An electrical outlet might go dead for a number of reasons. Some are relatively harmless, while others can be dangerous to your home. You may be able to troubleshoot what may have caused a dead outlet, but it’s important to put safety first! Check out this safe how-to guide for troubleshooting a dead outlet that gives you a step-by-step process and lets you know when to call for professional help.
Why Dead Outlets Can Be Dangerous
Dead outlets can be dangerous for your home and everyone in it because the problem may be a fire hazard. When you plug in your device or appliance, and nothing happens, it’s vital to figure out why. Electrical failures are the second-leading cause of house fires in the United States, and they account for the most property damage and deaths.
Take the Right Safety Precautions
If you’re going to start troubleshooting an electrical outlet that doesn’t work, make sure you take the proper precautions to avoid catastrophic injury. Turn off the power at the breaker box in your basement and never touch an electrical connection that has power running to it, even if the outlet isn’t working.
Troubleshoot the Problem
Before getting into the deep work that requires shutting off the power, first look for simple things. If there’s a “reset” button, press it and see if that works.
Next, head to the breaker box. Check the GFCI switch if you have one. GFCI shuts off the flow of electricity when it detects a fault in the current. If the GFCI circuit or power breaker is tripped, then reset and see if that brings power back to the outlet. When resetting a breaker, push it off entirely before flipping it back on. If you have an old-fashioned fuse box, check for a blown fuse.
If that doesn’t do the trick, check if other outlets on the same circuit are also affected. Mark dead outlets with masking tape to keep track of them. Unplug all appliances from dead outlets.
It’s time to look for bad connections. Turn off the power at the box, then remove the cover plate from the outlet. Check for loose terminal screws, loose wires, and loose stab-in connections. Tighten them if there are any. Look for broken, corroded, or burned connections. These can be a sign of a bigger problem you will need help fixing.
If the connections are good and the dead outlet remains dead, you may need to install a new outlet. Installation involves unscrewing the old connections, reconnecting a new outlet, then fixing the outlet to the wall. Be sure to correctly connect the positive, negative, and ground connections during this process.
Call the Pros for Help or Replacement Options
If you’re not sure what’s causing the dead outlet, and you’re concerned about trying to install a new outlet yourself, it’s time to call in the pros. We can diagnose and replace outlets in minutes. Contact Sin City Electrical today to learn more!