I am trying to help my daughter out. Her and my concern is that the she rents a home from an owner that seems to do alot of his own repairs and is not licensed in any way. So my daughter's duplex lost power to most of the outlets and the AC unit. She went to the panel looking for a breaker that may have tripped. All looked fine and not tripped. She proceeded to flip each off and then on and ended up with the same one breaker with power. She also tried to switch off the main and then back on. same results. She did call into to the utility company and reported it as an outage. They said that they would send someone out. End result she did get all power back several hours later, but does it make sense that there was power to only some breakers and not all? Could there be a wiring issue at the panel?

  • Which country?  (I'm guessing from the US terminology — ‘duplex’, ‘outlets’, ‘panel’,… — that this is about the USA, but it'd be useful to confirm, as such things vary a lot between countries.)
    – gidds
    Commented May 28 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


If no work needed to be done in the panel to resolve the problem then the likely situation is that one of the wires (a hot or the neutral) was broken or disconnected. If a hot wire is out then typically 1/2 the 120V circuits will work and the other 1/2 and all the 240V circuits will be dead. If the neutral wire is out then pure 240V circuits (e.g., water heater) will work but everything else will be wacky.

  • 1
    To clarify, when you're referring to the hot and neutral being out, you mean in the service line from the power company?
    – cr0
    Commented May 28 at 15:24
  • 3
    @cr0 Correct. It can be anywhere from the overhead or underground feed, to the meter, to the main panel. From utility to the meter is normally utility responsibility, and is also the most likely part to have problems due to wind (overhead) or water and animals (underground) but anything is possible. "she did get all power back several hours later" is an indication that this was a utility problem, because if it was not a utility problem then there would have been private electricians involved. Commented May 28 at 15:42

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