Your Outlet Doesn't Work. What Now?

Posted on: 19 March 2018

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You plug an appliance into an outlet but it doesn't spring to life. What's wrong? There are a few things you can check before you call an electrician, though you do want to be careful. Here's how you get started.

First: A Warning

If you feel buzzing around an outlet, see sparks, or smell smoke, there could be a short somewhere in your wall. Not only should you not attempt to fix this yourself, but you should call an electrician immediately. A short could lead to a fire, which could quickly spread inside of the walls of your home.

If your outlet seems perfectly fine, on the other hand, there are some things you can try.

Test the Appliance

Before you go any further, remember to test the appliance on another outlet. Begin by testing in the room itself. If the appliance doesn't work in any outlets, then the appliance is dead. If the appliance doesn't work just in that room, it's likely to be either a wiring issue or a problem with the breakers.

Check Your Reset

Many outlets have a small "reset" button between plugs. This reset button should be pushed down until you hear a click. You may have to push it quite far before it does so. Attempt to use your appliance again.

These outlets "trip" their reset button when they detect a power surge. This is designed to protect you; this type of outlet, for instance, could protect you from an electrical current if you and a device get wet. They remain off until they are reset.

Look at Your Breakers

If the appliance doesn't work in that room and lights aren't turning on in that room, you may have an issue with your breakers. First, unplug or turn off everything that is in that room. Go to your breaker box and find the area that describes your room. Flip the switch to the fully "off" position and then toggle it back to on. You may need to push it quite hard until you hear a "click." If the appliance begins working now, the breakers had simply been tripped.

If none of the above has worked, then there's probably an issue with your wiring. If it's the entire room, then you may need to redo the wiring throughout the room. If it's only a single outlet, it's possible that the outlet has simply become loose. Once tightened, you'll be able to use it again as usual. 

For more information, contact a business like A To Z Electric Co.