Wrong Way Breaker

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by lilclue, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. lilclue

    lilclue New Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    I have a breaker (20 amp) that when only turned in the "off" position will actually allow the electricity through the circuit and partially to the outlets that are on the line within the house. This just started recently when I replaced a a double throw 30 amp that was directly across within the electrical panel box. When this occurred I move the breaker to lower position, I doubled checked the ground wire was secure on the fuse bar (or whatever you call that grounding bar w/ screws). I also changed out the breaker. Basically when the breaker is in the same position as all of the other breakers it does not allow electrical flow, when I turn it to the off position it partially allows electrical flow to only half the outlets work that are on the the line. Before I installed the double throw 30 the 20 amp was fully operational.

    I have a 200 amp box and half the wires are aluminum (including the wire that's attached to this 20 amp breaker)

    Any thoughts on what is going on w/ this situation?


  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Jun 16, 2007
    Licensed Electrical Contractor
    NY State, USA
    Sounds like half your service is out.

    ONLY IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE doing this, turn OFF the main breaker and check the voltage at the service wires feeding it.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    WE would have to test the circuit, but it appears that when you relocated the breaker you put it on the opposite leg of the power line, and it may have been half of a split 220/240 circuit. But even that would not necessarily cause the situation you are describing, if you are telling it correctly. Move it to a position an EVEN number of spaces from its original spot and see if that cures it.
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Apr 2, 2008
  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Aug 27, 2008
    A bounty hunter like in "Raising Arizona"
    Measure the voltage drop across the open breaker; less than 60 mVac means it's closed.
  7. nickdel

    nickdel New Member

    May 8, 2009

    1. You mentioned the ground wire being on the ground buss, what about the white wire?

    2. The black wire that goes to the breaker in question...follow it up to where it enters the panel and look at the cable. Is there a red wire there also? If so where does it go?

    3. Are any outlets/lights being affected that are not on the circuit in question?
  8. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    Thaat's my guess but it doesn't explain everything.

    People should stay out of their panels.:rolleyes:
  9. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    You are dealing with aluminum wiring..call an electrician that is familiar with aluminum and let him figure it out...
  10. nickdel

    nickdel New Member

    May 8, 2009
    Another question, you say...

    "when I turn it to the off position it partially allows electrical flow to only half the outlets work that are on the the line"

    What does this mean? Does it mean that you have partial power to some of the circuit? Like 50-60 volts? Or does it mean that part of the circuit has power, and part of it doesn't?
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