Rant - always confirm dead wiring is really dead.

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Old 01-27-15, 09:54 PM
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Rant - always confirm dead wiring is really dead.

I am glad I always test wires that I am "certain" are dead.

Even those I've JUST disconnected from the circuit breaker box.

Apparently someone connected two circuits to one outlet, and did NOT remove the jumper. And, even if they thought they removed the jumper, they still did it wrong. The neutral wires were swapped - so that if someone had removed the jumpers, one circuit's hot would go to the other circuit's neutral, and vice versa. (Not that this part would make a technical difference if the jumpers were removed, since they're bonded at the panel, but still...)

So, for years, we've been using this 15A outlet that was wired up as a 30A. Sheesh.
 
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Old 01-28-15, 04:49 AM
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How did you determine it was protected by a 30 amp breaker? Or are you guessing two 15 amp breakers would equal 30 amps? Yes, you are correct in using a multimeter to test all circuits that you believe are "dead". It used to bug my dad when I would go into a box and test it. He would say "it's dead, I turned it off". My response was, "Dad, I love you, but I don't trust anyone".
 
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Old 02-01-15, 12:50 PM
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I should have been clearer. Each circuit had a 15A breaker. I was taking the situation to mean that the outlet would supply 30A before a breaker would trip, making it either possible (or even likely) for an electrical fire if anything ever drew enough current.

Love the response you'd give to your dad!

Out of curiosity, am I right that wiring two 15A breakers would allow 30A to be collectively drawn before one or both tripped? I absolutely know this is not an acceptable situation and risks an electrical fire. I also fixed the situation, so it's just on one circuit, before I made the original post. Was figuring the situation would be like having multiple batteries in parallel.
 
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Old 02-01-15, 02:11 PM
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Are the handles tied between the two breakers? A 15 amp breaker will trip at a predetermined point, close to 17 amps, and two of them will trip at the same place. They are not additive. Each trips at the same point. Having it double fed did create a problem, so good that you separated it out.
 
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Old 02-01-15, 03:44 PM
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About 20 years ago I changed an electric receptacle in my mother's aged house from dark brown to ivory. I pulled the two big old square main breakers first to shut off the whole house since I didn't know which was the correct smaller breaker and the wiring didn't really have a logical scheme anyway. Lights went out, clocks stopped. OK. I looked carefully at the old receptacle's wiring and copied it exactly onto the new one. Put screws back and new cover and was feeling pretty smug, ready to go slide those square breaker things back in. But before I did that, I found there was an old electric clock (no battery backup) still running.... I'm still scratching my head over that one.
 
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