Three-way switch issue

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  #1  
Old 01-24-16, 01:58 PM
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Three-way switch issue

Ok, this is a strange one. I haven't seen this before.

Recently purchased home built in 2005. Dining room has two switches and seven outlets. When the breaker is on, all out less work and switches do nothing.

When breaker is off, all outlets are switched as one would expect with a pair of three way switches.

Any thoughts? Is there an easy fix? Should I be concerned?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-24-16, 02:05 PM
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What else does the breaker control? Have you looked for the breaker that controls the switches?
 
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Old 01-24-16, 02:07 PM
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The breaker is labeled 'dining room.' I haven't found any other breaker than controls anything in the room.
 
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Old 01-24-16, 02:08 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The first strange thing is that dining room receptacles are very rarely switched.
Is there a ceiling light in that room ?
 
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Old 01-24-16, 02:19 PM
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No. No ceiling fixture. Not sure if there is a box behind the drywall though.
 
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Old 01-24-16, 02:26 PM
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But if there was an unused box in the ceiling, I would think that the switches wouldn't do anything and the breaker would kill power to the outlets regardless of switch position.
 
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Old 01-25-16, 12:31 PM
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Your circuit is being fed from two separate breakers on the same leg of the panel. Finding the cross connection may be difficult, but I'd start looking in the receptacle boxes first.
 
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Old 01-25-16, 02:59 PM
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When breaker is off, all outlets are switched as one would expect with a pair of three way switches.
In a room with no ceiling lights, you expect only one receptacle (1/2 of a duplex receptacle) to be switched, maybe 2 at the most.
A switch or receptacle was probably changed out at some point and wired wrong. My first guess would be a receptacle was wired wrong.

You need to open up each receptacle in the room and look for red and black wires. Once you find the red wires, gently pull out the receptacle(s) and post a clear picture of the wiring.

If you can't find any red wires in any of the receptacle boxes, let us know that.
 
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Old 03-27-16, 07:50 AM
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I've dug into this a little more and discovered that there are two breakers feeding the dining room; the dining room breaker and the kitchen lights breaker. When both are on, the kitchen lights work as expected (on/off with switches), and all dining room outlets are live (dining room switches do nothing).

When one breaker is off, the behavior is as follows:

Kitchen lights breaker off: dining room switch controls power to outlets and kitchen lights.

Dining room breaker off: kitchen lights normal, dining room switch controls power to outlets.

It would seem to me that the intent here was to use the dining room circuit to supply power to the always on outlets, and power from the kitchen lights circuit to supply one or more switched outlets in the dining room.

Perhaps a step was missed? None of the jumper tabs have been removed from any of the outlets.
 
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Old 03-27-16, 07:55 AM
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Switch One
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Switch Two
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Old 03-27-16, 04:14 PM
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It would seem to me that the intent here was to use the dining room circuit to supply power to the always on outlets, and power from the kitchen lights circuit to supply one or more switched outlets in the dining room
That would be a disaster.

You've got a mess there and it's going to be real hard to repair via a website. You really need an electrician there to do the checking.

At switch one I see 2) two wire cables and 1)three wire cable.
I see a three way switch there and its wiring doesn't match the wiring at switch 2. I see a white wire connected to a black wire. Not something I'd expect to see there.

At switch 2.... I see what looks the red and white wire both attached to the common screw. That's not right. I see the black on one traveler screw and nothing on the second one. Also not right.

The receptacle in the third picture is at the end of a line and is wired correctly.

The receptacle in the fourth picture has two white wires and two black wires attached. That in itself is fine but I also see a white (neutral ?? ) splice in the box. I also see a black splice in the box. The jumper is still on the hot side of the receptacle which means the receptacle could not work as half switched. Are there 3) or 4) two wire cables in that box ?

In order for me (or anyone else) to help..... we need to know what each cable is for. Unless you are highly technical..... it will not be easy.
 
 

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