Take nothing for granted when working with Electricity

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I have gutted out a small room upstairs with the purpose of remodeling it for a home recording studio. The room already had three electric outlets so tonight I was in the process of replacing them and adding a couple more. One of the outlet boxes had a newer set of wires and a very old set of wires attached to it.
I puled the outlet out of it's box and was surprised that it had only one set of wires hooked to it. I removed the wires expecting to find that the two wires had been spiced together but no. The old wire was just a dead end. Just cut off and still attached to the outlet box.
So I sat there and thought about it for a second and wondered if the old wire was still hot. So I trimmed a bit of insulation off so I could get the tester on it and sure enough it was.
So tomorrow I get to start switching breakers off to see what else that wire is hooked to. it disappears behind the wallboard in the next room that I have junked up with stuff I emptied out of the room I am working on. It would be nice to have two circuits for the outlets in that room. One for the computer and other stuff and one for the mixer. The old wire is just two wires with no ground wire. If I can find out where it's next junction is maybe I can pull it through and replace it with new wire.
Wish me luck, I need it.
David
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hibb wrote:

one of those pen-style power detectors in their shirt pocket, and get in the habit of using it every time, even when you 'know' the power is off. In fussing with old work, you never know what some idiot previous owner did 20 years ago.
-- aem sends...
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Yep, I tend to test thing in every way possible before risking my hide.
David
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ive got a 1952 house with countless un doucumented improvments, ive found junction box's with 4 breakers worth of wires running through it. always use your pen tester
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Our house turns 100 this year. A great deal had been updated in the 30+ years we have lived here.
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Another idea, if working alone, is to not only test as recommended but also plug in a radio tuned to something you can hear from the circuit breaker panel location. Then, flipping off breakers one can tell if you have found the one to deaden that circuit. A friend found 'two' circuit breakers were in contact with the same circuit by doing that! Flipping off and then each single pole breakers, one at a time, the circuit remained energized. But he finally found the two that did! That saved a few trips up and down stairs!
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On 2/14/2010 12:38 AM, terry wrote:

yikes! that takes a special sort of electrician to create a mess like that. At least whoever did that picked two circuits on the same phase!
nate
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it gets better i had a circut that ran only 2 outlets, and another that ran my whole basment and 2 outlets on the 1st floor
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From the description, which isn't totally clear, I don't see any "mess" or a violation of any code or anything surprising. All he says is he has:
an outlet in a box that box has both new wires and and old wires going into it the old wires are all that is connected to the outlet the old wires are live
It's not the way one would normally wire something for new work. But if it's old work, I don't believe it violates any code.
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On Feb 14, 2:35pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

True; somebody perhaps back in time extended an existing (old wiring circuit) using newer wiring.
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Nope. What it looks like is somebody replaced the outlet, ran new wires from another circuit for power and cut off the old wire and just left attached to the box but not hooked to the outlet. It would have been nice if they had at least tapped up the end of the wire but all the did was cut it off.
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OK, now it's clear what's going on. And I agree, that is half- assed and a code violation.
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On 2/14/2010 2:19 PM, hibb wrote:

Someone a few posts back said that they had a recep that wouldn't go dead unless two different CB's were cut off, that's a definite code violation no matter how you look at it.
nate
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Interesting. Is there something in the code that actually says you can't split a receptacle and put one half on one circuit and the other on another? I agree it would be bad practice. But outlets are often split so that one part is always live, the other goes to a switch. Just wondering if the code actually covers that and says they must be on the same breaker.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Hard to remember what is in this thread anymore.
If you are talking about 2 entirely separate circuits to one duplex receptacle (both tabs would have to be broken off), as far as I know it is compliant. (Probably not what nate had in mind above.) Since about 10 years ago there would have to be a "common disconnect" between the breakers, which could be a handle tie.
Somewhat common is an "Edison circuit" (common neutral) that connects to a split-wired receptacle. Same comment on handle tie, plus since the 2008 NEC "Edison circuits" have to have a "common disconnect".
--
bud--




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On Feb 14, 5:27pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

in mn it was common practice to have the upper half and lower half of outlets in kitchens on seprate circuits somthing to do with the draw of old appliances
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On 02/15/2010 08:50 PM, auggie wrote:

that could actually explain it, someone replacing a recep wired like that without breaking the tabs, I didn't think of that.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Split wired receptacles would almost always be wired with an "Edison circuit". If the tab isn't removed one or both circuit breakers would trip. (Could be improperly wired to circuits on the same leg.)
--
bud--

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Hard to remember what is in this thread anymore.
Yup: Lot's of info and experiences though.
And personally hope am never too old to be corrected, or learn something.
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When I went to put GFCIs in my kitchen I discovered that one double outlet had each half on a different circuit. I used the radio technique, then even plugged in my circuit tester to confirm the power was off (under the unlikely chance that the radio broke when I flipped the breaker)... and still sparks flew! Now I know to test every single outlet even if they're both in the same box.
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