Having an electrical outlet suddenly stop working is never a pleasant experience. But don’t assume the worst just yet. Some causes of a dead outlet are quite simple, while others do require the help of an electrical professional. Roman Electric would like to go over these causes for Wisconsin homeowners.

Below are some possible reasons why your outlet doesn’t work.

Your Circuit Breaker Tripped

Circuit breakers trip when unintended electrical currents are detected. If your outlet has short circuited or been overloaded, then your circuit breaker may have shut off its power. Check other nearby outlets to see if they are working. If they also are dead, then go to your circuit breaker.

When a circuit breaker has tripped, the lever will usually flip to the middle or off position. Before flipping the circuit breaker back on, first unplug and remove any appliances connected to the dead outlets. Too many plugged-in appliances could’ve cause the circuit breaker to trip. Additionally, damaged appliances can short out easily, also tripping your circuit breaker. Unplug and examine your appliances before switching the circuit breaker back on.

Your Outlet Needs New Wiring

Wiring is electricity’s main mode of transportation. If wiring is damaged or old, electricity cannot travel properly. An outlet can stop working due to faulty wiring. Besides the outlet refusing to work, other signs of faulty wiring are as follows:

  • Constant Buzzing Sound from the Outlet
  • Burnt Marks and Smell from the Outlet
  • Flickering Lights
  • Outlet Feels Hot to the Touch
  • Your Electrical System is Old

If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact Roman Electric for further diagnosis.

Your Outlet is a GFCI

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets are designed to reduce the severity of electrical shock. When electrical current follows an unintended path, the GFCI outlet will quickly shut off power. What this means is that if your outlet is GFCI, then it may have shut off due to a short circuit.

How do you tell if your outlet is a GFCI? The National Electric Code (NEC) requires GFCI outlets bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors, and laundry rooms. A GFCI outlet is easily identified by the test and reset buttons located in between the two plugs. If your dead outlet happens to be a GFCI, then the solution may be to simply press the reset button.

Before you press the reset button, first unplug every appliance from the outlet. Check your appliance for any issues that could’ve caused a short circuit, such as noticeable cracks or damaged cords. Check your GFCI outlet for any moisture or damages as well.

For more info on GFCIs and the NEC, click here.

Your Outlet Has a Bad Connection

Your outlet may be subject to a bad connection, which could’ve caused it to stop working. Outlets are installed using a box, and this box could run into issues such as a loose connection or damaged screws. If an outlet’s box can’t provide enough power, the outlet will cease to work.

Symptoms of a bad connection are almost identical to bad wiring. What also remains similar is the difficulty to diagnose the issue without the help of an electrical professional. If you fear your outlet does not have a good connection, contact Roman Electric for further diagnosis.

After reviewing the possible reasons why your outlet doesn’t work, you may be ready to consult with an electrical professional. Roman Electric will help troubleshoot any issue you have regarding a dead outlet, as well as provide the services to repair or replace your outlet. Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment with Milwaukee’s trusted electrical experts.