Troubleshooting a Malfunctioning Outlet
Have you ever plugged in an electronic device, only to discover it won’t turn on because there is no power flowing from an outlet? It might seem more daunting to deal with a malfunctioning outlet than something simpler like a lightbulb change. But there are some DIY tricks you can safely try before you call a trusted electrician.
Here are a few tips for troubleshooting a malfunctioning outlet from our team of licensed electricians at 24/7 Electric.
Step 1: Check for Simple Solutions
Before you start handling any wires or panels, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have gone over a checklist of simple solutions. Make sure the issue you are having isn’t with the appliance itself by plugging it into another outlet on the opposite side of your house. If the problem is definitely not with the appliance, it’s time to move on to the circuit.
Plug in the same appliance to an outlet nearby the initially problematic one. Check to see if there is only one outlet malfunctioning, or if there are several without power in the same room. You might just need to reset the circuit protecting those outlets. To do this, simply press the “test” and “reset” buttons on your GFCI outlet cover. If that doesn’t solve the problem, your troubleshooting will have to go a bit more in-depth.
Step 2: Test the Room
If you noticed that other outlets are dead but pushing “reset” did not solve the problem, next check on the lights in the same room or area of your house to see if they turn on normally. You will need to unplug nearby lamps, appliances, and electronics to determine if they are overloading the circuit and causing it to short. Make note of any outlets or switches that are dead with small pieces of tape.
Step 3: Check the Circuit Breakers
After you have unplugged everything and marked any problematic outlets, you need to look for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Go to your main electrical panel (usually found in the garage, basement, or laundry room). Open the panel door and examine your circuit breaker or fuse box.
Tripped circuit breakers are easy to spot: just look for switches that are not aligned with the rest. When you try to push them into the “on” position, they will feel less solid. Once you have identified the tripped circuit, you can reset it easily. Firmly press it into the “off” position until you hear a click. Then firmly push it back into the “on” position so that it lines up with the otherswitches. After that, your outlets should work normally again. If the breaker switch returns back to the tripped position with a pop, there is an issue with your wiring instead.
If you have a fuse box, you will have to purchase and replace any blown fuses. Look inside the fuses broken filaments or dark glass burned as the fuse blew out. Once you have identified any blown fuses, unscrew them and replace them.
Professional Help with a Malfunctioning Outlet
If you have reset your GFCI outlets and your circuit breakers and you have one or more outlets that still aren’t working, you might have a more serious problem like loose wiring. In these circumstances, it’s always best to call a professional to avoid electrocution, electrical fires, or further damage to your wiring.
If you have faulty outlets or wiring in your home, 24/7 Electric can help. Our licensed and highly trained electricians are fully equipped with the skills and resources they need to fix your electrical problem.