Why Are My Outlets Not Working?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
Outlet failure can be traced to poor wiring connections, a tripped GFCI, a tripped circuit breaker, or electrical system burn out. There are a couple of ways you can troubleshoot the source of the issue, and in many cases, you’ll need to replace your outlet to resolve the issue.
Common Causes of Crashed Outlets
Your outlets receive power from an electrical current that runs through an electrical circuit. Several parts of your electrical system are involved, and if one of these parts is faulty, it would likely impact your outlets.
Circuit Connection Interruptions
If there’s an interruption, or an opening in the circuit, the electrical current won’t be able to flow, and your outlet won’t be able to access the power source.
Loose or faulty wiring in your electrical system can prevent power from flowing to your outlets.
A Tripped or Faulty Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
Your GFCI outlets are designed to act as a safety mechanism in the event of a sensed circuit imbalance. When it senses an imbalance, the GFCI will interrupt power to the outlet in order to keep you safe from electrical shock. It’s entirely possible that your GFCI has tripped for this very reason, or else it may be faulty and tripped for no clear reason.
A Tripped Circuit Breaker
In your electrical system, your circuit breaker runs the show — your outlets cannot function without a working one. A circuit breaker can trip when the circuit is overloaded, causing the power to stop.
When you’ve got too much current flowing through your electrical circuit, you may overload the circuit, heating up the wires and causing the fuse, wire connections, or wires to melt and break. This would result in a burnt out electrical current system, and your outlets would lose function.
It’s Actually the Outlet
Though it’s uncommon, sometimes the source of the issue is none other than the outlet itself. If you’ve got a faulty outlet on your hands, you’ll need to have it replaced.
Getting to the Source: Troubleshooting Outlet Issues
In order to confirm the source of the issue, find out which (and how many) outlets aren’t working properly. Test multiple electrical appliances in your outlet to be sure that the issue is with your outlet and not your appliance. You can also test multiple outlets in your home to determine whether or not a single outlet is to blame or if you’ve got a problem with your entire electrical system.
Resetting your GFCI
If your GFCI outlet shut off for one of the reasons listed above, you’ll need to reset it. This is easy: Simply push the "reset" button on your GFCI outlet, then check to see if your issue has been resolved. If it trips again, it's time for a technician to find out why.
Checking and Resetting Your Circuit Breaker
Think the source of your issue might be a tripped circuit breaker? You can check on your circuit breaker at the breaker panel, which is usually found in the basement, garage, or in a utility closet in your home.
Open the door to your breaker panel to find the individual circuit breakers.
If your breaker did trip, then one of these switches will be resting between the “On” and “Off” positions.
Flip it to “Off,” then back to “On” to reset your breaker.
After resetting the breaker, check to see if your issue has been resolved.
## Outlet Out of Date: How To Fix Broken Outlets If these troubleshooting steps can’t resolve your issue, it might mean your outlet is broken and will need to be replaced. It’s not uncommon for outlets to give out with wear and tear, overuse, or some other unforeseen electrical issue.
Electrical Outlet Replacements and Installations
This is rarely a DIY job: Contact your local electrician to discuss having your electrical outlet replaced. An electrical specialist will inspect your electrical system and get your problem fixes quickly and safely.
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