Tired of fighting with an outlet that can’t seem to work consistently? We know just how maddening that can be! The experts here at Speedy Electric are here to talk to you about how to troubleshoot and handle a dead outlet, and when it’s time to call in the specialists.
Like any good troubleshooting or diagnostic session, we’ll begin with the most obvious stuff first.
Look for Clear Signs of Serious Electrical Issues
First up we’ll want to ensure there aren’t any immediately pressing or dangerous concerns, which is easy enough to spot if you know what you’re looking for:
- Is the outlet burned, discolored, or melted?
- Are nearby appliances working properly?
- Is the outlet sparking when you plug things into it?
- Are there any strange odors in the room?
If you answered yes to any of these then you should immediately shut off the circuit if it is safe to do so (at the panel) and call in an electrician. Not only is that outlet dead, it could stand to kill a whole lot more of your home’s electrical, and could even cause an electrical fire in your home.
Find Out if It’s Actually the Outlet
You most certainly do not want to call in an electrician and shell out for service if the problem wasn’t even with the outlet in the first place! Before you do any real investigating you’ll want to check these things:
Try plugging in another appliance. Drag over a lamp or other small device that you’re 100% certain is in working order and plug it into the affronting outlet. If the appliance works fine, then the fault isn’t with the outlet, but with the appliance you were trying to use.
Check the breaker panel. In most cases when a breaker trip occurs it will kill all of the outlets on that circuit, usually cutting off lights and other active outlets in the room or section of the home. However, if the outlet you’re trying to use is dedicated, as would be the case with a microwave or oven outlet, or even a fridge, then it’s on its own breaker. Check to see if that tripped, and if it did, give it a reset.
Check Your Home GFCIs
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are used in areas where the outlet might be exposed to moisture. That means kitchens, bathrooms, utility spaces, outdoors. These outlets have the ability to kick themselves off if a problem occurs, and when they do they shut down the entire circuit they’re associated with. Check all of the GFCIs in your home to see if they’ve tripped (The “reset” button will be poking out more than usual) and if they have, go ahead and reset them.
If you’ve made your way through the list, and still haven’t resolved the issue, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are here to talk you through the process, and are happy to come out to take a professional look.