Flipping my main breaker

Old 02-14-17, 05:55 AM
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Flipping my main breaker


I have to rewire an outside light that is currently a motion light that only works about half of the time. With its sporadic behavior I can determine which breaker it is on. On my breaker panel there is one 200Amp breaker on the top called "main" or something along those lines. Would this turn the power off to the entire house? IF so, could I just flip that one and then rewire. It should only be for about 15 min to get the new light up. Is there anything bad that could happen from cutting all of the power off to my house? I know that the heat wont run while this is flipped but that should be a big deal it is supposed to be 60 this weekend so I am not concerned with having it off for that short of time. Other than resetting all of the clocks in my house is there anything else that I am over looking?

Old 02-14-17, 06:24 AM
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If you don't know for sure that flipping that specific main breaker will remove electricity to your entire house. And if you don't know how to test the light to BE SURE power is off (before doing any work), then I would recommend hiring an electrician.

There can be multiple breaker panels in a house. So turning off just one main breaker on one of those panels might not remove power from whatever you want to work on.

So best to call an electrician and be safe. When the electrician comes out, ask if that main breaker turns off everything in the house.

And generally you would just need to reset clocks when the power goes out. Best to shut down computers before turning off power. Note some homes and hospitals have life critical medical devices which can't be without power.
Old 02-14-17, 06:25 AM
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Yes you could but this is a good time to find out which breaker works that light. If yours works like mine any time I have a momentary interruption in power the light comes on and stays on. To fix this I have to turn off light for 30 seconds and works good. This is one time a non contact tester will work. Take light down put leave wire along. click each breaker off and check black wire for power. Also a good time to map out your house power breakers.
Old 02-14-17, 07:59 AM
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If you only have the one panel in your house you can shutoff all the power by flipping the main. You can also just turn off the one breaker that feeds that circuit once you have identified the correct one.
Old 02-14-17, 05:25 PM
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Always check with a reliable meter (not a non-contact voltage tester) before doing any work on a circuit.
Old 02-15-17, 05:35 AM
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Often times there is a switch that controls a motion sensor light, if you switch the switch off then on the light will stay on,do you have a switch near the door?if so try this,if the light stays on you can easily locate the breaker now.

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