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Steps to Take if An Electrical Outlet is Not Working in Your Home

Albuquerque Electrical Box Basics by Add On Electric 505-804-9534

Unbelievably, a homeowner can frequently fix a faulty outlet before calling in a specialist. To find out which options require an electrician, read on.

When you connect your phone charger to a kitchen outlet, sometimes it doesn’t charge as usual—it appears like this one electrical outlet wasn’t working. Is there anything I can do to repair the outlet? Do you need an electrician?

While an electrician may be required in some circumstances, the homeowner may often fix the reason behind a non-working outlet. We’ll look at the most prevalent causes and treatments, starting with those you can fix yourself.

Firstly, a word on outlets: they are termed “shutters,” and the little hole underneath each set is the “ground.” Most sockets support 2- or 3-prong plugs. The third hole (the “ground”) may not be present in earlier wiring. To troubleshoot, keep this anatomy in mind.

Flip a light switch in the room to determine whether you have a half-hot outlet.

This sort of outlet differs from ordinary outlets in that half of it (typically the bottom half) is controlled by a wall switch. A half-hot outlet allows you to plug in a lamp, turn it on, and control it with the light switch. If you see a switch on the wall that doesn’t seem to do anything, flip it, and try the outlet again.

Plug something different into the outlet.

If the problem isn’t with the socket but with your phone charger, try plugging in a hairdryer or a light.

If it’s a GFCI outlet, it may need to be reset.

Building rules mandate GFCIs in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms—anywhere near water. Water and electricity do not mix. With or without GFCIs, electric shock injuries were more likely to occur when using an electrical item like a hairdryer while in water. The electrical current might electrocute the victim.

When a GFCI outlet detects an electrical surge, it automatically shuts off to prevent electrocution. GFCIs are unstable and can trip even without a surge. But it’s fixable: To reset the GFCI, press the little rectangular button in the middle. Then plug in your charger and test it.

Some jobs are better left to the pros.

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Check other sources for functionality.

When one outlet loses electricity, other adjacent outlets usually also lose power—test other outlets in the room with your charger. We’ll check the breaker panel next to see if any additional outlets are dead.

Check your home’s breaker panel to see if any breakers have flipped.

Breaker panels are found in utility rooms or basements and include many breakers (switches) that regulate the power to various parts of your home. Open the panel door and notice one or two rows of switches labeled “OFF” and “ON.” If a breaker trips, the switch will be in the ON position. If one is in the center, flip it first to the offside, then to the onside. That’ll reset it. Retest the faulty outlet.

Unplug something to keep it from overloading the electrical circuit.

You might have overloaded the circuit if the electricity came back on after turning the breaker. An overloaded circuit occurs when too many objects (particularly heat-generating appliances) are plugged into the same circuit. If you try to use more electricity than the circuit can manage, the circuit breaker will trip and disconnect the power.

There might be a short circuit if the breaker tripped, but the circuit wasn’t overloaded.

A short circuit happens when two wires accidentally touch, interrupting the intended flow of electricity. A short circuit can cause a fire. If the breaker flips again after resetting it, turn it off and call an electrician.

Loose connecting wires can cause an outlet to lose power.

If you’ve tried everything and still have no power, it might be due to lose wiring. If you’re not sure about the outlet wiring, ask an electrician.

It’s not challenging to inspect the wiring yourself. First, turn off the outlet’s breaker. Use a screwdriver to remove the faceplate from the outlet and the screws holding it in place. This will allow you to take the outlet out of the box.

Make sure the wires are correctly connected beneath the outlet screws. In this case, the white wire connects to the silver screw on the other side. The bottom of the outlet has a copper or green wire. Then, put any loose wires back together by putting them under the corresponding screw and tightening them down.

The outlet itself could be faulty.

Although it is rare, an outlet might burn out or get damaged somehow, causing it to stop working. After trying the preceding methods without success, you may want to try changing the electrical outlet altogether. Please remember to turn off the circuit breaker that powers the outlet if you plan to do it yourself again. Then, using a screwdriver, carefully remove the outlet cover and detach the wires from the old outlet. When installing the new outlet, you should do the opposite of what you did in the previous step. Make sure that the wires are connected the way they were in the previous step.

If you still can’t connect to the outlet, you need to call an electrician.

The electrical system in a home is complicated, and electricians have specialized equipment and tests to assist them in finding electrical faults that would otherwise be impossible to detect on their own. If the previous methods did not resolve the problem, it is good to have an electrician examine the situation.