WHY DO ELECTRICAL OUTLETS STOP WORKING
Experiencing an electrical outlet abruptly stopping working is never a pleasant experience. We expect to plug in our appliances and have them function flawlessly. So when your mobile doesn’t charge, your TV doesn’t turn on, or your mixer grinder doesn’t work, it’s crucial to know the causes and have the issue fixed. Some reasons for a dead outlet are quite simple, while others require the assistance of an electrician. Here are the most common causes of why your electrical outlets may have stopped functioning abruptly, and how you can fix them.
In this blog, we'll explore some of the most common reasons why electrical outlets can stop working. We'll discuss issues such as tripped circuit breakers, overloaded outlets, and loose connections.
It's essential to take electrical outlet problems seriously and address them promptly. Faulty outlets can be a fire hazard and can pose a danger to your family and property. Therefore, it's crucial to know what to look for and how to fix the issue to ensure the safety and proper functioning of your electrical system.
Your Circuit Breaker Tripped
Circuit breakers control the electricity that flows through your home. If your outlet has short-circuited or been overburdened, then circuit breakers may have to shut off its power. In this case, you need to check other nearby outlets to see if they are functioning. If a certain outlet in your home is dead, then head down to the circuit breaker.
If the circuit breaker has tripped, the switch will usually flip to the middle or off position. Before flipping the circuit breaker back on, make sure you have unplugged and removed any devices connected to the dead outlet. Excessive plugged-in appliances could have made the circuit breaker trip. Additionally, damaged devices can short out easily, also tripping your circuit breaker. Unplug and test your appliances first before switching the circuit breaker back on.
You have a Blown Fuse
Like a circuit breaker, fuse boxes are designed to safeguard your home from electrical damage by disconnecting the flow of electricity when an overload occurs. An overload happens when a large number of devices are being plugged in at once or there is a power surge. The significant difference between a tripped circuit breaker and a blown fuse is that when a fuse has blown, it needs to be replaced. If your outlet has stopped functioning, you can see melted metal residue on the glass bulb surrounding the corresponding fuse.
Replacing a blown fuse is a simple process that you can do yourself without the need for professional help. To replace a blown fuse, carry out the following steps:
Turn off the power:
Before replacing a blown fuse, turn off the power to the circuit that the fuse protects. This can be done by switching off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse from the fuse box.
Locate the fuse box:
The fuse box is usually located near the electrical panel or in a basement or utility room.
Find the blown fuse:
Check the fuses in the fuse box to see which one has blown. A blown fuse is usually dark or cloudy and will have a broken wire in the middle.
Get the right replacement fuse:
Find the appropriate replacement fuse for the blown one. The amperage rating should be the same as the blown fuse. You can find the amperage rating on the metal end caps of the fuse.
Replace the blown fuse:
Remove the blown fuse by gently pulling it out of the socket. Insert the replacement fuse into the socket, making sure it fits snugly.
Turn on the power:
After replacing the blown fuse, turn on the power to the circuit by switching the circuit breaker back on or inserting the fuse back into the fuse box.
Test the circuit:
Test the circuit by turning on the device that the circuit powers to make sure that it's working correctly.
Remember, it's essential to use the correct amperage rating when replacing a fuse. Using a fuse with a higher amperage rating than the circuit can handle can create a fire hazard. If you're unsure about replacing a blown fuse or if the fuse keeps blowing, it's best to contact a licensed electrician for help.
Your Outlet Needs New Wiring
Wiring is electricity’s primary mode of transportation. If your wiring is damaged or outdated, electricity cannot flow properly. For example, an outlet can abruptly cease working due to faulty wiring. Apart from the outlet not functioning, other signs of faulty wiring are as follows:
If you are experiencing any of these problems, call a professional electrician for further diagnosis.
Your Outlet Has a Bad Connection
Your electrical outlet may be subject to a faulty connection, which might have caused it to malfunction. When installing outlets, they are secured in a box which may experience problems such as loose connections or damaged screws. If an outlet’s box can’t supply adequate power, the outlet will stop working. Signs of a faulty connection are almost the same as shoddy wiring. What also remains identical is the difficulty of diagnosing the issue without the help of a professional electrician. If you think your outlet does not have a proper connection, get the help of a professional electrician for further diagnosis.
Your Outlet is a GFCI
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are made to mitigate the severity of electrical shock.
If an electrical current strays from its intended path, the GFCI outlet will quickly cut off power. If your outlet is GFCI, it may have switched off due to a short circuit. A GFCI outlet is easily determined by the test and reset buttons placed in between the two plugs. If your dead outlet is a GFCI, the remedy could be pressing the reset button. Before you press the reset button, you need to unplug all the appliances from the outlet. Next, inspect your appliance for any problems that could have caused a short circuit, for example, noticeable cracks or damaged cords. Inspect your GFCI outlet for any dampness or damage as well.
GFCI outlets are commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas where electrical appliances are likely to come into contact with water. It is important to note that GFCI outlets should not be used as a substitute for proper grounding, and that they do not protect against all electrical hazards.
In conclusion, electrical outlets can stop working for various reasons. These can include loose or damaged wiring, tripped circuit breakers, faulty outlets, and even power outages. It is important to address any issues with electrical outlets promptly, as they can pose safety hazards and lead to further damage if left unaddressed. Regular maintenance and inspections by a qualified electrician can help prevent issues with electrical outlets and ensure safe and reliable electrical systems in homes and buildings.
After considering the potential causes of why your outlet doesn’t work, you may be ready to consult with an electrical professional. If you are experiencing issues with a dead outlet, they can assist you in identifying and resolving the problem. Additionally, they provide repair and replacement services for outlets.