Outlets Not Working? 6 Common Culprits and Fixes

Your phone’s battery is down to two percent, but the problem is that when you plug in your charger, the percentage bar doesn’t go up. You unplug it and plug it in again, but it still doesn’t work. If you’ve ever experienced this before, don’t worry. Dead outlets are a common electrical concern we’ve all had to deal with, and fortunately, their fixes aren’t always that complicated. In this post, we’ve put together a few common culprits as to why your outlets have stopped working:

#1 The Circuit Breaker Tripped

A circuit breaker can trip when there’s an overload – this is when the flow of electricity is more than what it can handle. If your outlets stop working, check the circuit breaker – you can tell if it’s tripped if its switch is between the “on” and “off” position. Fortunately, this is an easy fix – all you’ve got to do is reset the circuit breaker. But if it continues to trip, it may be time to repair your electrical panel.

#2 The GFCI Outlet Tripped

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) can be found in outlets near water, such as in the bathroom, laundry room, or beside the sink. GFCIs are designed to cut off power to the outlet in case of an electrical surge – that way, you won’t get electrocuted. If your outlets stop working, try to reset the GFCI – there should be a button on the center of the outlet.

#3 The Outlet Has Burnt Out

Outlets can burn out when the electrical currents they carry are beyond what they can handle. When this occurs, a small fire will start within your wiring, causing the outlet to stop working. You’ll know if your outlet is burnt out if there are black marks outside it. A burnt-out outlet shouldn’t be used as it’s a fire risk, so be sure to call an electrician to replace it immediately.

#4 The Connections Are Loose

This can happen when the outlet’s wires come off of the connectors over time, or if they weren’t connected correctly from the start. Unfortunately, loose connections can cause an electrical fire as they’re prone to arc faults. An electrician can find out if loose connections are to blame, and if so, securely reconnect the wires within the outlet. Do not attempt to reconnect the wires on your own, as you may end up doing more damage to the outlet.

#5 The Outlet Is Faulty

If none of the previous fixes work, chances are, the outlet itself is faulty. Faulty outlets can’t be fixed, but they can be replaced. Switch off all power to that particular outlet and then reconnect the wires correctly. Remember to be careful – replacing a faulty outlet can be tricky and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve never replaced a dead outlet before, it’s best to leave it to the pros.

#6 You Have a Half-Hot Outlet

A half-hot outlet is a type of outlet where one plug is permanently on, while the other is always off. If the top plug works but the bottom doesn’t, it may be because one of the plugs hasn’t been turned on. If you have a half-hot outlet, all you have to do is to flip a switch to “activate” it. However, if your outlet still won’t work, you may want to call a licensed electrician to make sure nothing’s wrong with the wiring.

Call an Electrician Today

If you don’t want to tinker with non-functioning outlets on your own, call a licensed electrician like the ones at Beeson Mechanical. With our specialist tools, we can provide long-term solutions so you won’t have to deal with dead outlets again. Dial (317) 535-9338 today so our team can take a look at your electrical system.