3 circuit breakers that "do nothing"

Jamina1June 20, 2014

We bought our house two years ago (built in the 1980's), and I've been gradually making updates to plugs, switches, and light fixtures as I go. One of the general annoyances is the lack of adequate labeling on my circuit breaker box, so I'm trying to systematically go through and label what each breaker does.

Yesterday, in an attempt to disconnect the power to a ceiling fan, I discovered at least 2 breakers that don't appear to do anything when turned off.
There is also a small tandem breaker in the box, the bottom half of which I couldn't determine to do anything either.

Any ideas if this is a "thing" (leaving breakers in the panel that don't do anything) or am I potentially missing something? I did find a circuit that controlled only ONE plug, as well.

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Sometimes breakers are installed in panels but are not wired, they actually just take up space where a knockout has been removed so that there can be no accidental intrusions to an area where there is a live bus.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Leave them off, if they were in use you will eventually find where.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Could be either. Maybe they don't even have a wire on them, or maybe you're just not finding what they control.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:55AM
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Ron Natalie

Hopefully you wont "eventually" find out they feed a sump or septic pumps, the smoke alarms, or some other important but less obvious outlet.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Hopefully he would check critical circuits after shutting them off, which I considered mentioning but figured it was common sense. How far do you go with advice without writing a novel? If people want to DIY on their home systems they bear at least some responsibility to use common sense.

This post was edited by joefixit2 on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 12:20

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Ron Natalie

And this he knows it's connected to something critical how?
When the basement starts flooding? When the toilets start overflowing (in a fit of stupidity, both the pumps and the high level alarm, nick named the deep sh*t alarm, in my old house are connected to the same breaker).

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:44PM
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"And this he knows it's connected to something critical how?"

by turning off the breakers and checking to see if the critical stuff still works?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 4:01PM
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