Bedroom has 6 outlets on three wire circuit. One hot black wire and one hot red wire with tab removed. Two white neutral wires with tab intact. Only have to shut off one breaker to shut down. Is this correct?

  • 1
    Do the red and black come from the service panel? 2 whites would be wrong for a multiwire branch circuit. I would double check and make sure the red is (or is not switched) having 2 whites a switched red would be the common wiring , having the red & black come from 2 poles of the service panel only 1 white would be run for a mwbc. Having 2 whites sounds like a switched receptacle and a hot receptacle.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 18, 2022 at 19:37
  • Please provide a picture of the breaker panel, indicating which breaker you're turning off to disable the outlets.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 18, 2022 at 20:33
  • 2
    Very often, the arrangement you describe is not a "multi-wire branch circuit", but a "switch the receptacle" setup. Every room must have a switch that controls a light, however an acceptable substitute is a switch that controls receptacles. So they run /3 and use red for the "switched-hot". Apr 18, 2022 at 22:31
  • It is definitely not a switched outlet. The room has an overhead light/fan combo, but flipping either switch does not affect any of the outlets, top or bottom. I will remove the cover on the panel to see how this single 15 amp breaker is wired. But it is the only one that I have to shut off to shut down the power to that circuit. If I just pigtail the neutral and run the one neutral to the silver screw, tab still intact, would that suffice? It still wouldn't address the panel box issue of one breaker. Apr 20, 2022 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


If it's a double pole breaker then you're OK. If it's two single breakers, they should be tied together so both turn off at the same time If two single breakers are located in different spots in the panel, then both need to be turned off separately; some older wired homes might be like this.

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    It's always wise to check for power, even if you think it's turned off. Lots of panels are mislabeled... common occurrence. So to be safe, just double check to make sure the power is indeed off. But like others have said, it's most likely just switched outlets, not a MWBC. Apr 19, 2022 at 1:35
  • @GeorgeAnderson How are you doing George?
    – JACK
    Apr 19, 2022 at 12:02
  • Doing OK man. Thanks for asking. Just working on a re-model of a rental right now. Hard to get people to work on it. Such a labor shortage. I'm doing some of the work myself. Most of it is superficial, no major structural changes. Just paint, replacing cabinets, vanities, etc. The house hasn't been updated in 40 years, so it's time. Apr 19, 2022 at 16:30

If a dual breaker, yes, or two single breakers.

If an older house, it is possible for that circuit to be on two separated single breakers, was a bad idea at the time, since people turn off one breaker and then find half the outlet is still live and be hurt.

Houses made newer, are supposed to have the single breakers joined with a handle tie.

Make sure to check any circuit for power before working on it, with a non-contact voltage tester or a multi meter.

Check if it is a switched outlet/half outlet by plugging in something and trying switches, repeat for the other half. @Ed Beal might have caught something I missed.

As always check that the power is off before working on it.

  • 3
    A mwbc only has 1 white not 2 if there are 2 whites from the service panel they should not be connected (code violation). Sounds more like a switched receptacle with a quick review.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 18, 2022 at 19:40
  • Good catch about the two whites/neutrals.
    – crip659
    Apr 18, 2022 at 20:23

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