Remove a circut breaker

antczak_houseJanuary 19, 2010


We covered four electrical outlets with our tile backsplash. The outlets were removed, wires cut to no copper showing, then taped and capped. We put drywall over the boxes. The 4 outlets were isolated on their own 20 amp circuit breaker.

Can we remove that circuit breaker from the box entirely and if we can, will that take care of the code issue???


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BTW, YES we turned off the breaker.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 2:53PM
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Are the remaining receptacles adequate to comply with code?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 3:46PM
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Why not leave the breaker in and use it for another circuit? Just disconnect the hot, neutral, and ground from the disabled circuit in the panel, clip the bare copper from hot and neutral, cap the ends with wire nuts, bunch the wires together and label them as abandoned backsplash outlets. That way you don't lose a circuit in your panel, and the wiring is still available if one day you want to resurrect the circuit.
If you want to remove the breaker from the panel, you need a filler plate for the panel cover. You can't leave the panel cover open anywhere.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Thank you for the advice bigbird!

Bus driver, Im not sure what you mean about the recepticals...the outlets we tiled over are gone, We tiled over two windows and four outlets, the only thing on that wall now is tile. here is a pic of the new wall and old wall.Tthere are four more countertop outlets elsewhere in the kitchen, two of them are the outlets that are square with buttons.

Here is a link that might be useful: Backsplash after

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:12PM
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Here is the before.

Here is a link that might be useful: before backsplash

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Hope you installed plugmold under the cabinets or counter or
you'll be replacing those outlets at inspection or resale of your

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Ron Natalie

I can't find the before picture, but it appears from your after picture that you've removed all the receptacles that were serving your countertop area. That's in violation of the code, there needs to be outlets there (and probably that circuit was one of the two required ones that need to be there as well).

I presume you did this without permits. This is a glaring defect in your design.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:44PM
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Aside from whether you have adequate new receptacles to meet code, there is another issue. Unless you disconnect the wires at the breaker end, I believe you have a serious code violation because you can't have live wires terminating in a wall, or in a box that can no longer be accessed.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 4:57PM
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We have a total of four counters in our kitchen, not just that one. There are four more countertop outlets in the kitchen two have buttons.

We didnt think we needed a permit to put up some tile and paint our cabinets.

My husband drywalled over the outlets. The wires are not live. Why would I need to use plugmold if the wall underneath the tile is now drywall? there are empty electrical boxes with capped wires that are NOT connected to the breaker. (my husband disconnected the wires from the breaker after getting advice on here)

I think we are going to try to connect two of the remaining outlets to the 20amp breaker we no longer use if that is possible so we at least are only breaking one code of not having an outlet on that wall at all.

Thanks for all the advice and knowledge.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:31PM
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it doesn't matter how many counter tops you have in your kitchen. You are required to have receptacles to serve each one. By covering the ones you did you are in violation.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 6:47PM
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The NEC requires at least two 20 amp circuits that supply the kitchen counter receptacles, and a very few other items are allowed on these circuits.

No lighting is allowed (like under-cabinet lights).

If you removed one of these circuits you now have a violation.

If every section of counter more than 12 inches wide sdeoas not have a receptacle you are in violation.

no place on the counter can be more than 24 inches from a receptacle (measured along the wall) or you are in violation.

Counters sections separated by fixed appliances (stoves or refrigerators and sinks) are separate sections and must have at least one receptacle if they are 12 inches or wider, and no place on them can be more than 24 inches from a receptacle.

ALL kitchen counter receptacles are required to be GFCI protected (but note that you can wire regular receptacles from a single GFCI receptacle's 'LOAD' side to meet this rule.

Very few places have more receptacles or circuits than the minimum, so removing a circuit and/or receptacles is likely to leave you with a violation.

A dead circuit MUST be disconnected in the panel.
Unconnected cables ending in concealed boxes are a violation.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 7:49PM
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To the original post- Would it have been best to get answers before creating this mess?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:10AM
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Strange. I can't figure out a person who'd take receptacles out and tile 'em over. Everyone I know who lives in an old house with an original (or long-ago updated) kitchen wants MORE receptacles, LOTS more, not fewer.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:38PM
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I think I would get the outlets back up and going. Get the headache over with now rather than wait till you have no clue where the outlets were.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 11:07PM
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hi antczak -

I'm a newbie. But I did some kitchen work myself. Replaced my old electric range with a new one. Added new 4-wire outlet for stove, etc. Long story short - I checked then and NEC code (or maybe it was building code?) does require you to have outlets along kitchen counters at minimum intervals. I'm in violation now myself ( but maybe grandfathered in?)

Your kitchen looks beautiful (come do mine)and doesn't seem like too much work to break out a few tiles and put receptacles back. Don't know why you worried about a receptacle there - it certainly wouldn't spoil that beautiful kitchen? (Yea - maybe you're real fussy like me!)

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:36PM
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