When one or more outlets in the home suddenly stop working it’s easy to assume the worst. Before you panic, it’s good to know that there are some things you can try to solve the problem. However, when these don’t work, be sure to call in the pros.
Tips to troubleshoot your electrical outlet
- Confirm the problem
When one outlet stops working out of the blue, confirm that there is a problem. Plug the same appliance to other outlets in the home and another appliance to the suspected outlet and working ones. This helps you identify the faulty outlets and their location. After this is done, unplug all appliances from the dead outlets and mark them for easy identification later.
- Check the circuit breakers
Next is to check for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. The circuit breakers or fuses can be found in the electric panel. The electric panel can be found by following the electrical wires from outside the home to the point where they enter. It is usually installed in the garage, utility room, or basement.
Check the panel for any breaker whose switch is not in line with the others. Tripped breakers can be reset by taking the switch to an OFF position and then back ON again. Make sure you hear a click in the OFF position before switching to the ON position.
If the breaker trips again, there is no need to overdo it. Simply call an electrician and avoid using the outlet.
- GFCIs Check
The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets are those strange-looking outlets you see in some areas of the home where there is a higher risk of electric shock. GCFIs protect you from electric shocks by shutting off the power when a leak or unusual electric surge is detected.
GFCI protected outlets are often labeled to help you point them out, but it is also common for those labels to fall off after some time. Test and reset the GFCI by pressing the reset button. If the GFCI refuses to reset and just keeps tripping each time you press it, stop the action and call a professional at The Electric Connection.
- Electrical outlet tester
An electrical outlet tester is like an easy way to troubleshoot your faulty or dysfunctioning outlet. Plug the tester into the outlet and read the light patterns. The tester easily shows if the outlet is mis-wired or improperly grounded.
Safety tips before troubleshooting
- Ensure that there is no bare wiring from the outlet or the appliance you plug into the outlet.
- Don’t force the wrong sized or shaped plug into the outlet.
- Don’t overload your outlets.
- If the outlet sparks, shut it off and call an electrician.