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How to Troubleshoot Dead Outlets

A dead outlet is no one’s idea of a good time. While your best bet would be to call in an electrician, you can manage a lot of the troubleshooting yourself. When dealing with electrical outlets, you must follow safety precautions. Electricity can be deadly. If your outlets don’t work, here are a few options for troubleshooting outlets in your home.

1. Check for a Tripped Breaker

Head over to your circuit breaker and open the panel door. Inside you should see a series of breaker switches. When there is an electrical surge, these switches flip to keep your devices safe. Turn off all electrical appliances you have on and test the circuit breaker switches. The tripped one will show up as flipped on the “wrong side” of the breaker switch pattern. To reset it, you push it to the original position. If your breaker trips often, you will need to get a professional electrician to check it.

2. Examine your GFCI Sockets

GFCI sockets save people from electrical shocks due to moisture in a particular area. Sometimes your GFCI sockets can give you a hint as to why the outlets are not working. Usually, they’re labeled as GFCI outlets, but the labels may fall off after a while. To reset a GFCI outlet, you press the black “Test” button, and the red “Reset” button pops out. You then press the “Reset” button, and the outlet should work again. If it doesn’t, you may have to go deeper into the outlet. If the reset button trips again, it means you have an electrical leak somewhere that needs the attention of a professional.

3. Loose Connections

If your outlet is still dead after all this, you may have a loose connection inside the outlet itself. Ensure your electrical devices are powered off. Head to the circuit breaker and turn off the power to the house from the main breaker. Next, use a screwdriver to remove the outlet from the wall and examine the connections. Some electricians use stab-in links, which may become loose over time. You might need to give the wires a slight tug to see if they’re stuck in correctly. Alternatively, you can install a new outlet. This installation should be done by a professional, ideally.

4. Check Fuses

Older houses don’t have breaker boxes but have fuses instead. If your fuse box is of this type, you’ll have fuses with small windows that allow you to see the filament inside. If the filament looks broken or burned, you will need to replace the fuse. Simply extract the fuse from its location and slot in a new one with the correct rating. Replacing the fuse is a straightforward task, but if your fuses get blown continually, you may have a short within the breaker or somewhere inside the house, causing power overloads.

Don’t Risk Your Life

Electrical issues can pop up now and again. However, if you find yourself doing regular dead outlet fixes or electrical repairs on your own home, it may be time to consider getting an electrician. LiveWire can give your home a once-over and let you know what should be changed and upgraded. We even have crews that do the entire refitting of wiring. Give us a call today for all your electrical needs in North Carolina!

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