Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The breaker box at my brother's house is well marked and balanced except when a breaker is tripped half the house goes out. I'm currently living on the third floor of his house. When I turned on a small fridge the room went out as well as the stairwell, hall light, kitchen (including a separately breaker-ed microwave) and basement lights. Could all of these be on one breaker?

My brother swears it wasn't always like that and that since an ugly divorce things have been done to the house. I always thought he was paranoid but I have seen a couple of things that make me wonder.

I have traced back and nothing jumps out at me, no Uh-Oh's. Reading before about neutrals being bundled together made sense.

Any additional guidance, direction would be greatly appreciated.

share|improve this question
Did you open the panel (carefully) and look to see if the wiring had maybe been reconfigured? –  The Evil Greebo Nov 20 '12 at 13:39
Is it a single breaker going, or are several tripping at once? –  GdD Nov 20 '12 at 13:48
If it is an older home then it wouldn't surprise me. They used to run many fixtures and receptacles to a single circuit in an unbalanced way because it was easier and cheaper. Also because back then there were far fewer appliances as there are now so the risk of tripping the breaker back then was negligible even with 8 receptacles and several fixtures all on a single circuit. –  maple_shaft Nov 20 '12 at 14:14
Are other circuits going out, or does it just happen that a lot of the house is on one breaker? –  Steve Nov 20 '12 at 14:15
How old is this house? 200A service? Is this 1/2 of the main power entry breaker (200A)? –  Fiasco Labs Nov 20 '12 at 15:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.