Do you have one or more of those electrical outlets that operates inconsistently or not at all? Rather than avoid a faulty or dead electrical outlets, it is better to make sure it is operating properly to avoid the risk of fire hazard, not to mention the inconvenience of having to work around dead electrical outlets. There are a few steps you can take to check an outlet’s functionality and easily restore it to use, or determine if its time to call an electrician.
Steps to Take When Troubleshooting Dead Electrical Outlets
It is not uncommon for homeowners to assume dead electrical outlets can only be fixed by replacement, though typically that is not the case. Here are some simple steps you can take that will help you decide if a professional electrician needs to be involved in the repair process.
What You Need to Get Started
Getting started, use a small household appliance like a lamp, left in the ON position.
This first test is simple: Plug in the working lamp to the outlet in question. If the lamp illuminates there may have been an issue with other appliances that have been plugged into the outlet. If the lamp remains dark, you’ve confirmed that there is some kind of issue with the outlet in question.
Check the Outlet Connection to a Wall Switch
Usually, there is at least one outlet in every room that has a dedicated flip-switch on the wall for convenience. Sometimes, there may be more. This is a scenario that most often causes embarrassment after having called an electrician to the house. With the lamp plugged in, try flipping the wall switches in the room.
This testing is also an opportunity to determine which switches control which outlets. If the outlets and switches are not set up the way you want them to be, an electrician can safely and easily reconfigure them.
Check GFCI Outlets
If your outlet is still in question, now is the time to check for a tripped GFCI breaker. What exactly is a GFCI breaker? GFCI stands for ‘ground fault circuit interrupter.’ GFCI outlets are designed with a built-in breaker to prevent electrocution in the event of power surge or unsafe outlet use.
You may be familiar with the two buttons located in the middle of the GFCI breaker. They are different colors and are labelled RESET and TEST. It is easy to check if GFCI outlets have tripped because the button labelled RESET will protrude over the TEST button. You simply need to press the RESET button back down to match the level of the TEST button.
If you’re still encountering issues, its important to remember that any dead electrical outlets in question may be controlled by a GFCI outlet somewhere else in your home. This makes it important to check all of them to be sure. For example, you may have an exterior outlet that is governed by an indoor GFCI breaker.
If all GFCI breakers have been checked and the outlet is still unresponsive, there’s one last simple check you can conduct to determine if an electrician is needed.
The Circuit Breaker Panel
If you have access to your breaker panel, this is the last place to safely and easily check for electrical issues before calling an electrician. In the panel you’re checking to see if any switches have been tripped, which would eliminate power to a certain portion of your home, including the dead electrical outlets.
When you open the panel, you can determine if a switch has been tripped because it will be in neither the ON or OFF positions, but instead be sitting in between them. To reset a circuit breaker, pull it fully over to the OFF position and then flip it back over to the ON position. If it will not set properly, you may have blown a fuse. If you are unsure about dealing with your electrical panel, have a qualified electrician look at it.
If after all these checks you still have not solved the problem of your dead electrical outlets, its time to consult with a licensed professional electrician! Mister Sparky electricians undergo continuous training and are required to stay up to date on current electrical codes and safety regulations. When in doubt, have the professionals come out! Call and schedule your appointment with your Houston electrician today,(281) 907-8418! Or visit our website to schedule your appointment here!
Mister Sparky Electrician Houston, America’s On-Time Electrician, serves Houston, Texas and the cities of Katy, Sugar Land, Cypress, Spring, The Woodlands and others with a team of certified electricians. In addition to emergency electrical repairs, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections. Call us today at: (281) 907-8418.
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