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Issue with moving 20 AMP GFCI outlet possibly on 2 breakers

Issue with moving 20 AMP GFCI outlet possibly on 2 breakers


Old 06-23-13, 01:00 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Issue with moving 20 AMP GFCI outlet possibly on 2 breakers

Hi, I'm brand new to this forum (joined to ask the question).

We've recently moved into a 1978 tri-level on Bainbridge Island in Washington State that was a foreclosure. The house is a mess of very poorly done DIY. My husband and I are pretty experienced DIY-ers, but this current issue has me a bit confused, I COULD take hours and hours of research and figure it out myself, but the kids are sleeping and I'm on a race against time... ANYHOO....

The previous owners had installed a whirlpool tub which we just removed leaving behind two gfci outlets (supposedly on 2 20 AMP breakers) piggybacked to one another, one of which had no power even though no breakers were tripped. Today I disconnected the two outlets in order to move the working one (at least) to the wall (instead of it sticking out of a hole in the middle of the floor). I had turned off the breakers (did I mention that most things in the box are mislabeled?) and tested them to make sure there was no power coming to them. When I went to remove the (I believe) red wire from the non-working receptacle I got a big pop and spark (surprise!). I turned off all of the power to the bathroom and master bedroom just to be safe and removed everything without physical injury to myself.

I finally got my holes drilled and the junction box mounted and everything hooked up (I believed) correctly minus only the previously believed non-working receptacle. However, every time I try to flip the breaker (only one of the supposed two), it trips with a big spark.

I don't know if I've somehow mixed up the red and black wires (it's my first time dealing with a red one), I believed it didn't matter which went into which hole (I normally wouldn't use the push in holes opting for the screws, but this receptacle led me to believe the push in was preferred for some weird reason).
Maybe the ground wire came out and I didn't notice (it kept coming out while I was attaching everything else).

Do I NEED to have the other outlet piggybacked onto it because of the supposed two 20 AMP breakers? The previous work was supposedly done by an electrician (or at least partially) as there are stickers with dates, etc. naming the company, etc. on the panel.

I really appreciate any help you can give.

I'm attaching some pics just in case.

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Old 06-23-13, 01:10 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Update: two seconds after posting, I removed the red wire and turned the breaker back on and it seems to be working. I'm still confused about the whole supposed two breaker thing. It's on the panel as being 23 and 25, yet they were piggybacked together with the feed coming from one 12 gauge romex cable and only one breaker would trip when I had the red wire connected at the same time.
Old 06-23-13, 01:17 AM
PJmax's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
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Welcome to the forums.

Ok......you have two 20 amp breakers feeding two receptacles. Don't use piggybacking as a description as that doesn't tell us anything.

You are wanting to relocate the two receptacles. In that case.....one receptacle will be connected to the black and white. The other will be connected to the red and white. You have the red and black presently connected together on the GFI. That would be a direct 240V short.

Those receptacles will be sharing a common neutral (white) wire.
Old 06-23-13, 01:28 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
I guess my confusion came because they weren't coming from separate romex, one outlet was connected to the other by another short section of romex and they seemed to be controlled by only one of the breakers, but I think I might get it now.
It's currently wired to one receptacle using the black, white and ground and I nutted off the red and breaker 23 controls the power. If I have it right, I would think 25 controls the red since it doesn't seem to control anything else in the house, though I think I had the power to 25 turned on and it didn't shock me.
I guess I could try hooking up the other outlet using the red, etc. and see if it works.
Old 06-23-13, 09:21 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
If you splice into the neutral before it gets to the first receptacle and use that second neutral wire with the red wire on the second receptacle that should work.

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