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4 Potential Reasons Why Your Outlet Stopped Working

Hand-Holding-Electric-Power-Plug-wilcox-electric-dcYou go to plug in your phone charger or an appliance and discover an outlet is not working. The outlet was working the day before. Should you be worried? There is no need to panic just yet. Outlets can stop working for several reasons, including simple mechanical failure, and you may be able to fix the issue yourself. Here are four potential reasons why your outlet stopped working and what you can do about it.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

If your outlet experiences a short circuit or sudden surge of power, it can cause the circuit breaker to shut off the power. To find out if this is the reason your outlet stopped working, check nearby outlets to see if they have power. If they are not working, check the circuit breaker to see if a lever has flipped to the off position. Ensure any appliances connected to the dead outlets are unplugged before flipping the circuit breaker back on. Test the outlet again to make sure it is working.

Faulty Outlet Wiring

An outlet can stop working if the wiring inside is old or damaged. If you hear a constant buzzing sound or experience a burnt smell from your outlets, faulty wiring may be the cause. Other signs of faulty outlet wiring include an outlet that feels hot to the touch and flickering lights. If you are experiencing any of these issues, you will do well to consult with a licensed electrician. 

Bad Connection 

A bad connection can be another common reason why an outlet suddenly stops working. Loose wires or damaged screws can cause a poor connection. You may experience issues with the outlet similar to faulty wiring. To accurately diagnose and repair a bad connection, consult a licensed electrician for assistance. 

Your Outlet is a GFCI

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets reduce the potential for electrical shock. If an electrical current shorts the circuit, a GFCI outlet will shut off the power. You can identify a GFCI outlet by looking for test and reset buttons between the two outlet plugs. These outlets are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, garages, and laundry rooms. You may be able to fix a dead outlet by pressing the reset button.

Before pressing the reset button, make sure there are no appliances plugged into the outlet. If a device was plugged in, check it for damaged cords or noticeable cracks that may have caused a short circuit. Inspect the GFCI outlet for signs of moisture or other damage. If the reset button does not bring the dead outlet back to life, consult a licensed electrician for assistance.

Outlet Troubleshooting and Repair

If you are having problems figuring out why your outlet stopped working, you may want to consult a professional for help. At Wilcox Electric, we have over 30 years of experience with electrical service and repair issues. We can help troubleshoot why your outlet stopped working and repair or replace it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.