Need to turn off 2 circuit breakers to turn off fixture

goldenretriever51February 3, 2013

We recently moved into a 1950s home. In trying to replace a fixture, we discovered that in order to turn off the power to it we need to switch off 2 circuit breakers. At least one other fixture is wired this way too. I've never encountered this before.

Is this just how they wired things in the 50s? Is this a safety hazard or just an unusual but safe method? Is it easy to fix? Is it an issue with how the wires are connected to the box or is it the wiring behind the walls?

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bus_driver

Tell us the make and model of the breakers. That may indicate that the panel was swapped after the house was initially built. The condition is dangerous for multiple reasons. When I have found this problem, it often was that two circuits went to a wall box and got tied together. In cases like this both circuits feeding that fixture(s) must be on the same pole of the service in order not to create a dead short circuit. Find and discontinue the interconnection.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:40PM
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brickeyee

What are you measuring voltage with?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:52AM
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goldenretriever51

The panel has been replaced, about 20 years ago. I'm not using anything to check voltage - literally the light stays on unless you switch off both breakers. I won't be doing any work on this myself - I am just trying to figure out how big of a mess I've got on my hands and how urgently it needs to be addressed.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:48PM
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