Two breakers power one circuit - elaborate danger please?

Old 08-18-13, 06:07 PM
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Two breakers power one circuit - elaborate danger please?

My family are the first owners of our home and have discovered yet another problem with it. We will not attempt to fix it ourselves but I could use some additional information if someone could please help me out.

While replacing wired-in smoke detectors, we discovered that two breakers had to be shut off at the same time in order to cut power to one of the detectors. Based on other forum posts that I've read on this site, that is apparently wrong, and dangerous. Can someone please explain why it is dangerous/how urgent an issue it is? When I mentioned it to my dad he said 'we've lived in this house for 15 years without a problem, we'll get it checked out the next time we need an electrician out for something else'. If it's dangerous, I don't like this idea and would need to explain why it's a bad idea for him to wait.

Also, there isn't an easy way to 'check' all the wiring in the house for problems is there? I'm guessing not. I'm just worried there could be more issues we don't know about yet, as we have already had another wiring issue come up a couple years ago.

Old 08-18-13, 06:28 PM
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Welcome to the forums! You would first need to determine everything that is controlled by the two breakers individually. Somewhere you have a backfed circuit and it needs to be corrected. Once you have your list of what each breaker controls your investigation will begin. Make your lists and post them here. We may be able to help you zero in on the errant circuit connection.
Old 08-18-13, 07:44 PM
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This could be as simple as multi-wire branch circuit. What color wires are on the two breakers?

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