Outlets Not Working [Troubleshooting Dead Outlets]

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are any outlets not working? It is understandable to panic. However, more often than not, the solution is quite simple. You can even fix it yourself with the help of a few tools! This also helps you save on the service fees.

An outlet not working can also be an indication of a bigger issue. Therefore, you must carefully detect the issue before trying to resolve it.

Read on to find how you can troubleshoot this issue by yourself. We also discuss how you can detect the reason why your outlet is not working. A complete idea will help you solve the problem faster.

How to Troubleshoot a Dead Outlets?

Dead Outlets

In the case of your outlet not working, it is easy to assume the worse. However, it might just be an easily solvable problem. You do not have to worry if you are not adept at handling electrical tools. This job can be pretty easy. Follow the steps to find the outlet that is not working and how to fix it.

Check if Other Outlets Are Dead

First and foremost, you must check all outlets around the dead one. This will make it easier for you to get the work done at once. It will also indicate if there are any major problems.

  1. Turn on the switches of the nearby outlets to find if there is any other outlet not working.
  2. You can plug in an appliance or simply put in a voltage tester to see if it’s working.
  3. Unplug all appliances, no matter how small, from the dead outlets
  4. Mark the dead outlets so that it is easier to identify them later on

Proceed to the Circuit Breakers

Now that you have found out all the outlets that are not working, we can move on to how to fix them. The first and simplest method involves circuit breakers.

Look for the Tripped Circuit Breaker

Usually, a tripped breaker is caused by a faulty appliance connected to the circuit. It can also happen due to temporary overload. In some rare cases, it happens due to a loose wire from an electrical box. These can be the cause of your outlet not working.

  1. Go to where the circuit breaker panel is located. On opening the door of the panel, you will find all the circuit breakers.
  2. Switch off all the appliances before switching the circuit breaker on or off. Next, look for the tripped circuit breaker.
  3. To find the tripped breaker, look for one whose breaker handle is not lined up with the others. Another indicator is that they feel slightly softer than how solid they usually feel.
  4. If you do not find a visibly tripped breaker, firmly press all of them to the “off” position. Do this one by one to find the one that is behind your outlet, not working.

Reset the Tripped Breaker

  1. Switch off the tripped breaker. Do this by firmly pressing on the handle till you hear a click sound.
  2. To reset the breaker, firmly push the handle to “on.” On doing this, it should line up with the rest of the breakers.
  3. If it does not relax and pops back, there is possibly a problem with the wiring or with anything connected to the circuit.
  4. If it does not reset immediately, switch off the circuit breaker till you locate the problem.

The faulty breaker does not reset or trips again, there could be a major problem. Usually, that is either a problem with the ground connection or a short circuit. This can be dangerous, and you must look for them immediately.

Replace Burnt Fuses

Replace Burnt Fuses

Burnt fuses are a common reason for an outlet not working. Do not forget to check if there is a problem with the fuse.

  1. If you find burnt fuses, you must replace them. If you find charred glass or broken filaments inside them, they have been burnt.
  2. Make sure to replace it with the same specifications. Get a fuse of the same type and power measure.

Proceed to GFCIs

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI outlets are placed at points in the house where there is the greatest potential for shock hazards. If the above options have not been working, you should check out your GFCI outlet.

These Interrupters prevent fatal electrical shocks. They do so by immediately shutting off the power if they sense any leak in the flow of current. Most of the time, this is ignored as a potential reason for an outlet not working. This is why it is even more important you check, in case the above methods did not work.

  1. Outlets that are protected by GFCI usually have an indication label on them. Even if there is a leak in any one outlet, all the other outlets connected to the GFCI will stop working.
  2. Look for GFCIs everywhere in your house, test and reset them. Press the test button. If it does not pop out or reset, there might be no power in the GFCI.
  3. If the “reset” button repeatedly trips, there might be a current leak somewhere. This requires further testing. In such a case, it is best to call a professional electrician.

Check for Faulty Connections

If all of the above ways fail, you can look for faulty connections. They usually happen due to loose wires, loose terminal screws, or loose stab-in connections. They may occur together or individually. Look for them after removing the broken outlet.

  1. Take out all appliances from every outlet. Switch off the main breaker.
  2. At every screw terminal, bend the wires. If they are loose, burned, or charred, you will need to replace them.
  3. In case there is a fault, opt to change the whole outlet. This is because loose connections usually create heat that damages the outlet. Keeping this can cause problems in the future.
  4. To install a new outlet, bend a loop at the ends of the hot (black), neutral (white)
    and ground wires.
  5. Connect these wires to the brass, silver, and green screws, respectively. Wind these wires clockwise around the screws tightly.

Outlets Endnotes

Electrical work can be easy and convenient. With the above guide, we hope you could solve the problems regarding your outlet, not working. You must remember to take all the necessary precautions and follow the steps to prevent any mishaps. Nevertheless, if you feel the matter is too complicated, do not hesitate to call an electrician.

Bonus video: Is your outlet not working? See how to reset your GFCI outlets and circuit breaker

Is your outlet not working? See how to reset your GFCI outlets and circuit breaker

Thank you for reading!

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