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Circuit Breaker

I have a wall outlet that is properly wired but I can not find the specific circuit breaker that controls that outlet.
When I shut down one breaker at a time the outlet remains live. When I shut down all 15 Amp Circuit Breakers at once the the outlet does finally shut down.
The house is 5 years old and all electrical wiring is up to date.
I have used a CB location device but it doesn't find the specific breaker either.

Any thoughts on solving this problem will be greatly appreciated

Re: Circuit Breaker

Work in the opposite direction. Turn all the breakers off. Then turn them on one at a time until the outlet is live. Mark that breaker, turn it off again and continue with the other breakers. If it comes on with more than one breaker you have a wiring problem.

Re: Circuit Breaker

I did use the reverse method originally and the outlet did not become alive until all circuit breakers were back on.
I then assumed I had the correct (last one to be turned on) breaker
only to discover that turning that one off did not shut off the
I guess it is a wiring problem but what would cause such a situation to occur? Is it a bad breaker or a combination of breakers or what other possibilities could be at fault here?
As I indicated earlier I did a check of the outlet to determine
whether or not it was wired properly and the indication was that it was.
Ant further assistance will be greatly appreciated.

A. Spruce
Re: Circuit Breaker

Even though the home is only 5 years old, has there been any electrical work done to it, specifically, has a 220 circuit been removed, but the breaker for it still feeding the circuits in question? What often happens is the tang that holds the breaker toggles together on a 220 breaker is removed in an attempt to make a 110 breaker and save $40. If this is your case, you'll get feed-through from the other side of the breaker when only one side is turned off. The repair for this is to change out the 220 breaker for a set of 110's of the appropriate amperage.

Re: Circuit Breaker

Something about your explaination on how you have tried to trouble shoot this does not sound right. If I were you I would follow McDanials advice to the letter and see if more than one breaker heats up the circuit.

It would be my bet that when the house was wired a couple of circuits that were intended to be separate got connected and are now being fed with two breakers which are on the same phase.

Re: Circuit Breaker

Is it possible this might be a switched outlet?

If it is maybe half might be on one circuit and the other half might be on another circuit.

Re: Circuit Breaker

I really appreciate all the responses that were provided.
The outlets are all 110/120 AC and most breakers are 15 or 20 amps.

There is also 220/240 AC for those items requiring 220/240.

I found the problem attempting to shut down a wall plug in the Master bed room. I also checked to make sure that the outlet
was not wired for wall switch.

The system is black,white and ground wired.

I am going to contact a licensed electrician and let him figure
it out.I just hated not to solve it with out paying for it Ha Ha.

Again my thanks for all the responses you folks provided.

Phoenix AZ

A. Spruce
Re: Circuit Breaker

Be sure to report back with the findings.:cool:

Re: Circuit Breaker


I'm brand new on this forum so please bare with me.

Just exactly how are you attempting to verify the circuit from the panel box? Do you flip a breaker and then run back to the outlet or use some other method?

If the panel box is not within visual distance from the outlet you can try some simple steps. The one I use the most is to plug a radio into the outlet and crank the volume up until you can hear the radio from the panel box. Then work the breakers to establish which one kills the radio. If none of them do, then kill the main power and pull the outlet. If it a pass through outlet you should see two pairs of black/white wires. One supplies power to the outlet and the other pair provides the path to the next outlet. If it is an "End of run" outlet, you should see only one pair.

Get a Multi Meter, with the meter set on VAC, set the voltace range as high as you can. Then remove the black pair from the bottom of the outlet. Place the RED probe on the back wire. Place the BLACK probe on the bare ground wire. Turn the Master breaker back on and measure the VAC on the wire. If it is zero, turn the master off and pull the top wire and repeat the test.

You should see 110 VAC on one of the leads. Its very unlikley that 220 was accidently left across the breaker. If it was, just about anything you plugged in would die immeaditley. 220 VAC does not play nicely with 110 devices.

The above process should get you off and running towards a conclusion.

However I warn you, do not work on live wires, nor should you even begin to toy with the Master breaker. Turning the breaker on and off is all you should do. Unless you are real confortable with working on electrical problems, I would advise you to stay out of the inside of the breaker box. Playing around inside the panel box can get you First Time Dead. Unless of course you put me in your will as the sole beneficary, then play away!


Re: Circuit Breaker

OK folks, I called in a licensed electrician and he spent two hours
and finally found that it was a wiring problem.The number 3 and 5
breakers were isolated to be the ones you had to shut off to get the outlet to shut down.
But like any thing else it became more complicated. We finally found the hall lights which are on 3 way switches were also involved. He finally got the number 3 and 5 breakers to shut off the areas they were responsible for. However one of the 3 way
switches for the hall lights, which are controlled by the number 5 breaker, had 2 hot wires coming into the switch. We finally just capped one of them off and all is operating OK.
Apparently there is some mis wiring in the hall lights but going into the attic in this weather is not an option and the hot black wire is capped off and therefore not a hazard.
Thanks to all who assisted me in this endeavor.


A. Spruce
Re: Circuit Breaker

Glad you got it figured out, and thank you for coming back and updating your progress. It helps us to diagnose similar issues in the future.


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