one of the main lugs, you probably also have a hot conductor to your neutral bus which would send power out through the branch circuit neutral conductors to all receptacles and lights without having any breakers turned on. This wouldn't be too hard to do accidentally if the conductors weren't marked before they were pulled and terminated. This is just a guess, let us know what you find.
Old 09-27-11, 05:58 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,594
I think you may have one cause for the backfeed CJ.

This sounds like a possibly very unsafe condition and needs to be fixed. How many conductors are in the feeder supplying the subpanel?
Old 09-27-11, 07:16 AM
belgarid's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 144
Does the subpanel have a main breaker? If so, is the breaker off and you still have power? Did you try turning the breaker off in the main panel that feeds the sub-panel? Do you still have power with the breaker in the main panel turned off?

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