This last weekend I was working outside when the lights went out from a tripped breaker. A house guest was running a blow dryer and personal heater in the bathroom and the house is much older so given it has 60 Amp box I wasn't surprised.

What did surprise me was the dryer in the laundry was running so I paused it and the outside lights came back on. I reset the breaker and walked in to the dryer and hit the button and the lights went off when the dryer started. I tested the plug and I had a dead leg.

I grabbed a new 220 receptacle and I noticed as I began to change it that 2 wires ran into each for both hots and the neutral. I then realized that the combo light switch for outside and washer plug in reciprocal were tied to the two hots, one to the switch and one to the plug . I haven't seen 2 separate hot lines into a 220 outlet that tied to other areas .

I changed the dryer receptacle and both the light switch and plug plus inspected all the wires for any burned wires and found none. The one leg is still dead and there isn't a double breaker in the box!! The lines are separate and I haven't a clue what to look for beyond unplugging everything and throwing each breaker to check for a bad breaker and no obvious issue and all outlets have power. Something isn't right and I'm stumped. Any ideas?

  • I'll let the pros sort this out. First of all, the 60 Amp service should not, by itself, be a problem, because it should be individual circuits that trip the vast majority of the time, rather than the main breaker. Since you don't have any double breakers, it looks like: (a) someone connected the dryer to two single circuits, which is quite dangerous because one could trip without the other (no common trip); (b) they piggybacked (as you noted from the double hots & neutrals) the dryer circuits (plural, should be one 240, not 2 120s) to other 120 loads, which is WRONG. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Nov 30 '18 at 16:24
  • Solution will be at a minimum: Move the dryer to its own double-pole 240V breaker. Then work to diagnose any remaining issues - given this one issue, who knows what else you will find. What will help the pros is if you can post a picture of the existing main panel. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Nov 30 '18 at 16:25
  • What is the make of the service panel? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 30 '18 at 17:58
  • I appreciate the assistance and my cell is giving me fits with the panel pic upload and my favorite auto correct while using voice to text. Yes I intended receptacle not reciprocal. I will home shortly and will use my pc – Ron Nov 30 '18 at 18:47
  • 1
    Aye, can we have a photo of the service panel please? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 30 '18 at 23:57

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