What to do when the electrical outlet is not working

Electrical Outlet

Non-working electrical outlets can be an inconvenience. (Photo Credits)

An electrical outlet that is not working can not only be an inconvenience, it may also indicate that there is something that needs to be fixed in the home’s electrical system.

Home improvement website Family Handyman shared a guide on dealing with dead electrical outlets. It assured that while such an incident can also be indicative of a complicated electrical issue, there are times as well that it does not mean much and would only need simple troubleshooting from a licensed electrician. Build Safe   

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“When an outlet goes dead, it’s easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst. But more often than not, the problem is something simple, and you can save the cost of a service call just by taking a few steps to trace the cause. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable doing electrical work. Better than half the time, you’ll solve the problem without even lifting a tool. We’ll show you how to start your search for the problem by checking in the most likely places. If that doesn’t work, we’ll show you where to look for loose connections that may be to blame, and how to fix them. Of course, there will always be problems that are best left to an electrician. But if you take these steps first, there’s a good chance you’ll find the solution.”

Take a look at the rest of the guide here.

Troubleshooting tips

Home improvement and troubleshooting website BobVila.com also shared a version of a guide on dealing with non-working electrical outlets. He likewise explained why these take place and what it could mean in relation to the home’s electrical system. Electrician    

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“If it’s a GFCI outlet, it might have shut off automatically and need to be reset. Building codes require the installation of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms—anywhere near water. As you (hopefully) already know, water and electricity don’t mix. Before the advent of GFCIs, electric shock injuries were more likely to occur if someone was standing in water, sitting in a tub, or otherwise in contact with water and they were using an electrical appliance, such as a hairdryer. The electrical current could surge through the person, electrocuting them. When a GFCI outlet senses a surge in electricity, it’s designed to shut off to minimize the risk of electrocution. Unfortunately, GFCIs can be temperamental and shut off occasionally, even when a surge has not occurred. But it’s an easy fix: Just push the small rectangular button on the center of the outlet and it will reset the GFCI. Then, pug in your charger and see if it comes on.”

Take a look at the other possible reasons they cited here.

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Third Party Service Ratings Website Angie’s List meantime came up with a list of possible reasons why outlets do not work, what it means and what can be done about it. In its article it mentioned a root cause of non-working outlets that should definitely not be ignored by a homeowner.

“Sometimes electrical outlets will literally burn out. A brief flare and fire can cause the outlet to stop working. If an electrical outlet begins to spark or shows any sign of blackening around the outlet plugs, it should not be used. Even if one plug is working, the entire outlet should be replaced immediately to avoid the possibility of starting a fire. To easily determine if your outlet problem results from a broken outlet or the appliance you are using, plug something else into the outlet. Before calling the professionals, check all GFCI electrical outlets in the room and check the circuit breaker or fuse panel.”

Check out the rest of the original post here.

When unsure as to how to go about dealing with a powerless outlet, it will always be best to call for the services of a licensed electrician contractor.

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