Are you struggling to find the cause for your plug sockets not working?
Are you frustrated with constantly tripped circuit breakers?
We are here to help you to decipher and diagnose why your electrical outlets may not be working.
We also want to share with you some important tips and signs to protect you from electrical house fires than can be caused by an electrical outlet not working properly.
Let’s get to it!
What Would Cause Multiple Outlets to Stop Working?
There are a few answers to this question. We will explore each one for you.
1. An Overloaded Circuit
This is a common occurrence. The electricity demanded from the breaker could be too much for it to handle causing it to trip.
When a circuit breaker trips, it shuts off the power being supplied to that area of the house. It is a preventative measure to help eliminate a potentially dangerous situation.
The scenario looks like this:
You are going about your typical routine, checking your email on your computer, charging your iPhone, and listening to your favorite radio show while blow-drying your hair…
When, all of a sudden, everything shuts down. It’s all quiet in your room until you notice the TV and lights are still on in the other room.
The circuit breaker got tripped by the overload of power that was demanded from it.
How To Fix:
Have no fear, there is an easy fix.
First, unplug everything from the outlet in question. Then, locate the main breaker.
You will see there are a lot of switches, each one is responsible for different areas of your home.
When a circuit breaker is tripped, the switch will look out of alignment with the others if it did not get fully moved to the off position.
Flip the switch to the “off” position first to reset it, then return it to the “on” position. This should restore the power.
What are the warning signs of an overloaded electrical circuit?
Before it causes a tripped circuit breaker, your outlets may be giving you a heads up before they stop working if:
- Your lights start to flicker or dim
- You hear sizzling or crackling from the outlet(s)
- It smells like something is burning from the electrical receptacle
- The outlet(s) are warm to the touch
- You get shocked from the appliances plugged into the outlet
- The area around where the plug goes into the outlet looks dark
Keep reading to learn more about these warning signs and how to prevent an electrical house fire.
2. Tripped GFCI Outlet
Your home will have GFCI outlets in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
According to building codes, these rooms require these types of outlets to be installed to safely use electrical appliances around sources of water.
How To Fix:
A GFCI outlet, also known as a ground fault circuit interrupter, will shut off if it determines that there is too much power surging through it.
There is a reset button on this type of outlet that will pop out if it has been tripped.
Simply remove all plugs, push the reset button, and see if that resolves the issue.
If the ground fault circuit interrupter won’t reset, it could be caused by a failed test. If the red button on the outlet is in all the way yet there is still no power, push the test button to see if it gets restored.
If the outlet is still not resetting, the GFCI outlet may be defective.
If you’re still experiencing the plug socket not working, the issue could be caused by issues with the wiring.
3. Loose Connections
Loose wiring can be caused by normal wear and use over time.
How this happens is, when an outlet is turned on, the electricity causes the wire to heat up and expand. When the power is turned off, the wire contracts as it cools. The continual expansion-and-contract cycle will eventually cause the wiring to loosen.
If your house is fairly new or the outlets were recently replaced, a loose connection could be from a faulty wiring job.
How To Fix:
After turning off the power supply to the malfunctioning outlets from the circuit breaker, remove the cover plate to see if there are any loose connections to the socket.
If any of the wires appear loose or corroded, it is best to have the whole outlet replaced.
Continuing to feed electricity to dead outlets with defective wiring increases the risk of an electrical fire.
4. A Bad Electrical Outlet
This is the result of burnout. Outlets can just simply quit working. As frustrating as it is, it is very important to get the outlet replaced right away.
Here are some red flags to watch for with an outlet going bad:
- It starts to spark
- There is black around where the prongs get inserted
- The outlet feels warm
These red flags are signs that your outlet may be at risk of an electrical fire.
How To Fix:
Call a licensed electrician right away to get a new outlet installed. It is best to leave this repair to the professionals who are experts in the safe handling of burned-out outlets.
Protect Your Home from Electrical Fires – Know the Warning Signs
The sad fact is, home electrical fires account for 51,000 fires per year and more than 500 deaths according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
About 5,300 of those fires are caused by electrical receptacles.
The good news is, most of these fires can be easily prevented by recognizing the warning signs of an outlet problem in your home and getting the electrical work to repair it.
Electrical fires are a threat to life and property. Here at Assurance Electrical Services, we ask that you check to see if your home shows signs of hazardous electrical outlets.
Do You Have Any of These Potential Electrical Outlet Hazards?
An overloaded outlet or power strip
Outlets may have multiple plug options, but that does not mean they are capable of handling huge loads of power.
Power strips can add to the number of items a single outlet can handle, but the amount of power may exceed their capacity.
Do not plug multiple high-voltage items into a single outlet or power strip. You will likely overload the circuit.
An outlet next to the shower or bathtub
An outlet should always be a safe distance from a water source. There should be a minimum of 3 feet between outlets and your bathtub and shower.
GFCI receptacles improve the situation, but it is always best to contact a qualified electrician and have the outlet moved.
The cost of removing an outlet and installation of a safer alternative is much less than the cost that will result from a house fire.
For some reason, young children are fascinated by electrical outlets.
Playing with an outlet can seriously injure a child. If a child inserts a metal object into an outlet, the result could be severe electrical shock or fire.
Child safety wall plates are the best solution. If you do not want to replace the outlets in your home, at the very least install plastic outlet covers.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Having Your Electrician On Speed Dial
Are you concerned with any of the outlets in your home?
It is so important to keep your home and family safe from electrical fires. Don’t wait any longer, call a professional electrician to assess the situation.
Assurance Electrical Services wants you to be sure your Prescott home does not show signs of hazardous electrical outlets.
If you need help reviewing your home’s electrical system or for any other electrical needs, call Assurance Electrical Services at 928-713-2177.
Was this guide helpful to you? We would love to hear about it. Drop us a line below with your comments.
Jeff Brandlin is the founder of Assurance Electrical Services, LLC. He started in the electrical industry when he was 21 and had worked in several electrical firms before founding Assurance Electrical. Jeff is dedicated to providing the best quality service to his clients and always puts their needs first. Outside work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and children.