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Should I Be Worried About Outlets That Don't Work?


Why Did My Outlet Stop Working?

Have you ever plugged something in only to find that it won't turn on or replaced lightbulbs in lamps only to find out it was your outlet that wasn't working? Outlets that suddenly stop working are incredibly frustrating. Since most of us are not electricians, it can be difficult to figure out the problem. However, there are a couple of reasons your outlet might have stopped working.

Outlets sometimes stop working because:

  • There is a loose or bad connection
  • Screws or another part of the outlet has been damaged
  • Your outlet short-circuited and turned itself off (often the case with GFCI outlets)
  • A circuit breaker has been tripped
  • The outlet is wired incorrectly

In cases where multiple outlets stop working, you might have larger problems, such as a problem with your wiring.

Troubleshooting a Broken Outlet

When your outlet stops working and you don't know why, your first step should be to determine if the problem is with the appliance you're plugging in. Take the appliance to an outlet that you know is working and try to plug it in. If the appliance works, then the problem is with the first outlet.

Once you've identified that it is the outlet itself, see if it is a GFCI outlet and if it is, reset it and try the appliance again. If it is not a GFCI outlet, or if you have reset the GFCI outlet and it still isn't working, check to see if other outlets on the same circuit are still working. If not, check to see if you tripped a circuit. If you have, you should be able to turn the circuit back on and the outlet will have power again.

If you have checked all these things and the outlet still isn't working, you likely have larger issues and should call out a professional electrician (like ours at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar!). Because of the risk of dangerous electrical shocks, you should always work with a licensed, experienced electrician when working on your wiring.

Are Chronically Dead Outlets Dangerous?

Do you have an outlet that doesn't work or has never worked and you can't seem to figure out why the outlet doesn't have power going to it? Though this may not be a cause for immediate concern it doesn't mean you should ignore it. Even if the outlet has never worked, it is a good idea to schedule a visit with one of our electricians. The best-case scenario is that the outlet was never connected to power. However, some situations can pose a fire or electrical shock risk, such as when the outlet has sustained damage or has a bad connection. Similarly, if your outlet works intermittently or frequently trips your circuit breaker, you should have a Valley electrician come out and take a look.

Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is always having an electrician inspect faulty electrical components. Not only will our electrician get your outlet up and working again, but they can also help you prevent problems that come from bad wiring, electrical surges and faulty electrical equipment.

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