If your power outlet is not working, the first thing to check is whether the circuit breaker is tripped. This is often the problem, and it’s an easy fix. However, what if the breaker has not tripped? What should you do if your power outlet is not working? Keep reading to find out what you can do to respond to the issue.
What Homeowners Can Do
When it comes to obscure electrical issues, homeowners are pretty limited in terms of what they can do to fix them. Most homeowners don’t have the training or experience necessary to tackle an electrical issue. They could easily make a mistake and get injured or electrocuted while working.
Even if they complete the job, incorrect work could cause sparks or a fire in the system down the road. Plus, some jobs require specialized tools that would prevent the average homeowner from starting the job in the first place.
If your outlets stop working but the breaker does not trip, it’s best to let the professionals handle it. You can contact an experienced electrician to get the job done right while keeping everyone in your house safe.
One of the first things a homeowner can do is check if the outlet affected is a GFCI outlet. These outlets contain breakers that allow them to shut off if a problem occurs. These outlets can be identified by a small button on the front, typically labeled “reset.”
If the affected outlet is a GFCI outlet, you can try resetting it. Simply push the button that says reset, and the outlet will reset. If the outlet is visibly damaged or charred, don’t try resetting it. Doing so can potentially be dangerous and cause an electric shock. To avoid an injury, call an electrician immediately.
What a Professional Electrician Will Do
A professional electrician will take different steps, depending on the nature of the problem. They will inspect your electrical system to find the issue before repairing it. Some common problems they look for include:
- Loose outlets
- Loose wiring
- Malfunctioning circuit breaker
- Outlet problems
A skilled electrician is specially trained, equipped, and licensed to handle problems like this.
Read More: Are Cloth Wrapped Wires Dangerous?
One of the easiest issues for an electrician to diagnose is an insecure outlet. This happens when the outlet gets loose and causes a disconnect in the flow of electricity entering the outlet.
Over time, items are plugged into outlets and unplugged from them repeatedly. This repetitive use causes the outlet and the wires inside to become loose over time. While this problem is easy for an electrician to spot, it’s still a serious issue. A loose outlet can lead to a harmful electrical shock.
Improperly Installed Wiring
Another route an electrician can take is to check the wiring. If the outlet in your kitchen or bedroom is not working but the breaker is not tripped, this may be a sign the wiring was not installed correctly.
This is especially a problem with older outlets. Loose wiring could lead to the outlet not working altogether. The electrician will inspect the outlet to determine the safest way to secure the wire and get your outlet working again.
Malfunctioning Circuit Breaker
A professional electrician will also check the circuit breaker. While breakers tend to last a long time, they can malfunction after an electrical short or surge. This can cause damage to the breaker. Testing and replacing a circuit breaker is a dangerous task, so be sure to leave this job to a professional if you suspect the breaker may be the problem.
Do You Need a Dedicated Circuit?
If your breaker is overloaded due to its location and what it’s providing power for, it may trip the breaker. Sometimes, this can even cause the breaker to fail completely. Unfortunately, the problem will continue to occur even if you replace the outlet and the breaker.
Your electrician can test the load on a circuit to determine if it’s overloaded. If it is, the panel box may need to be replaced, or the outlet might need to be rewired. Your electrician should handle the electrical panel installation, including helping you choose a panel that can support the required load.
Other Possible Reasons Your Outlet is Not Working
While these are the most common reasons your outlet isn’t working, there are a few other possibilities.
Outlets can burn out if the electrical current is too strong. This can create a small fire, causing the outlet to not work altogether.
Burned outlets are a major fire hazard. If you see any blackening, it means a fire has already occurred. The outlet should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage. Be sure to call a certified electrician for 24/7 emergency electrical services to get your outlet taken care of right away.
Half-hot outlets are ones containing one plug controlled by a switch. Usually, it’s the lower plug. If your outlet is half-hot, you might need to flip the switch to activate it.
It’s not common, but a defective outlet could be the problem. If you have already considered all of these possible causes, replacing the outlet might be the only effective route. Make sure you turn off the breaker before working on the outlet. Next, remove the covers, disconnect the wires, and reconnect the new wires.
Electrical Safety Inspections and Services
If your electrical outlets are inactive and the circuit breaker remains unaffected, you may attempt to troubleshoot the issue independently if you are comfortable doing so. However, it’s advisable to entrust electrical repairs to qualified professionals for your safety. If you can’t find the cause of the issue, it’s time to contact our technicians to perform an electrical safety inspection project.
Your electrical system can pose a hazard if there is hidden damage. Our expert electricians in Burke, VA, can perform an inspection to make sure your home is safe. If we find any problems, we will provide a wide range of electrical solutions.
We can handle everything from replacing your electrical panel to rewiring your home. With over 40 years serving Northern Virginia, you can trust our team to keep your home’s electrical system safe. Give our technicians a call at (703) 543-9649 to receive assistance replacing or fixing a damaged power outlet.