There are few things more annoying than plugging in a device or appliance and finding out your electrical outlet is dead.
Below are a handful of steps to troubleshoot a dead outlet and determine if you need to make a service call.
Check Other Outlets, Lights, and Appliances
Before you bother with any other solution, be sure to check outlets, lights, and appliances in the area of the dead outlet to see if they’re still receiving power.
You should also unplug lamps or appliances one at a time to make sure they’re not causing a short or overload.
Check the Circuit Breaker
Once you’ve unplugged everything from any dead outlets, your next stop is the main circuit breaker, typically found in the garage, basement, or laundry room. If you can’t locate the tripped breaker, you can turn all the breakers to the off position and then back on.
Hopefully, this solves your issue. However, if the outlet trips the breaker again, this is usually a sign of a more significant problem and you should leave the circuit breaker in the off position until a professional electrician has investigated.
GFCI outlets, the outlets with the “Test” and “Reset” buttons, are an interesting case. For better or worse, electricians often save money by connecting standard outlets to GFCI outlets.
Since GFCI outlets will trip when there is an electrical current leak, the standard outlets connected will also lose power. If you have a dead outlet, test and reset all GFCI outlets. If the reset button keeps tripping, there’s a possibility you have a serious current leak that needs to be addressed.
Still No Luck…
If none of these render a positive solution, it’s a good time to bring in a professional electrician. There could be loose or broken wires in the outlet, which typically wouldn’t be considered a DIY task unless you have experience working with electrical systems.