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Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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How do I hook up 2 hotwires to one outlet

Resolved Question:

How do I hook up 2 hotwires to one outlet?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
Hi, is this a standard 120V receptacle? Do you have two screws on both sides of the receptacle? Are you replacing an old receptacle?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
yes to all questions
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
Ok... you can simply connect one wire to each screw. The two screws are connected via a small metal tab which make them continuous so connecting one wire to each screw on a receptacle powers the receptacle and also allow "joins" the wires so-to-speak. Or you can connect the two wires together and make a pigtail to connect to the receptacle. You would tie them all together with a wire nut, then connect the pigtail or lead to one of the screws on the receptacle. Again, because both the top and bottom parts of the receptacle are "joined" via the tab, you can connect the wire to either screw. And you would connect the white wires (neutrals) the same way.



Regards,

Mike




Edited by Mike Pettinato on 3/17/2010 at 12:20 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay, I am just making sure you understand these are 2 HOT wires (from 2 SEPERATE breakers) And there is another wire that is NOT hot and all 3 were hooked to 1 outlet. How would I wire this? Please be as specific as possible-Would LOVE a diagram!! LOL!! But will definitly accept your expert advice.
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
No, two wires coming from two separate breakers is completely DIFFERENT. If that's the case you would need break the tab that connects the two screws (top and bottom of receptacle) so they are separated. Then you would pigtail the third wire to one of the "hots" from the panel and connect to one screw, and then connect the other to the other screw. To meet code, these two circuits would need to be on a double-pole breaker in the panel so that turning power off to one kills power to the other automatically.



Regards,

Mike


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
This is the deal-We own a old trailer and the way they have the wiring is HORRIBLE-BACKWARDs and not normal(THINK TRAILER) My water heater sprung a leak and leaked onto this outlet under the trailer the only thing plugged into the out let was a blue wire that looked like CAT five but I think it may go to the water meter. It totally shorted out, all 3(9 wires) melted together and I can't seem to understand how to hook them up to another outlet. I used a tester and 2 of the wires are hot and one is not, is it possible that one of the hot wires comes off a junction box instead of a breaker? The reason I thought they both were on seperate beakers is because 2 SEPERATE breakers kept blowing.
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
It's possible but it wouldn't be considered "good practice" to double feed a box from the same circuit. But another possibility is that one of the wires isn't really "hot". If you're using a pen style touch type tester, they sometimes give false positives. You should always use a voltmeter to determine if a wire is really hot or not (make sure you're getting 120V). The only way to find out is to check the wires with a voltmeter then turn one breaker off and check them again, and then turn off the other breaker and check them again, or to physically trace them out. I really can't help you as far as determining where the wires are coming from (from junction box or breaker). Anything is possible. It's actually quite common for wires to branch off several different directions from receptacles and junction boxes. And as for the two breakers tripping, that could very well mean that there are two circuits in that box, but it is certainly no guarantee. If you have just had a water leak like that, you could have two separate problems.

Edited by Mike Pettinato on 3/17/2010 at 12:58 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
HERE we go again.....I am pretty sure that there are 2 circuits in that box, and as for the water leak, It never touched anything else just that box and it was a drip..drip..drip( VERY SLOW). If there is 2 SEPERATE circuits in that box how do I hook up the wires? You do understand that there is a bundle of 3 wires that equal 9 SEPERATE wires, right? 3 ground, 3 white, 3 black wires. And they all HAVE to go to one outlet. Can you walk me through this please? Thank you for your patience. I am very frusterated, this has been goin on for 6 days.
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.
Ok.. if these are indeed two separate circuits, just connect them just as I said previously. We already went over this, here is my quote from when you asked this earlier...



"No, two wires coming from two separate breakers is completely DIFFERENT. If that's the case you would need break the tab that connects the two screws (top and bottom of receptacle) so they are separated. Then you would pigtail the third wire to one of the "hots" from the panel and connect to one screw, and then connect the other to the other screw. To meet code, these two circuits would need to be on a double-pole breaker in the panel so that turning power off to one kills power to the other automatically."



Do the same thing for the white wires on the other side of the receptacle as you did for the black. Pair one up with one of the white wires, and connect the remaining white to the remaining screw. Break the tab that connects the two screws.



All grounds tie together and connect a lead to the ground screw on the receptacle.



And no problem, I'm glad to help!









Edited by Mike Pettinato on 3/17/2010 at 1:31 AM EST
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience: Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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