Occasionally you may find an outlet in your residence that is not working. This brief article is a guide to performing the initial problem-solving – with some explanation on the repair process as well.
The problem often begins when you plug in an appliance such as a light and it won’t illuminate. You may try flipping the wall switches that are connected to the outlet, and then next trying to turn on the light itself. No matter what happens you can’t seem to get the appliance to work so your next step is to try to plug it into a different outlet altogether. If the light illuminates – it is obvious that the problem is with the original outlet.
The next logical step is to check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. The circuit breaker is intended to prevent the homeowner from overloading a circuit and opening up the possibility of an electrical fire. If the circuit breaker is switched to the off position, turn it back on – and try using the outlet a second time. If it ‘blows’ the circuit breaker again, then the appliance requires too much electricity for what the outlet is capable of providing.
Checking for the electrical health of an outlet in a ‘wet’ location is much more problematic. If an electrical appliance is not working when it is plugged into an outlet near a water source, such as the bathtub, shower or a sink, greater caution must be taken to ascertain the cause of the problem. Even with the GFCI – or ground fault circuit interrupters – there is no question that an understanding of electricity at a more sophisticated level is required. At this point contacting a professional in the field may be the best option to determine the cause of an outlet’s unresponsiveness.