0

I have started on the task of labeling all my breakers but in this process it has left me with one major issue, I have one breaker that doesn't kill anything in the house. During the checks every other outlet, ceiling fixtures, appliances are accounted for, but I still have a single 15 amp breaker that I can't figure out what it controls. Is there any advice on figuring out where this breaker goes to?

  • 1
    Have you tried leaving this as the ONLY breaker on and seeing what might work? – BrownRedHawk Sep 8 '15 at 20:01
  • @BrownRedHawk I laughed with delight at this comment. It should be an answer! – bib Sep 8 '15 at 20:03
  • 1
    Can you confirm that there is indeed a wire connected to the breaker inside the panel? You also didn't specify the location of the panel. If it is exposed in a basement, is it possible to trace where the wire goes? Also make sure that all of your duplex receptacles aren't "split", like when one outlet is on constant while the other is (or perhaps was) controlled by a switch. – paulmz Sep 8 '15 at 21:54
  • 1
    Check doorbell transformer. Often times there is a whole 15A branch circuit just for this. – Kris Sep 8 '15 at 22:14
3

Note: This may seem silly, as it's just the opposite of what you've already done, but I promise it is not in jest.

Try turning off ALL breakers except for the mystery breaker. It is completely possible that one or more circuits were erroneously "double fed" by this breaker and another.

Alternatively, you could have something not-so-obvious like an exterior light, garage door opener, doorbell that is powered off this circuit.

Lastly, someone could have "dead ended" an unused circuit by simply capping it off where it terminates, but leave the breaker and wiring for future use.

  • I did enjoy your comment, and I thought about outside and I checked all of those, they are all still working and the breaker is currently off, I checked some things like the hard wired garbage disposal and none of these are off. I did think about a dead ended circuit but that was I guess more of my question how could I find where it ends? – Luke Sep 8 '15 at 20:25
  • It's pretty hard to find where it terminates. They do make some "snoopers" to find breakers for mystery outlets, but I believe those require some amount of current. If it's dead ended, I believe they do not work. In practice, most people disconnect the feed side from the panel and terminate it in a labeled junction box, leaving the wiring in place. If you're dead set on finding it, I suggest starting in the attic, then light fixtures, then basement. It's usually more work than it's worth IMO. – BrownRedHawk Sep 8 '15 at 20:29
  • 1
    So I could just disconnect the wire from that breaker and use the breaker for something else then. – Luke Sep 8 '15 at 21:52
  • 1
    If you disconnect that breaker and reuse it, Murphy's law says you'll discover what it was connected to at the most inconvenient moment possible. I wouldn't disconnect it without fully tracing it. If you're out of space in the breaker box, consider swapping this or another out for a unit which provides two breakers in the same space. – keshlam Sep 8 '15 at 22:30
  • Do you cave a sump pump or something similar? Could it be powering a service outlet in an unexpected location, like by the panel, or water heater, or attic? Attic vent fan? – R Drast Sep 9 '15 at 17:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.