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Why Aren’t My Outlets Working?

why-arent-my-outlets-workingAside from when it comes time to pay our electric bills, for the most part we tend to take electricity for granted—casually plugging in items like your hair dryer, phone and laptop chargers, and alarm clocks, and expecting them all to work without issue. So when you find an electrical outlet not working, it’s obviously frustrating. But more than that, it could be the sign of a serious problem that necessitates prompt electrical repairs in Cincinnati, OH.

Common Culprits of Failed Outlets

There are a number of reasons your outlets may stop working—some more serious than others. Sometimes, the problem can be with the appliance you’re using and not the outlet at all, so try a different appliance first to see—except in the case of a charred outlet, which we’ll get to below. Keep reading to learn what some of these causes are.

Tripped Circuit Breaker: It’s actually fairly common for a single circuit breaker to trip on occasion, causing the outlet associated with it to stop working. Check your electrical panel and reset any breakers that shut off. An important factor to remember in this case is that when a circuit breaker trips, the knob doesn’t always flip to the opposite side—it can get stuck near the middle sometimes.

If your circuit breakers are constantly tripping, then it’s very likely that you are overloading them. See if you can unplug some items in your home, or better yet—invest in an electrical panel upgrade so that your home can handle the increased electrical demand you’re placing on it.

Tripped GFCI Outlet: Modern building codes require that outlets near sinks or any source of water be either a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or protected by one. When they detect a short or overheat, then these outlets will shut down on their own, instead of causing the breaker to trip.

If an electrical outlet in your bathroom or kitchen stops working, resent all GFCI outlets in that room, as a GFCI that pops will also cause all outlets further down the line on the same circuit to stop working.

Aging Electrical System: Electrical outlets can go bad for no clear reason—their contacts may become loose, and the entire unit may simply need to be replaced. This most often happens in older homes that haven’t had their wiring updated in years.

Because electrical work is inherently dangerous, we advise leaving repairs to a professional electrician. Failure to shut down the correct outlet at the panel before beginning electrical work can result in a serious injury and damage to your home.

“Burnt Out” Outlets: On occasion, electrical outlets can literally burn out. This means that a brief spark or flare can cause the outlet to stop working. If you notice an electrical outlet sparking, or see any sign of blacking around the plug, then that outlet should not be used until you have a professional electrician come out to inspect.

Even if one plug in that outlet is working, the entire outlet should be replaced right away to avoid the risk of starting an electrical fire.

For expert electrical services, contact Servall Electric Company. “Creating Sustainability through Bright Ideas.”

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