You’ve plugged in your phone charger or vacuum to one of the outlets in your home and it still won’t work. Did the charger go bad? Is the vacuum cord broken? You might just have an outlet that has gone bad and will need to be addressed. As unfortunate as it is, there are some ways you can try and problem solve yourself and there are some issues that will require a licensed electrician to come to the rescue.
Tips to Try on Your Own
Flipping a switch will help you determine if the power to your outlet is controlled by a switch on the wall. Some outlets require that the switch be ON to be functional. If you are lucky, this might solve your problem! You will just need to remember to have the switch turned on when you want to use that outlet.
If that doesn’t work, try plugging something else into the outlet. This will help you determine if your power cord is the problem or if it is, in fact, the outlet giving you the issue.
After identifying that the outlet is the issue, it is time to check your breaker panel to see if any switches are turned to the middle or OFF position. Your breaker panel is often located in a basement or maintenance area of the home and it controls the power to your entire home. When you open the panel door, you will see that most of the switches are in the ON position. If there is one that is in between the ON and OFF position, first flip it to OFF and then you can flip it back to ON. This should reset the breaker and restore power to that area of the home. Your breaker box should be labeled making it easier to identify which switch is providing power to which area of the home.
If your outlet is a GFCI outlet, you might have the option to reset it on the outlet itself. These outlets are required in specific parts of your home such as the bathroom and kitchen and specifically anywhere where the outlet is near water. For your safety, these outlets will shut themselves off if they detect a short circuit. You can identify these outlets because they say “reset” and “test” in the middle of the outlet. You can fix this issue by pushing the “reset” button on the outlet itself and power should be restored.
If none of these identify and solve your outlet problem, it is time to call a licensed electrician to come and help you get to the bottom of it.
Other Sources of Bad Outlets
Burned out outlets are another reason that your outlet might not be working. These are a serious fire hazard and need to be addressed immediately. Oftentimes, this is a result of strong currents in your wiring causing a small fire that “burns” the outlet out. You might be able to detect this issue if you notice blackening on or near the outlet. Call an electrician right away if you experience this in your home.
A faulty connection of your electrical wiring could also be the cause of a bad outlet. You may feel comfortable identifying this issue, but there is no shame in calling an electrician to come and check it out for you. The outlet might just have loose wires behind the faceplate that need to be reattached in the right order and location to make the outlet functional again. The electrician will turn the breaker switch OFF to that location, take the faceplate off of the outlet, pull the outlet out a couple inches, and check to make sure all of the wires are secured and in the right location. They are able to fix this issue quickly if all goes well and you can be on your way with a functioning outlet again.
Sometimes, the only way to solve your issue is to replace the outlet all together. Although rare, some outlets get to a point where they have reached the end of their useful life and burn out on their own. A licensed electrician is able to safely and quickly identify this issue in your outlet and fix it for you.
Trust the Professionals
When in doubt, call the professionals. Here at Lux Electric, one of our team members is able to come out, identify the issue, and correct it safely and efficiently. While some may feel comfortable attempting to problem solve on their own, there is no shame in calling an expert when it comes to the electrical wiring of your home. We make it quick, easy, and painless and would be happy to answer your questions today.