My father-in-law suffers from dementia. His doctor wants him to go to bed at 11 PM, but he often refuses and stays up way later than he should watching TV. We have him set up with a separate suite with bedroom/bath/TV room.

I want to attach a timer to the breakers that control both the lights and outlets in the TV room to force those to turn off at 11 PM and (hopefully) get him into bed for his health at the appropriate time.

Is attaching a timer to the breaker panel a feasible way to accomplish the above? Other suggestions would be appreciated if not.

  • 2
    Whatever you do, it better have a playoff override. You don't want him missing out on overtime. Apr 30, 2013 at 14:14
  • Would a light timer switch and outlet timer be out of the question?
    – Steven
    Apr 30, 2013 at 14:56
  • 1
    It would get a bit expensive but you can use X10 automation. Basically you would replace(or put an add-on to) each outlet and light receptacle. Then get a controlling unit with a timer. You can have the controller in your suite and override as desired.
    – Jason
    Apr 30, 2013 at 14:58
  • You're likely not going to find anything that controls the breaker directly, but you could easily install a timer to control the circuit after the breaker.
    – Tester101
    Apr 30, 2013 at 15:03
  • 1
    You may want to check with his doctor, and possibly a lawyer before investing too much time and money in to this. This may be considered Elder Abuse.
    – Tester101
    May 1, 2013 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


Timer-controlled or remote-controlled circuit breakers are available, but I've never seen them in a residential application. In addition to the breaker, you would also need a controller, which is likely cost prohibitive.

What would probably be cheaper is a standard hardwired electrical timer. If you mount it to the side of the breaker panel with a tiny piece of conduit you can probably just disconnect the wire from the breaker and run it to the timer without having to extend it. Then just run a new neutral and ground in to the timer and a new hot wire from the breaker to the timer.

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This is not much more work than replacing a breaker.

  • Longneck, will this single timer work with two circuits, ie. lighting and receptacles if they are, in fact, on two different breakers?? BTW: thanks for your suggestion.
    – user12771
    Apr 30, 2013 at 22:51
  • 3
    I'm not familiar with every model, but it's a possibility. two timers might be a good thing anyway. turn off the devices a half hour before the lights.
    – longneck
    May 1, 2013 at 2:53

If your dad is a clock watcher, just set the clock several hours or so ahead. Only you will know the true time. If he looks at the clock and thinks it is late, he might go to bed. The doctor thought that was a good idea for us and it worked. Give it a try. Plug the TV into a receptacle that is controlled by a switch on the wall.

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