There are few things more frustrating than a dead wall outlet. Your home’s electrical wiring often seems mysterious and daunting. What do you do when your wall outlet is not working? When is it time to call for professional help?
Try a few of these tips to troubleshoot your outlet:
1. Try another device in the outlet
Just to make sure that it’s the outlet and not the appliance, try plugging something else into the outlet.
2. Is it a GFCI outlet?
Outlets near water sources are required by building codes to have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to prevent electrical shocks. You’ll find them in kitchens, baths, and laundry rooms. If your GFCI outlet is dead, reset it by pressing the button on the outlet.
3. Try flipping the light switch
Some wall outlets are wired as “lamp outlets” and won’t power up unless the wall switch is on. If you have a light switch that doesn’t seem to turn anything on, it may be the “lamp switch.
4. Blown breaker
Test the other wall outlets in the room. If they are also all dead, you’ll need to check the breaker panel.
Examine your electrical panel. If the breaker has blown, you’ll see the toggle switch set between “OFF” and “ON.” If it has, switch it to OFF first and then back to ON. Test your outlet to see if this resolved the problem.
Note that this means your circuit is overloaded. Unplug something on that circuit to prevent it from overloading again, or you’ll end up right back where you started.
When to Call a Pro
If you’ve gone through the previous troubleshooting steps and the wall outlet is still not working, it may be time to call in a professional technician.
1. Short circuiting
If you had to reset the breaker, and it blows again, even though you have unplugged appliances on that circuit, you may have a short circuit.
Short circuits are dangerous and cause fires, so if this happens, or if you see burn marks or soot on the wall outlet that’s not working, call in an electrician.
2. Loose wires
Sometimes you’ll find that wires have loosened to the outlet. They become dislodged by force when stiff plugs are hard to plug in.
Cut the breaker, remove the plate, and check the wiring yourself if you feel confident of your skills. Otherwise, call in a pro to check and replace the outlet.
3. Bad outlet
Occasionally, wall outlets need replacement, and again, a confident DIY homeowner can usually replace these easily. However, this may be another situation where a trained technician is necessary.
If you have gone through our troubleshooting steps without finding the problem, or don’t feel comfortable working with electricity, you’re not alone. Make an appointment today with the team at Mr. Sparky in Pleasantville. We’ll efficiently find and resolve the source of the problem.