Main circuit breaker causing me problems

I had some problems with my washer and dryer, and being the "seasoned home-owner" that I pretended to be I somehow came to the conclusion that turning the main circuit breaker off then on would solve everything. Now only about half of the rooms in my house have power. The one I turned off is in the garage, but I found the one with all of the little circuit breakers in my basement. Everything looks good in that one. I don't really know how this stuff works and I really regret having touched anything in the first place. Does anyone have any advice that could save me from calling the professionals?
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With the main off operate every breaker on off on off a couple of times. Leave off now turn on the main and turn on every breaker one at a time.
Hard to tell from here
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Thanks for the response. I tried doing that and it didn't do anything.
I have another question. Why is there a main circuit breaker in the garage and a main one in the basement with all of the little circuit breakers? Is there any relevence in the fact that me screwing with the one in the garage messed everything up?
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awesomejeffrey wrote:

<SNIP>
There is a problem with the Main breaker. In simple terms: the Main has 2 separate sections; each serves (roughly) half the rooms/circuits.
My advice: Do NOT touch it or attempt to turn it On or Off again. Call the utility and see if they can assist. Not all of them will, but some try to be very helpful.
Jim
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Sometimes an older circuit breaker will not reset both poles. I've had this happen to me, particularly with Federal circuit breakers. Try turning the main off and then on again and see if that corrects the problem. If not then you may have a bad main breaker that needs replacing.
It's also possible that you may have a loose connection to the breaker and by disturbing it you caused the connection to break altogether.
If you're not comfortable working around live circuits, you should call a pro.
What kind of problems are you having with your washer and dryer.?
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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Good answer from John, the thing to remember is that standard home panel services are set up with two 120 volt 'buses' and when both poles on the incoming breaker are not reset or making full contact, only one half the bus is energized. A cleaning or new main breaker/fuse may be the solution. I'll bet that the prob with the dryer was it was only running on 120 instead of the 240 its designed for. BTW, i'm no electrician but a left handed handyman that has had this happen before.

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