Electrical Repair Jobs Around the Home

Four Basic Steps for Troubleshooting an Electrical Outlet

If there are dead electrical outlets in your house, you should consult a licenced electrician for troubleshooting and repair. However, in some cases, the problem might be minor and require only a little keen check-up. If you have a little time, you can assess the outlet and determine if the issue can be solved without professional assistance. Here are some basic tips to help you troubleshoot and even handle the issues.

Consider Safety

When working with electrical systems, it is important to think about your personal safety. Simple troubleshooting of outlets will not involve contact with live wires. However, you must be careful to avoid shock. If you must have contact with a damaged outlet or check behind the cover, turn off the controlling circuit breaker. It is also advisable to use a tester to ensure that there is no voltage. This is critical because the circuit breakers are not always well-organised.

Confirm the Condition

If your outlet seems dead after regular function, you should confirm that the problem is with the electrical system. In some cases, the appliance or lamp connected might be the faulty element. For instance, heating devices like hair dryers are fitted with protectors which engage in case of overheating. Often, there is also a reset button to restore the condition. Alternatively, you can change the appliance and confirm if the outlet is not working.

Look for GFCI

If the outlet is the problem, you should check whether the unit has GFCI. The ground fault circuit interrupter is a critical component in residential electrical systems, especially in areas with water. It prevents electrical short-circuiting in case of an accident. If the outlet has GFCI, look for the reset switch. It is often found between protected outlets. Switch it on. If this is the problem, the power should be restored.

Check the Circuit

If all the outlets installed along one wall of the house are not working, the problem might lie in the entire circuit. When a circuit is overloaded or otherwise malfunctions, the breaker will trip and turn off all the associated power points. If this is the case, you will need to check the service panel. Locate the associated breaker which could have tripped and turn it back on to restore power. If the tripping recurs, you might need to have the circuit checked by a professional.

Finally, if these simple repair tips do not work, you should consult an electrician to check the wires behind the outlet and replace the component if necessary. 

To learn more, contact an electrician in your area.