Troubleshooting a Dead Outlet
Troubleshooting a Dead Outlet
March 22, 2019
Has one of your electrical outlets stopped functioning? This is one common problem you might be able to solve at home before you have to call in the pros.
At Buzz Electrical, we are always happy to save our customers time and money. But we also believe safety comes first, and we encourage homeowners to give us a call before performing any major electrical repairs.
Here is our checklist for troubleshooting a dead outlet. If you try everything on the list with no luck, it’s time to call a licensed electrician.
Checklist: Trouble Shooting a Dead Outlet
1. Test the appliance.
This might seem silly, but it’s worthwhile to check that the problem isn’t with your appliance rather than your electrical wiring. Try plugging a phone charger or a lamp into the outlet you suspect is dead. Plug the same device into a different outlet on the opposite side of your house. If the problem lies with a faulty appliance or weathered cord, your problem is solved. If not, move on to step 2.
2. Look for a switch to the outlet.
In some homes and apartments, power flow to an outlet is controlled by a wall switch. If you have just moved in to a new place and suspect an outlet is dead, look around the room for a switch that doesn’t control a light fixture or ceiling fan. Leave a small device like a lamp or a phone plugged in to the outlet and try various switches until your device powers on. If this doesn’t solve the problem, move on to step 3.
3. Reset the GFCI breaker.
In rooms with a source of water, such as kitchens and bathrooms, your home should have GFCI outlets to protect you from electrical shock. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) detect disturbances in the flow of electricity and shut off power completely if anything seems wrong. This can happen if a device you are using comes into contact with water, or even if there is a power surge.
GFCI outlets are easy to spot because they have two rectangular buttons that say RESET and TEST. If the breaker tripped and disconnected power to a GFCI outlet, the RESET button will be protruding outward from the surface of the plate. Push it in to reset the outlet and try to plug in and use a small appliance.
Sometimes GFCI outlets are connected to each other, so you may have to hunt for all of them and reset them to make sure they are all working. If this doesn’t solve the problem, move on to step 4.
4. Check your breaker panel.
Even if the dead outlet is not a GFCI, the problem might still be a tripped circuit breaker. Take a look at your electrical panel. If you see any breakers flipped in between the “on” and “off” positions, you have found the source of your problem.
Flip a breaker all the way off and then back on to reset it. If you don’t find any tripped breakers, move on to step 5.
5. Call a professional.
If none of these life hacks helped fix your dead outlet, it may be a problem with the wiring or the connection to your electrical panel. We advise our customers not to try any major DIY electrical repairs. Not only can it cause more harm than good for your wiring, it can lead to deadly mistakes.
If you have a dead electrical outlet, give us a call!
If you just tried to troubleshoot your dead electrical outlet to no avail, don’t despair. Our team of expert electricians is on call and ready to help. Call today for electrical repair service in Fayetteville, AR.
Family owned and operated Buzz Electrical is Fayetteville’s leading electrical company! If you need an electrical outlet repaired in your Arkansas home, we are here to help. Give us a call at (479) 267-2899.