Last night, my kids woke me to tell me that power was out to half my house. This has happened a couple times in the past and we found that all of the neutral wires were loose in the electrical panel. I expected to find this again but everything was tight.

Several months back, I had problems in my kitchen (2 circuits). I locked the breaker out and eventually dropped the lead from the breaker.

I changed all of my breakers, including the main, this morning because these were the original ones in the house from 1984. Prior to changing breakers, I checked the voltage on all breakers, including the breaker that I dropped the lead to (it was off, by the way) and on this one breaker that was off I had 220 volts across it.

My question is this, would that breaker cause all of my issues or is it something more? I know this is an odd question. I'm trying to make it through the holidays and then I'm going to hire an electrician to rewire my house.

  • Call your power company NOW. Use the emergency number. You have a problem with neutral that’s I. The meter or on the pole. This is an EMERGENCY.
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 16:05
  • "Throwing parts randomly at a problem" is not an effective approach. I am skeptical that "all your neutral wires were loose", is it possible they just weren't as tight as you could make them? There is a correct tightness and it's not gorilla-tight. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 18:56
  • Also , shut everything off and call the emergency number, yes, this is a lost supply neutral and you will be sending up to 240V on lines intended for 120. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 20:20
  • The power company came out and said everything was "spot on" on their end. Also, when I said the neutral wires were loose, you could physically grab them with pliers and remove them from the neutral bar. They are all torqued back in at 25 inch pounds, give or take. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 22:45
  • I have an electrician coming out tomorrow to inspect everything on the inside and downstream from the meter. Obviously, something is wrong and a voltage reading of 220v on a deenergized circuit is clearly bad. I haven't inspected the panel under the meter and the poco didn't inspect that either. The problem could be there, I guess (???). Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


If you replaced your breakers on an older home and did not upgrade the wiring leading to each outlet as well as the outlet...you have issues. These breakers are designed for ground wires and older homes have a grounded box only. And in many cases an older home has copper wiring where as newer breakers are designed for aluminum. So a few checks need to happen...no aluminum to copper outlets. No copper outlets to aluminum wiring, And no aluminum wiring to copper breakers...and visa versa. Copper and aluminum will cause trips and fires if used together. And a breaker designed for continuous ground placed in a home with no continuous ground will also trip and kill you and your family. Hire a qualified electrician as you are putting your family in serious jeopardy! Cities have regulations on electricity because homeowners are NOT QUALIFIED!

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