how to deal with dead electrical outlet

Home Owner 101: Dead Outlets And How To Fix Them

You find out that your phone is low on battery, so you decide to charge it. You plug it onto a charger and stick the device to a wall outlet. Soon you realize that the phone is not charging at all. Your charger is brand-new, so the device is not the culprit. Then that could only mean one thing. Your outlet might be dead or damaged. So you will have to look for a different outlet in your room or somewhere else in the house.

To have an outlet that does not function can be bothersome for any homeowner. But that does not mean it is the end of the world for you and your poor phone. You can do something about it. You can either work on it or get some professional help. You will need a lot of tools once you decide to deal with a dead outlet. You can get tools, supplies, and other components by visiting

Why An Outlet Does Not Work

Below are a few reasons why an outlet or two in your home does not work:

1. Bad connection

You will require a box to install an outlet anywhere in your home. This box can run into an issue or two. One of its issues could be a bad connection. That means the wirings inside the box do not have proper connectivity. It can also be that the screws are damaged.

2. GFCI outlet

Another reason your outlet might not be working is that it is a GFCI variant. A GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter outlet has a different purpose. You utilize such an outlet to reduce the severity of an electrical shock. A GFCI outlet works around the clock to stop a short circuit by shutting itself down.

electrical safety tips for homeowners

You might be wondering how to find out if an outlet is a GFCI or not. That is simple. All you have to do is to test and reset the buttons located between the two plugs. You do not have to worry if you find out that this is the case. All you have to do is press the reset button. Your outlet will be working once more. It is as easy as that.

3. Old wirings

It could also be that your outlet has worn-out wirings. That can be why it does not work. Wiring is the primary method of electrical transportation. Electricity could not travel properly through connections if a wire or two is old and damaged. Other signs tell of a faulty outlet wiring. Check them out:

  • Lights flickering
  • An outlet is warm or hot as you touch it
  • There is a constant buzzing sound coming from the device
  • An outlet has this burnt smell
  • An outlet also has burnt marks
  • It can be that your electrical system is out of date or old

4. Circuit breaker trip

Unintended electrical currents cause a circuit breaker to trip. Such an occurrence might cause the device to shut off an outlet. It does so once an outlet becomes overloaded. It can also happen when an outlet becomes short-circuited.

Also Read: Emergency Electrical Situations: What to do Before the Contractor Arrives

What You Can Do

There are several ways how you can deal with a dead or malfunctioning electrical outlet anywhere in your home. Let’s get through some of them.

  • Plug something else

The first thing you have to do is make sure that the issue lies with the outlet itself. Sometimes it is what you plug into an outlet that might be the problem-maker. So what you can do is take a working lamp and plug it into the outlet. Once it lights up, then that means it is the appliance or gadget that has issues.

  • Look for an outlet switch

Some outlets have switches connected to them. So you will have to locate one if ever. Any individual might think that an outlet does not work because of some electrical issue. They rarely have the mindset to check for a switch first. Unfortunately, this aspect happens a lot more than you can think.

how to deal with dead electrical outlet

Try to flip all the switches in a room. Do so while there is something plugged into the outlet in question. You can move on if no switch does the trick.

  • Take a look at the breaker panel

The next step you can take is to check your circuit breaker panel. Perhaps the outlet circuit had tripped one way or another. Open the panel up and see if any breaker has tripped. How do you do so? The breaker will be resting between the ON and OFF positions. All you have to do is flip the breaker off and back to the on position.

  • Locate a tripped GFCI breaker

GFCI components protect you and your family from electric shocks. You can locate these components in electrical outlets in damp locations at home. Their job is to keep you safe should water get in contact with the panel. Such locations include the following:

  1. Kitchen
  2. Bathroom
  3. Patio
  4. Garage
  5. Other exterior locations.

A GFCI breaker has two primary buttons, namely the RESET and TEST. A tripped one will have a protruding RESET button. All you have to do is push it in. Doing so will reset the outlet.

It will also go a long way for you to check each and every GCFI outlet in your home.

  • Call an electrician

Let us consider that you have exhausted all the options to fix a damaged or dead outlet. You realize that the problem might be too complicated for your skills. The last thing you can do is call a professional electrician. They will handle the job on your behalf for a fair price. Not only that, but an electrician has the skills and equipment to deal with any issue more efficiently.

But do make sure that any contracting electrician you hire is accredited and legit. You might have to deal with more problems later on if you do not take a background check. You are putting yourself and your family at risk. You will spend more cash, and you will lose more time. So it is better that you take the necessary precautions and be safe as you hire.

The Takeaway

A dead outlet might seem like an ordinary matter. But the reality is that the issue might be more complicated than you think. You still have the option to work on a dead or damaged outlet. But once you realize that you cannot solve an outlet issue, it would be best to leave it to the professionals.

Salman Zafar

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