I'm not sure the title is the best, but it's the best I can come up with right now.

I've been replacing all the outlets and switches in my house, and for the second time found an electrical box with multiple circuits running to it, with the neutrals tied together. Last time I could fix it semi-logically because it was a multi gang box, and I could separate the circuits. This time, I fixed it, but I'm not sure if it's clear what's happening, for someone looking in the future.

From what I can tell, what happened was that the bedrooms used to just have a switched outlet. At some point, they added overhead fans, and tied those to the already existing switches. In this room, the power initially came from circuit 1, to the switch, then to the outlet. When they added the fan, they ran that cable to the outlet, not the switch, and for reasons I'm unsure of, also connected the outlet to circuit 10. Maybe so you could have a switched outlet and an outlet that always got power, not that it was wired that way.

The upshot was that the fan, outlet, and switch were all tied in to both circuit 1 and circuit 10. To fix this, I capped off the wires from circuit 1 in the switch, and cleaned up the wiring in the outlet, so that they're all only being fed from circuit 10, and the switch only controls the fan.

Is there a better way to fix this? I don't want to mix multiple circuits together, which is why I removed circuit 1 entirely, but it means that the wiring for the fan is tied to an outlet it would seem to have no real connection to. Should I leave a little note for a future person, explaining what's going on and that it wasn't my fault?

  • 1
    I probably would have just disconnected the outlet from circuit 10. That way everything electrical you can see is connected to circuit 1, in a way that makes sense.
    – TylerH
    Dec 2, 2020 at 21:35
  • 2
    Do the 2 circuits run in the same cable? e.g. on the red and black wire? Are you familiar with "Multi-Wire Branch Circuits"? Dec 2, 2020 at 22:55
  • No; they go through completely different paths. Circuit 1 enters through the switch, and circuit 10 enters through the outlet. Dec 3, 2020 at 18:25
  • @tylerh That probably makes the most sense, although I'm still left with a capped off wire. I may just have to live with that. If you want to make it an answer, I'll accept it. Dec 8, 2020 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


Based on your description, I would disconnect the outlet from circuit 10. That way everything electrical you can see (switches, receptacles, ceiling light/fan, etc.) is connected to circuit 1, in a way that makes sense.

You'll need to attach wire caps to circuit 10 so it's safe. Unfortunately the only way to remove that circuit properly is to cut open the wall, which is a much bigger mess.


Let's assume someone did this to use a specific high draw device. Being it's so far apart 1 to 10. Let's assume it was done intentionally to feed a space heater or other high draw. I would just use the recep separate on that last circut assuming it was overdrawn already by everything else in room. I would wire it and maybe the other recep on that wall to that last tap. In my humble opinion.

  • 1
    Welcome to Home Improvement! What does "Being it's so far apart 1 to 10" mean? What would a "high draw" thing have to do with having 2 circuits - either the draw is within the wiring/breaker capacity or it isn't. Your last sentence (prior to IMHO) doesn't make much sense as written. Please take a look at how to write a good answer, then edit your question to provide some additional clarity.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 22, 2023 at 15:25

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