Troubleshooting electrical outlets may be an irritating and dangerous process. Usually, an outlet problem is a simple one and does not need any electrical expertise to be fixed. So before going to an electrician, try these steps that explain how to troubleshoot electrical outlet problems you might be having.
- Plug in the appliance to another wall outlet. If it does not work then the appliance may be faulty; if the appliance does work then the electrical outlet is faulty.
- Look for any wall switches and turn them on. If the appliance works in the dead outlet, then it’s ok.
- Check other outlets by switching the lights on or by plugging in an appliance. If dead, mark them with tape.
- Unplug all appliances from outlets. This eliminates the possibility of a short or overload.
- Check the breaker box for a tripped circuit breaker. Usually the breaker box is in the kitchen or basement. Open the box; the two main breakers should be on the top while the circuit breakers are on the bottom. Look at the circuit breaker where the outlet is and check if it’s in an “off” position or in between the “on” and “off” position. If it is, make sure the appliance is turned off; then switch the circuit breaker off and on. If this does not work, turn off the breaker.
- Check for blown fuses. Turn off the main switch and turn on a flashing light. Look at the top left corner of the fuse box. Look at the fuse if it is are burnt or blackened.
- Check for a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). These GFCI shut off power to all outlets if they find a leak in the electrical current. If you find any GFCI outlets, test and reset them. If they trip after reset then there could be a dangerous leak in electric current and an electrician should be called.
- Go back to the outlet(s) and remove the faceplate. Look at the terminal connections and see they don’t have a screw. If not, use screw in a terminal screw to the head of the wires.
- Check outlet for charring on the sides or the back.
If the problem was found, there are many how-to guides to fix the problem. If there are problems that can’t be fixed on your own, use TalkLocal to find professional help. TalkLocal can connect you with a high quality electrician in minutes.