What If My Electrical Outlet Isn’t Working?
It’s the end of a very long day. You plug your cell phone charger into the wall, attach your smartphone, and head to bed. You wake up refreshed and ready to head out into the day. You grab your mobile, and it’s dead. What happened?
Why isn’t the electrical outlet working?
Safety should always be your top concern. Yes, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take yourself to see if you can fix the problem. Otherwise, there are times when calling in an electrician is your only action. If you have a question about electricity, call in a professional, and stay safe.
Still, there are a few things you can do to tell if your electrical outlet is working.
Start by ensuring you’re using the outlet in the correct way.
- Don’t overload the outlet with powerstrips and adapters.
- Only use the right-sized plug in each outlet.
- Ensure outlet plates are properly in place, they don’t feel hot to the touch, or show visible burn marks or other problematic signs.
If everything seems to be working correctly, it’s time to test a few more things.
- Ensure it’s the outlet and not the item you plugged in. Take your device and move it to another outlet in your home, one that you know is working. Does the device work?
- Check to see if it’s the outlet that isn’t working or if it’s an entire region. If you notice several outlets don’t work in an area, it might be a tripped circuit, or a bigger problem with your electrical wiring.
- Does the outlet have GFCI? These outlets come with the test and reset buttons built in. Press the reset; if it won’t work, or continues to trip, it’s time to call in a professional.
- If you do find outlets that aren’t working, unplug all items and leave those outlets alone until an electrician can get out and analyze the problem.
- Check the main electrical panel and see if it’s a tripped circuit or blown fuse. It’s easy to identify a tripped circuit as the lever won’t line up with the rest.
- If it is a tripped circuit and it continues to happen, it’s a sign of something bigger. It’s time to call in a professional.
You can also purchase an outlet tester from your local hardware store. When you plug this in, it has a sensor that can tell you whether the outlet is operating correctly. It will show if electricity is flowing properly, if it’s miswired or isn’t properly grounded.
This can give you the results you need in the best way to proceed. Be safe and call in your problem right away. It’s better to err on the side of safety and get the problem solved the right way as quickly as possible.