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Old 01-18-2019, 04:06 AM   #1
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Default Main Breaker - Miswired or Cross Connection Question

Hello all,

I am little confused and will be hiring a licensed electrical person to look at it, but wanted to get an idea of what maybe going on or if anyone has any experience seeing this type of issue.

In 2006 the building was converted from a 2 family to a 3 family by a licensed electrician with permits.. The building has 4 Main breakers connected to each electric meter. 1 common main breaker which control all the common lights in the lobby and hallways in the multifamily and seperate main breakers for Apt 1, Apt 2, Apt 3. Each main breaker is connected to a main electric meter. Total 4 electric meters.

Recently I discovered when I wanted to close the main breaker for Apt 2 the lights remained on, only 1 bedroom light went off.

- When I closed the (Common lights) breaker the 2nd apt light went off along with all the lobby lights. While the common lights main breaker was off.

- I turned the 2nd apt main breaker on and all the common lights and 2nd apt lights went on.

- When I leave the lights on in the 2nd apartment and lobby lights and when I close the (Common Lights) main Breaker the electric register on the 2nd apartment electric meter.

- When I close the 2nd apartment main breaker and keep the (Common Lights) main breaker on, the electric register on the 3rd apartment electric meter.

- The 1st apt and 3rd apt main breaker have no issues they turn off their apartment lights when I shut then off independently.

- Each apartment has a sub panel except the common lights which just has main breaker.

- the 2nd apt sub panel shuts off the lights.

- However to close the 2nd apt from the main. I have to close the common and 2nd apt main breaker to close the power for 2nd apt.

Thank you again for your help.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:26 AM   #2
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This forum is for professionals only.

You have two choices:

1. Try asking at www.diychatroom.com

2. Wait for your electrician to show up.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:01 AM   #3
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The issues that you are describing are not uncommon in buildings where renovations have been done to add additional rental units.

If the electrical work during the renovation was in fact done by a licensed electrical contractor that pulled permits and passed all inspections it is likely that the original contractor did the best work that they could within the budget they were given.

Why not call the original contractor to help you understand the situation?

The new electrical contractor that you hire will need to do a bit more than "look at it" to understand how the building is wired and to provide you with code-compliant solutions to remedy any issues with circuit breakers from one unit affecting power in another unit or the common area lighting. A licensed electrical contractor will charge a fee for this service.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:08 AM   #4
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I often get calls from people who have a 2/3/4 family house and want the power split between the units. OR, they already have the power split, but they noticed a circuit or two is wrong, kinda like what the OP describes.

The first thing I do before wasting any time on it is ask them how many thousands they are willing to spend to fix it.

They think it's going to be moving a couple wires at the panels, but in reality it ends up being rewiring.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting on ElectricianTalk.com. However, working with electricity and electrical systems can be unsafe if not done by a professional licensed electrician. The moderators of this site would like to advise you to contact a professional electrician in your area.

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