Is it possible to put in an electrical circuit without any way to interrupt the circuit?

I tried to work on a 240V outlet, and it wasn't marked in the breaker box. I threw every breaker, and that outlet remained hot. For that matter, there's not a master breaker, either.

  • Possibility this house was used in a Marijuana grow operation? I'd have an electrician look for an illegal tap before the power meter. Very common and very dangerous. Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 22:35
  • 3
    Did you throw "every breaker" in turn, or all at once? Shutting down a 220 V line completely could take two breakers...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 0:18

3 Answers 3


If there's no main breaker, then there is probably another breaker box somewhere, possibly in the same enclosure as the meter.

Also, it's possible that the panel you are looking at does not have a main breaker at the top; it could be one of the breakers mixed in with the branch circuit breakers. If you can, post a picture of your breaker panel with the cover removed so we can see the wiring inside.


There should be a breaker or fuse somewhere, even if there is no single main. There HAS to be a way to shut it off. Thing is, yes, there is a way to hack a job like this so bad that there is no breaker. If not then someone catastrophically messed up.

Are you 100% sure there is not another panel or disconnect somewhere?

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    D'oh! The master is in the meter box! Forgot about that being there until I read another answer.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 16:54

No breaker and no master switch in the breaker box would be against code in my jurisdiction. There must be a way to shut off power to the circuit without your electrical company having to shut it off. What is your jurisdiction?

  • I live in Lamar County, Mississippi. There are no local codes, and there seems to be plenty of contractors who aren't afraid of cutting corners (probably for that reason).
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 16:45
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    There is NO requirement for a "master switch". You can actually have up to six main breakers, and many older panels did just that, have four or six mains. These were known as "split-buss" panels. Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 16:49

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