I rent a house in the US and recently have decided I’d like to add a refrigerator and exercise treadmill to my garage. The washer and dryer are already plugged into a receptacle in the garage so I was hoping that the new additions could plug into a second receptacle.

I don’t want to trip any breakers with all these new appliances, especially if they were all to run at the same time so I tried to figure out if the washer/dryer are on their own dedicated circuit, as well as which circuit powers the receptacle I’d like to use for the new additions.

I’m green when it comes to this sort of stuff. In my panel box there’s a circuit labeled “washer/dryer” but flipping it off does not power off anything in the house. I’ve tried the other breakers and combinations of them but nothing seems to power off the washer/dryer or the other garage receptacle. The ONLY thing that works is flipping off the 100amp double pole breaker, which shuts off everything in the house as well.

What’s going on here?

Can I safely assume that adding a treadmill and fridge to the garage won’t create excessive electrical load, since they are seemingly on a 100 amp breaker?

(I feel like I’m missing something here)

panel breaker

  • Try shutting all the breakers off at the same time except for the 100 Amp breaker. It's not uncommon for the labeling on the panel to be all wrong. Then check the garage for power.
    – JACK
    Mar 13, 2021 at 18:42
  • Have you tried turning off all of the breakers (other than the main) at the same time or just one by one?
    – DoxyLover
    Mar 13, 2021 at 18:44
  • Any other breakers on that meter center??
    – JACK
    Mar 13, 2021 at 18:44
  • 2
    Is there any chance there's a subpanel in the garage? Can you take a picture of the washer/dryer receptacles? And btw, 13 and 14 should probably be tied together at the handles. Mar 13, 2021 at 19:08
  • 1
    You mention that you rent. Electrical work is usually done by licensed electricians with landlord approval on rental properties per local ordinances. The “work allowed to be done directly by homeowner” clauses usually don’t apply because you are a renter and the homeowner... well nobody wants slumlords who hack together unsafe electrical solutions instead of calling in a licensed electrician to make sure its done properly. In either case, is your landlord cool with you doing the work? Mar 13, 2021 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


As a renter, your "work" can only consist of trying to track down what the actual relationship of circuits to locations is (see if there's another spot that "looks like" it could have had a washer/dryer, for instance) and trying the devices you want to run on the outlets you want to run them on to see if a breaker trips, or not - given that modern refrigerators are usually small loads (mine does 50-60W unless it's defrosting at 200W) your main likely issue with overloading would be don't wash and dry and treadmill at the same time.

We have some previous questions and answers about tracking down circuits. Labelling is often outdated or wrong - just be systematic and make a note of what breaker affects each device location.

Any electrical work on a rental has to be done by a licensed electrician (as others already commented.)

  • Circuit mapping: diy.stackexchange.com/a/36917/18078
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 13, 2021 at 19:42
  • Thank you for the response! I definitely am not going to be doing any electrical work on this house, nor do I have the knowhow to even attempt. As you stated, I'm purely just trying to understand the layout of the circuits and the implications of adding more electrically operated objects (treadmill, fridge, etc.) As for refrigerator loads, I understand that their running loads are low, like you stated, but how about their "starting loads"? A quick google search is showing me numbers in the 1000-2000W range
    – Hunter
    Mar 13, 2021 at 21:01

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