Electrical repairs can be intimidating or dangerous. There are some simple things you can check to avoid electrical shocks. This may even save you from having to call an electrician!
Try these tips before calling an electrician to resolve any electrical problems.
Make sure your appliance or device is plugged into the wall
It may seem obvious, but we’ve encountered ‘electrical issues’ that were solved by simply inserting a plug into a socket.
The problem occurs when plugs are hard to reach, such as in entertainment centers and home offices with cluttered power strips.
Make sure your outlet is not controlled by a switch
Switch controlled outlets are another surprising source of electrical issues that don’t require any work. Switch-controlled outlets can be a source of electrical problems, even if only one socket is affected.
It is worth checking if there are any Mystery switches around the room. They may be controlling the electrical outlet that has stopped working.
Reset GFCI outlets
Ground fault circuit interrupters are commonly used to protect outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, laundries, and other areas near water sources. These safety devices protect against electrocution when they detect unsafe conditions. They cut the electrical current flowing through the outlet.
The outlet will not function until the GFCI has been manually reset. The GFCI can be integrated into the electrical panel or installed directly on the outlet.
Most outlets have protection installed. It is easy to install.
The “test” or “reset”, buttons are located on the face of the outlet. If a GFCI outlet does not work, press the reset button to try again.
Some older GFCI outlets can fail and need to be replaced. Contact a licensed electrical contractor if the outlet keeps tripping and the reset button doesn’t restore functionality.
Check the condition of your device or appliance
Electrical devices can fail, even though it is rare. It is prudent to check the device at a known working outlet if an outlet suddenly stops working.
You can also plug in a device that you know works to verify the outlet is the culprit.
Circuit breakers can trip if there is a problem with an appliance. A failing appliance can give the impression that your electrical system is malfunctioning.
Reset any breaker panels that have been tripped
You’ve come this far, but the outlet is still not working. It’s now time to check your circuit breakers and see if any have tripped.
Your breaker switches must be oriented in the direction of the center of your breakers box. Most switches will have labels that say ‘on’ or ‘off’ so you know where to place them.
The switch will shift to the off position when a circuit breaker trips. This can be a subtle change. The switch may end up in the middle.
To reset the breakers, turn the switch to the fully off position and then back to the on position.
The breaker panel can have a GFCI or AFCI installed. In this case, there will be either a yellow or white button located next to the switch. The button on these types of breakers can be pressed to reset them.
Unplug the entire circuit
It may indicate that your circuit has been overloaded if it trips shortly after you reset the circuit breaker. The electrical wiring will heat up when a circuit is overloaded.
How long it takes the circuit to trip depends on the amount you’ve exceeded the rated circuit current. A circuit that is heavily overloaded may trip within seconds while a circuit that is slightly overloaded may take several minutes.
If you suspect overloading, unplug all devices from the circuit and reset the circuit. If the circuit keeps popping, it could be a sign of faulty wiring.
Still experiencing problems? Call an electrician if you still have problems!
The best thing to do if your electrical problem persists after you have tried these troubleshooting methods is to contact a local, reputable electrician.
Calling your electrician should be done immediately if you have any electrical issues. Call an electrician if you notice signs of an electrical problem, such as a burning or fishy smell, charred outlets or smoke from your electrical fixtures. You may need to shut off your electricity until you can assess the problem.